Rainbow Media recently acquired cable net
Rainbow Media is beefing up the branded integration and digital departments of IFC and Sundance Channel.Move, which comes in the wake of Rainbow’s acquisition of Sundance, signals the parent company’s intent to increase the level of sponsored content on both commercial-free cablers. The exec shuffling includes new hires and redefined roles for existing IFC and Sundance staffers. Alan Klein, previously IFC’s senior veep of partnerships and licensing, has been upped to exec VP of operations and business development for the newly created IFC TV/Sundance Channel Partnerships unit. Kim Gabelmann, formerly Sundance’s veep of branded entertainment and sponsorship, is now senior veepee of IFC TV/Sundance. Lee Sparer, IFC’s West Coast veep in charge of partnerships, will now shepherd biz for both networks, marking the first time Sundance has had a dedicated rep in Los Angeles. Dan Shulman has been hired as VP of digital sales, licensing and business development for IFC.com and Sundance.com. Kevin Cirrito will oversee pricing, planning management and operations as sales veep for the digital offshoots. The consolidating moves on the business development side come as Rainbow seeks to carve out different niches within the indie film space for IFC and Sundance. IFC content will lean toward edgier fare, with more appeal to young men. Sundance will skew toward the adult 25-54 demo, with more foreign and environmentally themed programming. “It’s one-stop shopping,” said Gabelmann of Rainbow’s merged sales force. “We can go out there and talk to parent companies that have several brands in their roster and find one of them that’s appropriate for the Sundance target and a different brand that is looking to reach a younger male viewer.” The new exec alignment will also help simplify cross-promotional opportunities between the two nets. Both IFC and Sundance are angling to put more branded content on air. IFC already has its Friday-night “Grindhouse” film showcase, which has had Heineken as a sponsor for four years. Sundance’s “Iconoclasts” series is sponsored by Grey Goose vodka. “There aren’t a lot of networks where (a sponsor) can own a chunk of their real estate for a whole year,” Gabelmann noted.