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AMC Mad About VOD, HD Push for Mad Men

To promote its first original drama series, Mad Men, AMC plans a video-on-demand play offering content in both standard-definition and HD.

The network signed on enough affiliates so that the exclusive and episodic content for the series will be available to most of the country. Committed affiliates include Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications, Insight Communications, Charter Communications, Mediacom Communications and Cablevision Systems.

“We think the timing is perfect. Operators are looking for high-definition offerings and VOD leads to sampling,” Rainbow Network Sales senior vice president of affiliate marketing Todd Green said.

AMC also promoted Broken Trail, its first original miniseries,with VOD, but this promotional campaign is the largest for the network -- 50% bigger than the viewership push for the miniseries. AMC executives would not put a dollar amount to that claim.

Mad Men is a 13-episode series centering on the personal and professional lives of executives in an ad agency in the 1960s. Created by Matthew Weiner, an executive producer and writer for The Sopranos, it will debut July 19 at 10 p.m. The series was shot on film but converted to HD, AMC executive VP and general manager Charlie Collier said.

The producers have packaged outtakes, interviews with cast and crew and other behind-the-scenes content for VOD in both standard digital and HD. That way, cable affiliates have flexibility in the local products they wish to promote with the content, the executives said, including high-speed-data access. Some of the content could be housed on a broadband portal.

Each episode will be available on VOD within 24 hours of its cablecast on the linear network. The episodes will accumulate until week six. When the sixth episode airs, it will replace the oldest episode on the platform. Each subsequent week will bump out the oldest episode with five weeks of shows always remaining for viewing, according to the network.

Affiliates have committed to tagging cablecasts of the show with the local VOD-availability information. That information will be customized based on the products (digital cable, HDTV) the cable operators are co-promoting locally.

During the month, AMC will surround the debut with iconic “guy” films: The Untouchables, The Godfather trilogy and the AMC debut of Goodfellas.

“We think Mad Men can stand up against them,” Collier said.