Exclusive: Fox Movie Channel to Rebrand With 'FXM' Block

Fox Movie Channel is set to announce a new daily programming block branded the FX Movie Channel to launch Jan. 1.

The new FXM block will air contemporary movies with limited commercials from 3 p.m.-3 a.m. daily, while maintaining its current commercial-free format of classic films from 3 a.m.-3 p.m.

The rebranded FXM block reverts back to the name the channel had when it launched 17 years ago and incorporates the FX network brand, which runs its own library of films along with original programming such as Justified and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

“We felt that that brand carried over nicely back to the original brand in articulating that this was going to be a contemporary movie block as opposed to a classic movie block,” says Chuck Saftler, executive vice president, FX Networks and general manager of Fox Movie Channel.

The hope is also that the more contemporary films will help broaden the audience and increase awareness of the network, which is currently distributed in about 40 million homes.

“This was really about looking at Fox Movie Channel as its own property,” Saftler says. “We really looked at this as an opportunity to expand the channel, to make it more contemporary. We looked at this as an opportunity to better use our library.”

The channel will continue to air its original programming, composed of five- to 15-minute documentarystyle programs such as Direct Effect and Making a Scene that explore the moviemaking process, at the top or the bottom of the hour. During the 12-hour contemporary block, these interstitials will air along with commercials for the first time on the channel.

“Part of this was, let’s commercialize it, let’s take some contemporary films, let’s bring in advertising to support the initiative, become Nielsen-rated and try to grow the network,” Saftler says.

FX, for its part, has been on a buying spree this summer, beefing up its library with such acquired blockbuster films as Hangover 2, Super 8 and Transformers 3. Saftler doesn’t yet know what films will premiere when the FXM block launches Jan. 1, but says, “I’m sure we’re going to put something pretty significant on to kick it off.”

In addition to better using its library, the rebranded programming block could help to increase Fox Movie Channel’s distribution footprint.

“It’s certainly our hope that as we’ll be Nielsen-rated for the first time that we’ll be able to show there’s a demand from viewers. And hopefully with that comes very positive results on all levels, both advertising and affiliate sales,” Saftler says.