AMERICAN MOVIE CLASSICS GREEN-LIGHTS SPONSOR ROLE: ADS WILL RUN BEFORE AND AFTER FILMS, BUT WON'T INTERRUPT THEM

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American Movie Classics' plan to sell commercials, called off a year ago, is back on.

"We've finally decided to go ahead and link up with marketers who can help us extend the brand off the TV screen and help raise the awareness of AMC in the 35-plus demographic," said Kate McEnroe, president of the cable channel.

UNCLUTTERED ENVIRONMENT

Although Ms. McEnroe said the network is selling only limited sponsorships, ad buyers said some of the deals are similar to regular TV ad buys, though in an uncluttered environment.

Thirty-second spots will run before and after AMC movies, and voice-overs will identify the marketers as sponsors of the films. But the movies, documentaries and shorts that make up the bulk of AMC's programming will not be interrupted.

In prime time, the cost can be up to $3,100 per :30, dropping to about $900 for late-night.

Advertisers signed on to date include the Acura division of American Honda Motor Co., Amtrak National Railroad Passenger Corp., Holland America Line-Westours, Time Warner's New Line Cinema and U.S. Postal Service.

Acura, for example, will sponsor a movie in prime time once a week through the second quarter of next year, said Tim Spengler, senior VP-general manager, national broadcast, Western International Media, West Hollywood, Calif. Western buys media for the automaker.

CLASSIC-CAR VIGNETTES

Ms. McEnroe said Acura's sponsorship will evolve into vignettes about classic cars that will run on AMC; they will be supported by brochures distributed through Acura dealerships.

New Line Cinema has a schedule running for its upcoming movie "Pleasantville" that includes the sponsorship of some vignettes and a trivia game on the AMC web site (www.amc-tv.com). USPS sponsorship is tied to a monster-themed film series on AMC. The Holland America deal involves an AMC on-air host in personal appearances, Ms. McEnroe said.

A fifth marketer, Mattel, will be involved next spring in a sponsorship of an AMC tribute to Audrey Hepburn. Mattel is marketing a Hepburn collectible doll.

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