Vanessa Benfield Named SVP, Partnership Sales & Integrated Solutions; Joins from MTV Networks Entertainment Group
Two New Positions Added to Team – Tony Song Named VP, Sales & Partnerships, East Coast; Ilene Danuff Named VP, Branded Content & Integrated Solutions
NEW YORK, NY – April 12, 2010 IFC and Sundance Channel announced today an expanded Partnership Sales group, with the addition of a new key senior executive and two new positions. Vanessa Benfield has been named Senior Vice President of Partnership Sales & Integrated Solutions; Tony Song has been named to the new position of Vice President of Sales & Partnerships, East Coast; and Ilene Danuff joins as Vice President of Branded Content & Integrated Solutions, also a new position. The appointments are effective immediately and are based in NYC. The announcement was made by Alan Klein, Executive Vice President of Partnerships & Operations, to whom Benfield reports. Song and Danuff report to Benfield.
In her new role, Benfield will oversee IFC and Sundance Channel’s branded content initiatives, manage the integrated sales teams representing the networks’ on-air, online and video on demand platforms, and work with marketers to develop and create innovative partnerships for IFC and Sundance Channel. Benfield joins the networks from MTV Networks Entertainment Group, where she was most recently vice president, east coast sales, overseeing a sales team responsible for Comedy Central, Spike, TV Land and CMT.
Song was previously director of east coast national media sales for BET Networks where he managed a sales team responsible for creating and implementing integrated marketing initiatives across BET’s suite of multiplatform assets. Danuff was most recently the marketing and creative services director for Plum Television where she developed highly customized, branded content solutions for clients.
"Vanessa’s strong background in the agency, television and online arenas make her a perfect fit for this position. IFC and Sundance Channel pioneered the branded content space and continue to offer sponsors seamless multi-platform brand integration with these premiere independent media brands," said Klein. "Vanessa will play a key role in developing and delivering our upfront and ongoing sales strategies allowing sponsors to tap into the highly desirable audiences of IFC and Sundance Channel."
"I’m thrilled to join these networks at such an exciting time as both channels offer more of the distinct, fresh programming for which they’re known. More than ever before, marketers are looking for new and interesting ways to reach viewers and are seeking destinations that deliver high value and targeted audiences," said Benfield. "IFC and Sundance Channel are two brands that lead in this arena.
"The addition of Tony and Ilene to our team is a nod to the success these networks have achieved with the branded content model. Tony’s experience coupled with his stellar reputation and strong industry relationships will help IFC and Sundance Channel grow their client rosters and build distinct media mixes for clients eager to create targeted viewer messages. Ilene comes to us with a wealth of knowledge and experience with broad based and niche media brands in creating revenue-generating, customized branded content opportunities for clients across multiple integrated platforms."
Prior to her role at MTV Network Entertainment Group, Benfield ran east coast sales for National Cinemedia and previously was senior vice president of sales for iVillage. She has also held sales positions at Universal Music, Comedy Central, E! Entertainment, the Cable Television Advertising Bureau, and at agencies Saatchi & Saatchi and J. Walter Thompson, where she began her career.
As vice president of sales & partnerships, east coast, Song will oversee the NY-based sales team, directing all outreach to east coast agencies and clients. He will also serve as one of two key strategists directing the day-to-day operations of the department, reporting to Benfield. Lee Sparer, vice president of partnerships, west coast, will continue to oversee the LA-based sales team along with all west coast sponsorship business.
Ilene Danuff, in the newly created position of vice president of branded content & integrated solutions, will help generate sales revenue by developing new branded content packages for clients that seamlessly marry the IFC and Sundance Channel brands and programming with those of sponsors across multiple platforms – on-air, online, video on demand, and off-air events.
IFC creates and champions authentic, original content presented with an indie perspective that is "Always On. Slightly Off." From acquired series like Arrested Development, to quintessential films like Office Space, and original productions such as Food Party and Dinner With The Band, IFC recommends and delivers traditional content in a non-traditional way. IFC’s original programming airs alongside a comprehensive independent film library of award-winning titles and cult classics, as well as content inspired by music, web, gaming, animation, news, culture and more. IFC broadens its passionate and influential audience with exclusive live coverage of festivals and music events like the Film Independent Spirit Awards and South by Southwest. IFC.com features exclusive video, interviews, news, reviews and more. The network’s On Demand offering, IFC Free, gives audiences the opportunity to watch IFC’s original series at their convenience. IFC is a subsidiary of Rainbow Media Holdings LLC.
About Sundance Channel
Under the creative direction of Robert Redford, Sundance Channel is the television destination for independent-minded viewers seeking something different. Bold, imaginative and uncompromising, Sundance Channel offers audiences a diverse and engaging selection of films, documentaries and original programs. Launched in 1996, Sundance Channel is a subsidiary of Rainbow Media Holdings LLC. Sundance Channel operates independently of the non-profit Sundance Institute and the Sundance Film Festival, but shares the overall Sundance mission of encouraging artistic freedom of expression. Sundance Channel’s website address is www.sundancechannel.com.
About Rainbow Media Holdings LLC
Rainbow Media Holdings LLC is a subsidiary of Cablevision Systems Corporation (NYSE: CVC). Rainbow Media owns and operates some of the world’s most popular and award-winning entertainment brands, including AMC, IFC, Sundance Channel, WE tv, Wedding Central and IFC Entertainment (IFC Center, IFC Festival Direct, IFC Films, IFC In Theaters and IFC Productions). Additional information about Rainbow Media’s multiplatform brands is available at www.rainbow-media.com.