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iFilm bows TV skein for IFC on indies

Netcaster CEO Wendle to o'see

Netcaster iFilm.com is venturing off the Web and into TV.

The Hollywood-based company has inked a deal with Cablevision Systems’ Independent Film Channel to produce a new series about the workings of the indie film world. Cablevision programming arm Rainbow Media Holdings is acquiring a 5% stake in iFilm as part of the pact.

Terms call for iFilm to produce 26 half-hour episodes of a newsmagazine chronicling the indie film scene. IFC will pay iFilm to develop and produce the show, skedded to bow daily during primetime in the spring of next year on IFC.

IFilm CEO Kevin Wendle, who helped launch the Fox network, will likely oversee the show.

Generating hits

IFilm’s bow on television will introduce the online and publishing brand to more than 30 million households, which should help boost the film site’s traffic among Netizens.

Since inking deals to distribute its shorts on IFC, HBO, Cinemax and the Sundance Channel over the last year, Seattle-based Netcaster AtomFilms says its traffic has increased significantly. The site now attracts more than 1 million unique hits per month.

Wendle, who said iFilm is exploring other similar opportunities, also spearheaded E! Online’s cross promotion with its cable channel counterpart.

“This will not be our only television partnership,” Wendle said. “This is all about extending the brand to where consumers can connect to iFilm through whatever medium they choose. I don’t think any one company that sets out to create a brand should stick to one medium. You go everywhere.”

As part of the partnership, Rainbow, which runs IFC, will provide iFilm with promotional time, spread out over several years. IFilm and IFC will also swap film content and promote one another on TV, on the Web and in print via IFC’s new mag, ifcRant. Promotion begins in January.

For IFC, the cross promotion helps expose the cable brand to Netizens that may not be able to view the channel.

Biz tools, too

In addition to the programming and marketing commitments, IFC will become a charter customer of iFilm’s suite of products targeted to entertainment industry professionals under the iFilmpro brand, a package that includes ScriptShark, the Hollywood Creative Directory and Lone Eagle Publishing.

“IFC’s mandate since its inception has been to bring independent film to a wider audience and to help filmmakers get their films made and shown,” said prexy Kathleen Dore. “Our alliance will enable IFC to bring a new generation of filmmakers to television.”

Pact follows several recent team-ups between Web entertainment portals and more established media players. Netcaster Icebox.com became the first online outfit to sell a series to TV when its “Starship Regulars” Webtoon got picked up by cabler Showtime Networks earlier this month.

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