IFC.com Takes Cue From TV Model

May 11, 2008  •  Post A Comment

With a big increase in video content online, IFC has begun programming its Web site like a TV channel, with a new summer season of series.
IFC.com plans to launch at least one new series on the Web each month. New episodes of some shows will appear daily; others will be weekly. Some are original productions, others have been acquired.
The Web site also is taking traditional forms of advertising—pre-roll spots and banners—to support the programming. IFC on cable is commercial-free, but has sponsorships and branded entertainment.
“We’re actually taking a cue from television and calling it a new season of series on IFC.com,” said Jennifer Caserta, executive VP of marketing communication, scheduling and alternative platforms for IFC.
It’s expected that IFC will continue to be programmed separately from Sundance Channel, which is being acquired by parent Rainbow Media, a division of Cablevision Systems, for $495 million from NBC Universal, CBS and Robert Redford.
While productions for Web video are becoming more sophisticated and attracting more familiar talent, “The Internet programming experience is very different from the television experience,” Ms. Caserta said.
Internet programs are designed to be seen in short bursts, she said, and people can obtain programming wherever and whenever they want.
“It’s the ultimate on-demand property,” she said. Sometimes, she added, IFC will try to generate appointment viewing, but mostly its approach is “just come on in, every day you’ll find something new.”
IFC.com had a big hit in August when it streamed R. Kelly’s “Trapped in a Closet,” which generated 4 million page views and 2 million video plays. The site, revamped in March, averages about 500,000 unique visitors per month and about 2 million page views.
‘Wilfred’ Off Leash
IFC.com launched its online season last week with “Wilfred,” a series about a talking dog. The series originally aired on Australian TV and is being broken up into 35 to 40 episodes of four to six minutes apiece for the Web.
This week IFC.com is launching “Young American Bodies” from filmmaker Joe Swanberg. It will begin by showing the first two seasons, which appear on Nerve.com. Then it will show 12 new episodes being co-produced by IFC with Nerve.com. “Young American Bodies” looks at the intersecting love lives of 20-somethings in Chicago.
Some of IFC’s original online programming is built around talent that already has an Internet following, Ms. Caserta said.
“Good Morning Internet,” from the creators of the Web series “Hipster Olympics,” is a parody of breakfast TV shows that debuts June 16. On “Good Morning Internet,” after the cast of a local show is fired, they resume their program online, with interview, weather and cooking segments.
“The Mary Van Note Show: Gavin Really Wants Me” features a standup comedian’s quest to land the man of her dreams: San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. The 10-episode series debuts July 7.
The filmmakers who achieved Internet fame with the film “The Ball Kicking Fight Club” come to IFC.com with a show called “Get Hit!” that launches Aug. 11. The series takes a humorous look at achieving Web stardom.
A variety of bloggers and other personalities from IFC.com will participate in “Lunchbox,” an afternoon show that will appear daily spotlighting trends and buzz-worthy Web sites from the world of music film and politics.
“They happen to be good on camera as well,” Ms. Caserta said.
IFC.com also is bringing back its “Cannes Cam” for a second year on May 14, providing a unique view of the Cannes Film Festival.
IFC.com already has attracted several sponsors, including Toyota Matrix, which is sponsoring “Lunchbox,” Acura, Piaget, Samsung and Buena Vista Home Entertainment for the DVD release of its film “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.”
Ms. Caserta said marketing Web shows also is different.
“It’s not like a hit TV show, where you spend a lot on marketing and you drive people to a specific tune-in,” she said. Online, “All you need is one heavily trafficked blogger to talk about what you’re doing [and] you garner yourself an audience.”


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