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Interview: NYX CEO Corinne Ferguson shares all about the platforms creation and future

First launched in the UK during late 2022, NYX is a channel beloved by horror fans for its keen curation of free genre content. Also available in Canada, later this year NYX will launch in America, continuing its reign of delightful terror. 

At the helm of NYX Corporation is Corinne Ferguson, a formidable businesswoman with over 25 years of experience. In 2018 she put a lifelong love of horror into practice when she produced the film Extremity. On the project she met her future NYX business partners, and together the three have painstakingly crafted a channel of genre content, made by fans, for the fans. Although still in its infancy, NYX continues to go from strength to strength and regularly plays host to some of the greatest horror content in movie history. For example, in May NYX will air Fashionista, The Living and the Dead, Willard, Vampyres, and Uzumak. They will also celebrate the birthdays of horror icons Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, and Vincent Price, with screenings of a plethora of movies including Dr Terror’s House of Horror, Return of the Fly, and Horror Express. 

The channel is a must-watch for those with a thirst for the frightful, but it is far more than just spooky programming. For example, Corinne is the only female CEO of a horror channel within the industry, providing much needed diversity in a male-dominated arena. NYX is also a great champion of creators and holds some great family values. In order to find out more about Corinne, and how NYX came to life, THN sat down for a lengthy conversation about Giallo to kids content, and everything in between. 

What was the inspiration and origin of the creation of NYX?

I love telling this story. There’s myself, and I am the majority shareholder and owner of NYX, and I have two other business partners. David Bond – he’s all things content creative and the genre history. He’s worked and been an award-winning filmmaker in the industry for over 30 years. Chris Wright is our other partner and co-founder, and he’s all things tech and broadcasting support. He’s worked in the broadcasting industry for over 12 years. I’m all things finance and business. 

We all ended up being involved in a movie that I produced – Extremity. We were reconnecting towards the end of the real eye of the storm of Covid and we were all saying how we’re tired of all of the subscriptions. We’re all horror fans in different ways, and were saying, ”we’ve got all these different subscriptions and I’ve got to go everywhere, there’s not one place to grab the content and just enjoy it, and the search fatigue right?” We were just like, “oh my God, every time I go on to something I’d love if something was just created and we could watch it and enjoy it”. We all looked at each other and went, “well, I think we can solve this problem.” That’s how NYX was born. 

How did you settle on the name NYX?

I wanted a very female feminine spirit, and in Greek mythology NYX is the goddess of darkness. One of the tidbits I love in Greek mythology is that she’s really one of the only Titans that is feared. I wanted something that embodied and resonated with darkness in the genre, and strong feminine spirit. The other thing I love about NYX in Greek mythology is that we see her as a protector of darkness. There can be comfort in darkness, and we really embody that, and we really want our fans to feel comfortable, to feel protected. We want to protect the genre, we want to respect the genre, we want to elevate the genre. We’re having a lot of fun with that. 

How do you feel that you’re different from some of your competitors?

One of the other things we’re super excited about is actually being real partners to the content creators. I know from my personal experience in the industry, trying to sell my film and get it represented for worldwide sales, that you feel like you are just being ripped off on many levels. We really are serious about a partnership with our content creators. Sharing in the success of their film on our channel, in terms of sharing and revenue sharing, and the way we structure our licensing deals. We really want the content creators to feel respected and valued, and appreciated too. 

We are not a subscription, our slogan is lean back and let us entertain you. There’s no passwords. There’s no subscriptions. There’s no fees. We just need your time. We need your time to sit down and watch the channel and enjoy it. We’ve crafted and curated a specific journey for our viewers. It’s always done with the intention of, if someone’s going to give us their time – which we feel is one of the most precious commodities – if you’re going to give us your time, we want you to have the best experience you can for that time, and be entertained. You don’t have to think about it. You just turn it on and away you go. 

