Seeking to tap young, male viewers, IFC will launch a Tuesday night primetime block of genre-targeted original series, specials, movies and short-form content.
The IFC “Automat” block, launching Sept. 30, will feature such testosterone-heavy shows as the anime series Hell Girl and the original sketch series The Whitest Kids U’ Know, according to Jennifer Caserta, the recently named IFC executive vice president and general manager.
Caserta, formerly IFC's executive vice president of marketing, scheduling and alternative platforms, said the four-hour original programming block -- which will be followed by a male-skewing feature film at midnight -- is the independent movie-themed network’s first attempt at creating a branded primetime block for its original content.
The shift in emphasis on Tuesday nights follows Rainbow Media Holdings' $496 million acquisition of another indie film outlet, Sundance Channel, in a deal that closed in mid-June. For its part, Sundance runs an ecological-themed block "The Green" from 9 p.m. to midnight on Tuesdays.
Caserta said the block will create a destination for young men who already tune into the service for its many action-based movies and click on IFC.com for original Web titles. She pointed to the network’s Friday night “Grindhouse” block of horror and slasher films as a major draw for young male viewers
“There are some natural programming events on the network such as “Grindhouse” that attract a very strong young male audience,” Caserta said. “Then when you look at our other platforms such as Web site and [video on demand service] IFC Free the concentration of males goes even higher."
Caserta says the network’s male-skewing programming helps differentiate the network from Sundance.
“To me, if you look at the programming side by side there’s a real difference,” she said. “IFC’s distinct – the brand and the programming has as its core a younger, male demo which alone is a distinction [from Sundance]. Our programming and sensibility is a bit more edgy; we’re smart but snarky, bold and irreverent.”
Along with the animated Hell Girl, which is currently running on IFC On Demand, and The Whitest Kids U’ Know -- the first season ran on sister service Fuse, before the second season migrated to IFC last year, with the third campaign slated to debut in first quarter 2009 -- the IFC Automat block will also feature such shows as From The Basement, a new, original music concert series, as well as IFC Blasts, a series of 15-minute film, music and Web-themed, short-form content, according to Caserta.
IFC Automat will also showcase original IFC.com Web series such as Young American Bodies, Wilfred, Get Hit and Mary Van Note: Gavin Really Wants Me. Other Web-based shows that will migrate to the block include Getting Away With Murder, a comedy about a 20-something hitman still living at home, and documentary short series show Uploaded.
Acquired shorts and independent content will be drawn from the network’s IFC Media Lab, as well as Lunchbox and the brand's IFC News, which reports on developments relevant to indie culture.
Caserta hopes to extend the IFC Automat brand beyond TV into other distribution platforms such as IFC.com and IFC Free, its video-on-demand service.
“Ultimately, what I’d love to do is extend the IFC Automat brand to IFC Free and do Automat samplers that would provide exposure to the block,” she added.