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Cablevision Unit to Buy 5% Stake in Ifilm.com

TV: Independent Film Channel will pay the online firm to produce 26 half-hour episodes of a magazine-style show.

August 23, 2000|GREG MILLER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The parent company of Independent Film Channel has agreed to acquire a 5% stake in online entertainment site Ifilm.com as part of a partnership in which the two companies will also develop a television show about independent filmmakers.

An Ifilm spokeswoman declined to say whether Rainbow Media Holdings, a New York-based company that owns Independent Film Channel, will pay any cash for its equity stake in the Los Angeles-based Web site.

But under terms of a multiyear agreement, Independent Film Channel will pay Ifilm to develop and produce 26 half-hour episodes of a magazine-style television show "focusing on the world of independent films." The shows will air on the IFC cable channel, which reaches 30 million households.

The show could be used by Ifilm as a vehicle for promoting young filmmakers whose works are displayed on the company's Web site. Ifilm is one of dozens of Web sites building audiences for short films and animation on the Internet.

The deal also calls for the two companies to share content and promote each other on their assorted Internet, television and print properties. Aside from its cable channel, IFC also operates its own Web site and is launching a new magazine focusing on independent films.

For Ifilm, the deal could help the fledgling company expand its audience without spending money on advertising, at a time many "dot-coms" are trying to rein in costs. Kevin Wendle, a former Fox television executive who is chief executive of Ifilm, will oversee development of the new show.

Rainbow, a subsidiary of Cablevision Systems Corp. and NBC, also manages other cable channels, including American Movie Classics and Bravo.

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