BY SHIRLEY BRADY IFC Companies continues to leverage its proprietary content to create new revenue streams and awareness for its brands. IFC on Demand is now available in up to 603,000 hotel rooms via On Command, NXTV and Lodgenet. IFC Films, its theatrical distribution arm, has a movie output deal with DirecTV, giving more than 11.4 million DBS customers access to its hits such as Y Tu Mama Tambien and Happy Accidents on pay-per-view. Independent Film Channel last week also tapped TVN for distribution, encoding and asset management for up to 18 hours of VOD and SVOD titles a month. “The hotel and DirecTV deals give IFC Entertainment a way to release their theatrical release films like Y Tu Mama Tambien,” says Gregg Hill, EVP affiliate sales and marketing for IFC Companies. As for the TVN deal, he adds: “We’re not offering all titles but we’re offering many titles — and will continue in the future to offer not all but many titles — day and date with home video, which we see as a tremendous benefit to our affiliates and to their customers.” IFC is being smart about leveraging its assets, says Jim Riley, SVP of business development at TVN, which handles sister services Uncensored on Demand (SVOD) and Mag Rack (VOD). “The uniqueness about this situation is that they’re making some of those titles available pre-basic cable release,” says Riley. “IFC is a little bit unique in that they are an actual studio as well as a [cable] network.” Riley says IFC’s philosophy should benefit the cable industry. “IFC has taken a lead in bringing content to the operators that has incremental revenue potential. It’s a good development as it relates to recognized brands introducing content into the on-demand environment. [IFC is] a bit of a hybrid between first-run theatrical that you might get from a studio [and] network programming that’s already running [and] may not be quite as interesting to a consumer.” IFC’s support of day-and-date releases could help boost the VOD category. “As VOD is deployed in more and more homes, and the window shortens from the time the content is available to when it can be made ready on the VOD servers, if that starts to contract even further, I think you’re going to see a lot of changes in the whole distribution cycle and the timing of when content is available, both on the theatrical side as well as the traditional linear network side,” Riley says. “For the category overall this is going to be the tipping point.”

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