There are so few women at the helm of companies that are in charge of exhibiting the content, and distributing, and laying and airing the content. I felt that’s another reason why it was really important for us to start NYX, because I think we need women decision-makers in all the places. I’m not seeing enough on the sales and distribution side of things. 

Out of all the genres you could have dedicated a channel to, why horror?

First and foremost, the three of us have a passion for horror in all very different ways. I love scaring people. I have an older brother that to this day still doesn’t want to go down into the basement of any place (laughs). I loved scaring people when I was a kid. When I was eight years old, I would run these haunted houses in my basement at Halloween and invite all the neighbourhood kids over and have fun, seeing their reaction. David and Chris tease me, they’re like, “oh you’re a Disney horror kid,” and yes, I grew up on the lighter stuff. I do love good slashers, but I’ve never really been into the extreme, but that’s where David comes in. I think we all complement each other in different ways with our passions for the genre. 

When I went to produce a movie, I was looking at filmmaking from a business background. I couldn’t help but look at the stats and the financials and see the horror genre seems to have, statistically speaking, the best shot at return of your investment for the smallest amount of dollars. I started researching more and that’s actually where David and I met is in my research. I wanted to engage with horror writers and producers and creators of that content, and David and I were introduced. His passion for horror just kind of bled into mine. I find horror is such a great genre to express creativity, and without spending tens of millions of dollars. 

I knew that if I was going to run any kind of a television channel, we don’t want to string a bunch of content together. We’re a FAST channel (Free Ad-Supported Streaming Television) and during Covid they were popping up everywhere. Everybody was becoming a content creator, because of course everybody was consuming content like crazy. We are not about stringing content together. We want to serve our audience and we really understood the horror audience, and the viewers, and the fans, and so that’s why we chose to lean into and go all in with horror.

As audiences start to fall out of love with streamers, do you think it’s television’s time to shine again? 

I find everything has its cycles and entertainment is no exception. For a lot of years now, there’s been that big push on cord-cutting and subscriptions and streaming. I think obviously there’s lots of great things that came from that, and one of them is just the mobility of your entertainment. You don’t have to be tethered to your TV. You can be mobile and still have entertainment at your fingertips. I think that’s amazing. But I think it’s coming back around, and people are realising “Holy shit. I’m paying for six different subscriptions and that’s costing me more than what my cable subscription probably cost me.” 

I think that we’re at an interesting point and inflection in the market where people are like, “okay, I want to keep the mobility, I want to keep the flexibility of watching the content wherever I want to watch it or whenever, but I’m okay watching some ads.” Again, that’s where we felt it’s coming back around to have a little more of the traditional television, and we realised it’s a bit of an uphill task for us because we are appointment-based viewing. The one thing – and we’re going to figure it out soon –  but the one thing right now on some of the platforms where we’re at, you can’t rewind. So if you don’t tune in at 9:00 p.m. and you tune in at 9:20pm, you’re going to miss the beginning of that movie. So we do realise that that is a bit of a challenge. 

I have fond memories of family time of just sitting around and saying “oh, I can’t wait. I’m going to tune in at seven or Sundays at 6 for this program.” You get used to planning your time and your life around that and it’s something to look forward to. What we’re doing very differently is the curation. Not just the type of content. Tier 1 content we’re going to be building in to offer a nice variety. We’re going to have those tent poles shows and then we’re going to have some great cult classics and nice nostalgic pieces of content for the fans. It’s not only strategically what we’re acquiring for the content, but it’s also how we strategically program. We are already working into some theme nights; a vampire night or zombies, it’s to craft a fun entertainment experience for our viewers.

NYX is still in its infancy, how do you see it developing, will there be more Saturday Scares type things?

Definitely. We’ve loved experimenting with Alan [Jones] and the team. From what we can tell, it looks like it’s resonating well with our viewers. It’s real fun and we love that it’s something that can be exclusive to us. His stories and his experiences are incredible. We wanted to craft something so that it’s different, and we wanted to wrap it around some of those great cult classics. Alan can really bring that content to the viewer in a very special experience.

