IFC Campaign Gets Fanatical

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Independent Film Channel is flagging its new programming initiative, “Film Fanatic Fridays,” with the network’s largest-ever marketing blitz.

The multimedia campaign tipped earlier this month in support of the block, which debuted on Jan. 7, and features the second season of Ultimate Film Fanatic and fresh installments of the network’s signature show, Dinner for Five. The series are followed at 11 p.m. by IFC’s most-popular movie strand, “Pulp Indies,” during which the network screened its debut of The Usual Suspects on Jan. 7, followed by King of New York a week later.

'SEXY,’ 'BLOOD’

Sexy Beast and Blood Simple are in the cue for the final two Fridays this month.

Jennifer Caserta, who earlier this month was promoted to senior vice president of marketing, said that IFC has been giving the block plenty of plugs on its own air and Web site (www.ifctv.com).

The multimillion-dollar effort encompasses national radio, print, outdoor and national in-theater promotion with Loews Cineplex theaters, as well as and a wide-ranging online push.

“We’re looking at rich media, interactive e-mails and banners at a variety of sites that our viewers frequent,” she said. “We’re also going to use a lot of entertainment, TV and film sites [as part of its schedule]. “This is a 360-degree campaign.”

Evan Shapiro, elevated earlier this month to executive vice president and general manager, said IFC, which isn’t rated by Nielsen Media Research, wants to drive home its tentpoles on Friday nights for a number of reasons.

“Frankly, there isn’t a lot of competition on Friday night,” said Shapiro. “We want to plant our flag and get our programs talked about. Getting buzz will lift all our boats. We’ll know it when we feel it.”

Friday nights will later become home to IFC’s first original scripted series, which is expected to surface around mid-year.

“We have a lot of pilots to choose from. We’ve inherited some goods ones from Ed and are developing others,” he said, alluding to Ed Carroll, who previously was executive vice president and general manager of IFC, before being named president of Rainbow Entertainment Services last month. Carroll is now responsible for AMC, IFC and WE: Women’s Entertainment.

IFC is also looking for original programming to run after midnight. “That’s primetime for many of our viewers, many of whom don’t start watching TV until 10 p.m.,” he said.

A DVD FEEL

Development is also extending to interstitials and other short-form segments, which will give IFC a DVD feel to match its “TV uncut” positioning. “Our mission is to give artists an unfettered canvas. There’s no crap, no clutter and no commercials on IFC,” he said.

Caserta, who joined IFC as vice president of marketing and Shapiro, with the net for a year as senior vice president of marketing, worked together at Court. In addition to building toward “Film Fanatic Fridays,” they have been collaborating on efforts to provide redesigned on-air looks and improving IFCTV.com by adding more video, with an eye toward having that content match or surpass text on the site.

“It’s how our much of our audience, the 18-to-34-year-olds, use media. There is a great deal of sampling and convergence,” Caserta said.

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