IFC, once proud of being uncut and commercial free, held an upfront presentation Wednesday.
“Television has changed,” said IFC President Evan Shapiro, “and IFC is changing with it.”
The new IFC has been “built for the future of television,” Shapiro told reporters assembled for the luncheon meeting at the hipper-than-hip Ace Hotel in Manhattan. It’s a future where instead of families sitting on the couch watching what’s on, they’re choosing from digital entertainment options. The couch is Facebook and the proverbial water cooler now is a Twitter feed, he said.
But IFC hopes to make money the old fashioned way. Since December, it’s been running 30-second commercials and been getting Nielsen ratings since earlier this year. Advertisers including Subway, AT&T, Frito-Lay and Subaru already have bought in.
The network is moving heavily into the series business, and ad dollars are pretty much the only way to support shows that are being renewed like Portlandia, Onion News Network and The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret, let alone a slew of new ones that have either been greenlit or put into development, said Ed Carroll, COO of Rainbow Entertainment Services, IFC’s parent.
Shapiro said that IFC won’t be giving up its indie mojo in the pursuit of ad revenue.
“Niche is the new mass,” he declared. “We don’t have to be all things to all people.” But if IFC expects advertisers to stick around its “Slightly Off” schedule, they will need to attract an awful lot of the “upscale smart cool guys” the network is targeting.