For streaming services, movies are like the unsung hero: they often don’t get the attention that a high-profile series will, but they’re great at getting subscribers in the door. Disney, for example, uses its theatrical movies (in addition to a regular cadence of Disney+ originals) to attract subscribers, and its original series to keep them there.
Now Fox Nation, Fox News Media’s streaming service, wants a piece of the action.
Fox News’ streaming service for “superfans” is getting into the original movie business, greenlighting four movies for the service. The first project, an adaptation of Nancy Naigle’s novel The shell collectorwill debut on Fox Nation on September 1, with the next project slated to launch during the holiday season.
“What we’ve really strived to do, as we’ve done recently Duck family treasureis getting into new genres because that’s still what drives the most growth,” says Fox Nation President Jason Klarman. The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s about differentiating the service and giving a superior service to the audience in a way that they are not served by other streamers or other brands.”
Duck family treasurea treasure hunt show with the cast of A&E’s Duck Dynasty, got the green light after old episodes of the original reality show found a new audience on Fox Nation. Movies have taken a similar approach, with the service finding that certain acquisitions (some Clint Eastwood classics, The Passion of the Christholiday movies), resonating with users, who Klarman says stay 90 minutes or more to watch.
“I think, first of all, we saw the success of the movie, and it fits the idea of expanding into a lifestyle and entertainment service,” Klarman says, adding that having direct control over the development process, Fox can choose individual projects in genres that best fit its strategy.
And that strategy, at least with movies, is about reaching female viewers.
“These movies are definitely aimed at the Fox News fan, and we know that’s the kind of headline [The Shell Collector] that absolutely appeals to him, and creating unique originals that he can’t get anywhere else is certainly part of the strategy to drive growth,” says Klarman.
While cable news is often associated with an older, male audience, Fox Nation is trying to build a broad tentpole of programming from female-skewed genres, such as real estate and true crime shows, as well as male fare such as police officers and military themed programming.
In the film space, Klarman says projects with military and patriotism themes, true crime, religious themes and holiday films are among the core genres being explored, with the goal of launching a new original movie every few months.
“We know our audience goes and watches real estate shows on other platforms and other places, but now they can watch real estate shows on our platform,” says Klarman. “There are other places that have some of these things, but they don’t have all the things that our audience loves in one place.”
But it is also a kind of test. Movies, after all, can be expensive to produce (though Fox Nation isn’t spending Batgirl money to their originals), the question is whether they manage to generate subscribers and watch time.
“It’s an experiment and we’re trying something new,” says Klarman. “We take these educated guesses based on the behavior we see on the platform and our deep understanding of the audience.”