Sundance to Beef Up Sponsorship Packages

Jun 21, 2006  •  Post A Comment

Sundance Channel said it will offer advertisers new programming sponsorship packages to help finance a more ambitious slate of original and exclusive programming.

Sundance, which does not run traditional commercials, will help marketers attach themselves to individual programs, nights, and customized interstitial material beginning in January.

The multiplatform sponsorship program is being run by Kirk Iwanowski, who was promoted to executive VP of marketing, branded entertainment and sponsorship at the network. He said he plans to hire a head of sales and a sales team to implement the program.

Larry Aidem, president and CEO of Sundance Channel, said sponsorship money will help the network pay for programming projects and make it less dependent on co-productions with other channels. Sundance has co-produced projects with Court TV and VH1 in the past.

Sundance’s expanded slate of originals will include two original series that have just been greenlighted, said Laura Michalchyshyn, executive VP of programming and marketing. The new series, “Sin City Law,” which looks at the rivalry between the district attorney in Las Vegas and an ex-prosecutor turned public defender, and “Pleasure for Sale,” looking at issues surrounding a legal brothel in Pahrump, Nev., will debut in 2007. They join an original slate that also includes series “Nimrod Nation” and “Festival Dailies,” reports from the Sundance Film Festival.

Sundance also said it has licensed the U.S. television rights to a dozen documentaries that are expected to appear on the network between August 2006 and 2008.

Ms. Michalchyshyn said Sundance has been trying to lock up the digital rights to the programming it acquires to be able to pursue a programming strategy that includes distribution via video-on-demand, broadband and mobile.