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'Netflix of horror' hopes to capitalize on Halloween spending

Nick Monte

Things that go bump in the night are extremely profitable in today’s economy. Halloween spending is expected to hit $8.8 billion this year, according to the National Retail Federation. And it’s no surprise horror movies and shows are thriving.

The first installment of Stephen King’s “It” (2017), became the highest-grossing horror movie of all time, bringing in over $700 million worldwide at the box office.

At a time when heavy hitting companies like Disney (DIS), Apple (AAPL), Amazon (AMZN) and HBO (T) look to take on the likes of Netflix (NFLX) to be the top streaming service -- AMC Networks (AMCX) looks to be crowned the new Pumpkin King of media with the help of Shudder, an over-the-top subscription video service featuring horror and thriller content.

“Shudder is a streaming service for fans of horror, thriller and the supernatural,” according to Shudder General Manager Craig Engler. “A lot of people refer to us as the Netflix of horror – which is a pretty easy way to think about it. We’re basically a dedicated streaming service, if you happen to like those overlapping genres, we’re the place you want to subscribe to.”

The company is the home of exclusive movies, series and documentaries, while also hosting classics like “Halloween,” “Re-Animator” and “Texas Chainsaw Massacre.”

While some streaming services offer some form of horror content, Engler believes Shudder, which costs $4.75 a month, has something unique for viewers, “The horror selection on both Netflix and Amazon Prime is very broad but not very deep. So if you want to watch a couple of movies a year those are great for you. If you want to watch more than that you’ll probably run through their catalog very quickly and you will find your way to Shudder.”

One of Shudder’s exclusive shows is the horror anthology series “Creepshow,” which is based on the Stephen King-George Romero movie originally released in 1982. Not only has the new series received a 96% on Rotten Tomatoes, but 54% of Shudder members have streamed the show so far. And it’s been renewed for a second season.

“‘Creepshow’ is a huge hit for us,” says Engler.

Shudder does not release viewership or membership numbers. But the platform is looking to expand globally – it’s planning to launch in Australia next. Considering that word of mouth of horror content travels fast and has a large underground audience, don't be surprised if it becomes more of a mainstream name.

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