By Andrew Hendricks
Look out reruns of Friends and Seinfeld, The Simpsons is the latest and largest syndication acquisition from FX's brother-station, FXX. Starting with their marathon airing of every single Simpsons episode, including The Simpsons Movie.
After the low-ratings and eventual death of the flailing Fox channel Fox Soccer, it was announced in January 2013 that a brother service to FX would be the sports channel's replacement. FXX, as it would be called (unironically unoriginal), the new network would embrace unoriginality and went fast to work acquiring syndication rights to a number of comedy shows.
Between a mix of established, popular content like How I Met Your Mother and Mad About You to well-reviewed shows with vocal fans like Arrested Development, and Parks and Recreation, FXX hopes to cut a large swath of the most coveted advertising demographics.
With a $750 million price tag for The Simpsons' syndication rights, one can see why FXX is trying to cover all their bases in the rerun marketplace. Though some would be quick to say FXX's efforts are outdated in this new media world of on-demand content, others have pointed out that FXX is making a smart business move recognizing that while the marketplace is most certainly shifting, we are certainly not yet past the tipping point.
Television Advertising is Alive and Well reminds the title of a 2013 Forbes article. While Netflix has their subscriber model and Hulu is convincing advertisers that they're a lucrative medium, most homes still have a television, and it is still the most common way the majority of Americans view cable and network content.
A TV marathon to dwarf all others, banking on the nostalgia factor of The Simpsons was a brilliant publicity move for FXX to gain awareness that the network even exists, let alone gain the relatively-new network more viewers. Much like Yahoo purchased Community for a hefty price-tag to in hopes that the fan-base would transfer to their new medium Yahoo Screen, FXX hopes to become the dominant “general comedy” background channel. Tapping into the millions of Americans who love a good Simpsons episode playing into the background is a brilliant way the fledgling network to realize their goal.
FXX hopes that by cultivating nostalgic content you'll re-watch over and over again, rather, advertisers will see their network as the place syndicated content goes to thrive. At a $750 million dollar price tag, you can be certain FXX expects a significant return on their investment, and industry watchers say they're poised to get it.