NYX are different in a few ways. We really are the only female owned and operated streaming television channel in the horror genre, and then we are competing against billion-dollar companies. So for us, exclusivity of some content, things to drive people to the channel, is important. The realities of budgets and where we’re at right now doesn’t always afford that, but that’s where we feel we can stand out because of the curation and how we program. Saturday Scares is a perfect example of something that we were able to get; a little out of the box thinking again based on our relationships with creators and folks like Alan and the FrightFest team in the industry, and partnering with them to create something special. We’re having a lot of fun with it. 

What are some of your favourite titles you managed to screen so far?

I love the Giallos, they are such a favourite, so I’ve really loved Suspiria. Then the celebration of Lamberto Bava’s birthday, we had Demons and Demons 2. I love the first one. It’s very nostalgic for me. I grew up in the 80s, so it brings back a lot of great memories, and the music in it, and it’s lots of fun. I love it.

We also have some great kids content. So even though we are in the streaming space and the digital space, we want to make sure that when you turn us on, you could leave us on all day long. We didn’t want to do that and have Grandma or the eight-year-old or the five-year-old walking into the room in the middle of the day and being traumatised if someone’s watching it. 

We know that there are horror families out there, and those families want to experience horror in a different way. So we’ve engaged family-friendly content during the hours of 6:00 a.m. to 9 p.m. We’ve been able to get some great kids cartoons. Right now I love a series called Ruby Gloom, it’s just such a sweet series. Ruby is a spider, she’s gloomy, and she goes on all these adventures and experiences. Then we’ve got an older cartoon series called Tales of the Crypt Keeper that’s fun and has lots of action and colour, and great stuff. 

There’s one called Monster In A Box. We’ve got another one – I grew up on this one – Hilarious House of Frightenstein. It’s a horror theme, but it’s educational. So in the Hilarious House of Frightenstein, there’s a professor and he showcases an animal, or they talk about animal habitats or things, so it’s educational and very family-friendly, very kid appropriate. My dream is eventually to get things like The Addams Family and Hotel Transylvania on the channel.

Kids content is also a great way to hook in a new generation of horror fans. 

In an appropriate way. Although I’m going to say that some of our best content creators came from being traumatised from watching The Exorcist or Poltergeist when they were eight years old, very inappropriately. What we hope we can embody in NYX is that kids know very young you’re not weird. There’s nothing wrong with you if you like horror or scary things. There’s nothing wrong with you, and it can lead to some amazing careers and some amazing creative things. We like to try and encourage it in the appropriate way.

What are the plans for NYX’s world domination? 

We’re starting to build more studio relationships so we can maybe bring in some of those other favourite films that are a little more modern, recognizable premium content. We’re really excited about our launch for the United States. So right now we’re in the UK and we’re also in Canada, and we’re going to be launching into the United States, probably more into Q3 of 2024. We’re really pushing hard to do that, and we’re really wanting to bring in something a little special into the US market. We’re going to have some great announcements coming up and really do some fun stuff in that market.

A huge passion of mine is supporting and promoting female content creators, really bringing some diverse voices to the screen from other underrepresented groups too. We are really leaning into also promoting and exhibiting shorts, because that’s where a lot of the great filmmakers got their starts. Even the Guillermo del Toro’s of the world had a short. I specifically look for content to showcase, to really help elevate women and underrepresented filmmakers and groups in the genre. I love that we can be a platform for them.

NYX can be found on Freeview channel 289,or accessed through your favourite devices, including iOS, Apple TV, Roku, Android, and Google platforms.

Kat Hughes is a UK born film critic and interviewer who has a passion for horror films. An editor for THN, Kat is also a Rotten Tomatoes Approved Critic. She has bylines with Ghouls Magazine, Arrow Video, Film Stories, Certified Forgotten and FILMHOUNDS and has had essays published in home entertainment releases by Vinegar Syndrome and Second Sight. When not writing about horror, Kat hosts micro podcast Movies with Mummy along with her five-year-old daughter.


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