PHILADELPHIA – Techies, get ready to be scared out of your wits.
On Halloween, Comcast Corp., in partnership with Sony Pictures Entertainment and Lionsgate, will unveil a horror-movie network called FearNet. Fans will be able to watch movies through Comcast's video-on-demand service and on the Web at FearNet.com, where they can blog about, search and tag the spooky flicks. Cell phone users will get free ringtones and wallpaper and eventually be able to watch video clips.
"FearNet shows how broadband Internet interplays with video on demand," said Comcast CEO Brian Roberts, in an interview with The Associated Press. "We'll see more of that blurring of the line between TV and the computer."
Sony and Lionsgate, the independent studio behind Oscar-winner "Crash," will contribute their storehouse of 1,000 horror movies.
Digital cable subscribers can watch 200 ad-supported free movies a year through video on demand, with about 30 titles available each month. Selections include "Carrie," "Bram Stoker's Dracula," and "Night of the Living Dead."
Web surfers can watch nine movies for free each month — for a total of 50 titles a year — as well as 100 shorts, which include original programming from directors such as Wes Craven.
A partnership with Guba, a movie download service, lets users rent movies online for up to 99 cents and buy films for as much as $9.99 for new releases.
Free horror ringtones and wallpapers for cell phones are coming by the end of the year and video clips will be available next year.
Like MySpace, users of the FearNet Web site can create their own horror pages and post pictures. Eventually, it will let them upload their own videos.
Philadelphia-based Comcast said FearNet mainly will be supported by advertising revenue and fees from cable operators that want to carry the network on their systems. The company said 60 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds — a demographic coveted by advertisers — are horror fans.