AMC’s Golden Go-To Guy

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AMC is looking to Oscar to drive ratings and ad-sales revenue. The network, which named Linda Schupack its senior vice president of marketing last week, plans a big marketing push behind its coverage of the Academy Awards.

Leading up to the Feb. 27 Oscar ceremony (to be telecast on ABC), AMC will run programming interstitials that the co-hosts of its Sunday Morning ShootOut series shot with Oscar hopefuls earlier this month at the Jan. 16 Golden Globe Awards ceremony.

AMC will also run an “AMC VIP Sweepstakes” from Feb. 5 to 18, in which the grand prize winner gets a trip to Hollywood for Oscar weekend.

“In terms of the larger marketing initiative, from a branding perspective, we want to continue to tell the AMC story, which is about celebrating and reflecting the notion of movie culture on television,” Schupack said last week.

The Sunday Morning ShootOut Oscar vignettes — which feature the show’s co-hosts, producer Peter Guber and Peter Bart, editor in chief of Variety (sister publication to Multichannel News) — will run about five minutes each.

The network, formerly known as American Movie Classics, is also shooting a new set of “Movie People” segments in which viewers talk about their favorite films. The 30-second conversations will run as interstitials.

AMC plans to kick off a consumer-marketing campaign for its Oscars programming on Feb. 4, with ads in People, US Weekly, Entertainment Weekly and other publications, as well as radio spots in the top 25 markets. Still finalizing its arrangements, the network plans to run radio promotions in the top six or 10 markets in which listeners can win DVD players and other gifts from AMC, said vice president of promotions Jodi Lipe.

During the week leading up to the Oscars, AMC will only run films that are previous Academy Award winners or nominees.

AMC rivals will also run Oscar marathons, such as Turner Classic Movie’s annual “31 Days of Oscar” promotion.

Starz Encore Group’s Starz! and Encore channels have scheduled a 48-hour marathon leading up to the Oscar telecast called “The Weekend,” in which they’ll run previous Oscar winners such as Chicago, The Pianist, Frida and Unforgiven.

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