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IFC Targets Males With 'Automat' Programming Block

In its first programming change since parent Rainbow Media Holdings acquired other independent outlet Sundance Channel, IFC is targeting young, male viewers with a new Tuesday night primetime block.

The IFC “Automat” block of genre-targeted original series, specials, movies and short-form content launches Sept. 30 with such shows as the anime series Hell Girl and the original sketch series The Whitest Kids U' Know, according to Jennifer Caserta, 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 — 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.

She added that the male skewing programming helps differentiate the network from its now sister indie film service Sundance Channel, which Rainbow acquired in mid-June for $496 million.

For its part, Sundance runs an ecological-themed block “The Green” from 9 p.m. to midnight on Tuesdays.

“To me, if you look at the programming side by side there's a real difference,” said Caserta. “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.”

Caserta said the block will create a destination for young men who already tune in to the service for its many action movies and click on for original Web titles.

Along with Hell Girl, currently running on IFC On Demand, and The Whitest Kids U' Know — which will launch its third season in first quarter 2009 — the IFC Automat block will also feature the music series From The Basement; IFC Blasts, a series of 15-minute film, music and Web-themed, short-form content; and original Web series

Caserta hopes to extend the IFC Automat brand beyond TV into other IFC distribution platforms such as and IFC On Demand.

“Ultimately, what I'd love to do is extend the IFC Automat brand to [video-on-demand service] IFC Free and do Automat samplers that would provide exposure to the block,” she said.

R. Thomas Umstead
R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.