American Movie Classics, which already has cobranding
linkups with several advertisers, is planning even more through the first quarter of 1999.
Kate McEnroe, AMC's president, said these deals will
be "a bit of both marketing partnerships and limited sponsorships."
AMC, which has changed its mind a couple of times since
March 1997 about selling limited sponsorships, will still place ads before and after --
but never during -- its movies and specials, McEnroe said last week.
Nearly one year ago, when AMC shelved its plans to sell
limited sponsorships, various ad-agency buyers expressed disappointment, annoyance and
confusion. Although there had been reports that AMC was concerned at the time that it
might have had to renegotiate its affiliate contracts due to that plan, McEnroe said last
week, "That was never the case."
McEnroe added that a published estimate that AMC will
charge up to $3,100 per 30-second spot in primetime "sounds kind of low."
Still, since many of these transactions may involve trading
and, thus, they "may not be for pure cash," she doubted that the network would
generate the $3 million to $5 million in ad volume initially projected in early 1997 for
purely ad sales.
Amtrak's "Explore America" fourth-quarter
themed package of movies, which began in late September, is the model for these deals, she
said. Also current is a U.S. Postal Service buy pegged to AMC's Halloween-related
"Monsterfest" package of horror flicks.
What all of these deals have in common is that they are
targeting upscale consumers aged 35 and up, McEnroe said. Still other clients that AMC has
talked with during the past year or more -- including Chrysler Corp., L'Oreal Group
and Eastman Kodak Co. -- have made no commitments, she said, explaining that these tie-ins
can be "difficult to execute" and that their worth can be hard to evaluate.
As for AMC's Romance Classics, the spinoff network
remains on track to become an ad-supported service in the fall of 1999, with selling to
begin during the 1999 upfront season, McEnroe said.
Elsewhere under the Rainbow Media Holdings Inc. umbrella,
in mid-October, AMC's sister network, Bravo, increased its own commercial load by
shifting from limited preshow and postshow sponsorships to three commercial breaks per
Bravo officials were unreachable at press time. Even though
its subscriber base and its ratings are relatively small -- 0.3 in primetime with 89,000
households in the third quarter, according to Nielsen Media Research -- its upscale
audience is believed to have drawn such ongoing sponsors as Texaco Inc., General Motors
Corp. and Federal Express Corp., along with new buyers like Ford Motor Co.'s Lincoln