FX dishes Dirt on Gallery Player

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FX is helping to promote Dirt, its new primetime drama starring Courteney Cox, by making high-definition still images from the show available through Gallery Player, a new service on Comcast's video-on-demand platform that lets cable subscribers view high-quality imagery such as paintings or photographs on their widescreen HD sets.

The collection of 22 images, also available for free at a lower-resolution online, is the first time the Gallery Player service has been used to show imagery from a major television programmer. The deal came about because an FX executive knew someone at Gallery Player and suggested it as a possible way to promote network shows, says Stephanie Gibbons, executive VP of marketing for FX Networks.

Since FX already invests a lot of money in having top photographers like Annie Leibovitz shoot portraits and other promotional imagery for new shows like Dirt, the opportunity to leverage those images on Gallery Player's high-definition VOD service was very attractive, says Gibbons.

"We have a lot of extra imagery to work with, that helps build out the [Web] sites and the editorial packaging that goes to the press," says Gibbons. "Some of it we use, and some of it never sees the consumer light of day, even though it might be very artistic."

Gibbons was already familiar with the Gallery Player service and its collection of famous paintings and landscape and nature photography, from sources such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and National Geographic.

"This is less about travel or editorial images, and it also has the upside of being commercial art, since our brand is present," she notes.

Gibbons sees Gallery Player as being just one facet of the multi-platform marketing that FX is pursuing for Dirt, including extra video commentaries, PC screensavers and wallpapers on the FX Website and a mobile portal with Cingular Wireless.

While the Dirt images on Gallery Player will be only be promoted online for now, on both the FX and Comcast Websites, Gibbons can foresee teasing similar imagery on-air in the future, perhaps for shows like Nip/Tuck.