On December 3, 1998, Unapix Entertainment Inc., a publicly traded company, purchased the genre site I created, HorrorMovies.com, from me and hired me as their Director of Internet Marketing.
How and why did I build the site and then how did I sell it?
Being a writer and trying to make connections in the industry, specifically the horror genre as I had written a horror spec script called The Light, I decided to blend my publishing background with my technical skills and I developed a horror site in 1995 using my Earthlink account.
Pleased with how it came out. I purchased the domain name and launched HorrorMovies.com in 1996, what many consider to be the first commercial genre website ever published. I conducted interviews with genre legends Brian Yuzna, Tom Savini and more, had the biggest horror message board and community around, had an all horror search engine, and had huge Amazon affiliate video store that was generating sales.
I always read the trades like the Hollywood Reporter and Variety. I kept tabs on anyone and everyone in Horror as well as looking at companies who were jumping on the Internet bandwagon. In early 1998, I noticed Unapix Entertainment Inc was making some noise in the Independent horror distribution game as well as investing in websites for their other niches. I decided to pitch HorrorMovies.com and myself to Unapix. After multiple attempts to get a pitch meeting, CEO David Fox, who told me he was impressed with my persistence took my pitch.
After a great lunch meeting and pitch in Manhattan, they made me an offer.
It was fun while it lasted. The Internet bubble hit hard. I was let go Christmas of 2000 and then Unapix closed. My HorrorMovies.com was over.
I found the original press release by Unapix as well the report of the sale in the December 7, 1998, Volume 2 Issue 2 of MCG Credit Corporation Transactions Report.
Thursday December 3, 11:38 am Eastern Time
Company Press Release
Unapix Entertainment, Inc. Acquires HorrorMovies.com
Company’s Vertical Integration Maximizes Cross-Promotion Potential Site Founder Attila Juhasz Appointed Director, Internet Marketing
NEW YORK–(ENTERTAINMENT WIRE)–Dec. 3, 1998– Unapix Direct Media, a division of Unapix entertainment, Inc. (AMEX: UPX – news) has acquired the web site HorrorMovies.com (www.horrormovies.com) from site creator Attila Juhasz, announced Unapix Vice Chairman and CEO David M. Fox. Mr. Juhasz has been appointed director, internet marketing for Unapix Direct Media.
HorrorMovies.com is one of the most popular Internet horror sites, averaging over 500,000 hits per month and boasting close to 700 registered members. The site will facilitate cross-promotion of Unapix Entertainment’s theatrical releases; video and DVD sales and rentals; pay-per-view; basic and premium cable; broadcast syndication of the horror library; and e-commerce site The HorrorShop.com.
“HorrorMovies.com completes our vertically integrated infrastructure to enable us to fully exploit all aspects of the horror genre,” said Mr. Fox. “The site will function as the hub of a wheel, affording unique cross-promotional capacity for Unapix products with very targeted and passionate consumers. It is our intent to become the e-commerce destination for multiple special interest groups that we have already identified in our film, television and video marketing activities.”
Unapix Direct Media currently operates the following web sites: The Horror Shop offers genre videos and related merchandise; The Jazz Store features one of the world’s largest collections of jazz recordings, and merchandise; The Digital Entertainment catalog offers DVD titles; Inner Dimension (www.innerdimensions.com) offers products for healthy living; and Direct Response Television where viewers can purchase Unapix television programs.
“Horror is the area in which we see the greatest potential for developing a loyal and broad consumer constituency throughout all media and distribution forms in which we are active. It is steadily and continually rising in popularity,” Mr. Fox continued, “Look at box office grosses of franchises like ‘Scream;’ ‘Chucky;’ and ‘Halloween.’ On the retail level, the Halloween holiday has grown into a $2.5 billion industry, second only to Christmas in consumer holiday spending.”
Unapix has demonstrated great strength in horror entertainment. Video title “Bleeders” recently shipped over 50,000 units, making it the Company’s largest video release to date. “Jack Frost” ranked first in turns per copy, resulting in an aggregate of 1.6 million rentals from Nov. 1997 – March, 1998, according to “Video Store” magazine. The Unapix horror library is expanding and improving in quality, with titles such as “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre – 25th Anniversary” (“TX25”), currently in pre-production.
Components of HorrorMovies.com include a horror search engine linking to over 540 sites; a monitored message board with multiple forums; a polling feature; multiple chat rooms often featuring celebrities; and exclusive celebrity interviews.
Mr. Juhasz, an award-winning web designer, created and developed HorrorMovies.com, which launched in July, 1996. Mr. Juhasz is the “Cyberzone” columnist for ‘Sci-Fi Teen’ and has written on Internet horror for ‘Fangoria.’ Most recently, he has been handling DuPont’s corporate Internet projects.
“Attila has a proven track record in web site development and design, as well as a passion for and expertise in horror entertainment. He’s turned HorrorMovies.com into a prime destination for horror fans, which will serve us well promotionally,” said Mr. Fox.
Unapix Entertainment Inc. (AMEX: UPX) is a global entertainment company specializing in producing, licensing and distributing market driven feature films, television programming and special interest home video in all media worldwide. The Company also distributes its products to specialized markets via the Internet and other new electronic media.
Unapix Acquires HorrorMovies.com
Unapix Direct Media, a division of Unapix Entertainment, Inc. (AMEX:UPX) has acquired HorrorMovies.com for an undisclosed amount. Unapix is an entertainment company specializing in producing, licensing, and distributing feature films, television programming, and special interest home video. HorrorMovies.com, averaging 500,000 hits per month and close to 700 members, will become the Internet-based distribution vehicle for Unapix’s catalogue of horror films and related merchandise.