|Picture format||1080i HDTV|
(downscaled to letterboxed 480i for the SDTV feed)
|Launched||September 1, 1994|
|Former names||Independent Film Channel (1994–2014)|
IFC is an American basic cable channel owned by AMC Networks. Launched in 1994 as the Independent Film Channel, IFC originally operated as a commercial-free service, devoted to showing independent films without interruption. Starting in the late 2000s, the channel gradually dropped independent films in its lineup in favor of comedy and horror programming (alongside cult TV shows and films) before renaming itself to IFC in 2014.
As of September 2018[update], approximately 75,295,000 American households (63% of households with television) receive IFC.
The channel debuted on September 1, 1994, under the ownership of Rainbow Media, a subsidiary of Cablevision Systems Corporation. IFC originated as a spin-off of then-sibling channel Bravo, which focused at that time on a wider variety of programming, including shows related to fine arts.
In 2000, IFC launched a motion picture division.
In 2005, IFC expanded into its first non-television venture and opened the IFC Center, a movie theater for independent film in New York City. In 2008, IFC launched its Media Lab Studios, a section of its website on which users can enter IFC-sponsored film contests, and can view others' films. In 2008, Rainbow Media acquired IFC's rival network, Sundance Channel, from Robert Redford and Showtime Networks.
Towards the end of the decade, IFC began to expand its programming beyond independent films, producing original series and acquiring cult television series. In March 2010, IFC unveiled a new slogan, "Always on. Slightly off.", reflecting the channel's new focus on comedy programming. On December 8, IFC began airing commercials within its programming, a move that sparked controversy among its viewers, and would also begin to censor its programming. IFC eventually reversed its censorship practices and started to air its programming uncut; publicly trumpeting this fact in 2012 by releasing ads featuring showings of back-to-back blocks of movies like the Friday the 13th film series, highlighting the nudity and gore.
On July 1, 2011, Rainbow Media was spun off from Cablevision into a separate company, which was renamed AMC Networks.
On January 9, 2014, it was announced that the channel's full name had been retired, and that the name IFC would officially have no meaning.
On November 15, 2016, AMC Networks acquired a minority stake in comedy video website and film and television production company Funny or Die, with plans to integrate it with IFC. On April 27, 2018, the company later acquired a majority stake in comedy venue operator Levity Live.
On May 4, 2012, Dish Network announced that it would no longer carry the AMC Networks family of cable channels upon the expiration of the satellite provider's distribution agreement with the company at the end of June 2012, citing that AMC Networks charged an excessive amount in retransmission consent payments from the service for their carriage and low audience viewership for the channels.
AMC Networks responded to Dish Network's announcement of its pending removal of the channels as being related to a 2008 breach of contract lawsuit against Dish Network by the company's former Voom HD Networks subsidiary (under the company's previous Rainbow Media Holdings brand) (which is pending trial in the New York State Supreme Court), in which it is seeking more than $2.5 billion in damages against Dish Network for improperly terminating its carriage contract; Voom's high-definition channels were carried on the provider from May 1, 2005 until May 12, 2008 when Dish removed ten of Voom's fifteen channels from its lineup and the five remaining channels the following day. Dish Network stated that the lawsuit is unrelated to the decision to remove the AMC Networks channels and that it ended the carriage agreement on its own terms.
On May 20, 2012, Dish Network removed Sundance Channel from its channel lineup. Two weeks later on June 4, 2012, Dish relocated AMC, WEtv, and IFC to higher channel positions with AMC being split into two separate standard definition and high definition channel feeds (AMC moved from channel 130 to channel 9609 for the SD feed and 9610 for the HD feed, WEtv moved from channel 128 to channel 9608 and IFC was moved from channel 393 to channel 9607); the former channel lineup spaces occupied by the three channels were respectively replaced with HDNet, Style and MoviePlex multiplex channel Indieplex. The move is believed to be in response to an ad run during a June 3 airing of an episode of Mad Men urging Dish Network customers to inform the company to keep the three AMC Networks channels on the satellite provider, with Dish Network stating that the relocated channel positions better reflect the channels' ratings.
On July 1, 2012, Dish Network dropped AMC, WEtv, and IFC from the channel line-up altogether.
On October 21, 2012, AMC Networks announced a settlement was reached between them, Cablevision and Dish in which Dish was forced to pay up to $700 million in damages to Cablevision for damages from removing Voom owned channels off the Dish lineup back in 2008, and in return Dish signed a new agreement to bring the AMC Networks owned channels back on the Dish lineup with AMC returning October 21 and the rest on November 1.
Main article: List of programs broadcast by IFC
IFC primarily airs comedy and horror-genre programming, including both original and acquired series and films. Original programming currently in-production include Documentary Now!, Sherman's Showcase, and British co-production Year of the Rabbit.
Main article: IFC (Canadian TV channel)
The Canadian version of the Independent Film Channel launched on August 15, 2001, under the ownership of Salter Street Films, under a brand licensing agreement with Rainbow Media. Alliance Atlantis acquired the channel in December 2001, through its purchase of Salter Street Films. On January 18, 2008, a joint venture between Canwest and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners known as CW Media, acquired control of IFC through its purchase of Alliance Atlantis' broadcasting assets, which were placed in a trust in August 2007.
On October 27, 2010, IFC Canada's ownership changed again through Shaw Communications' acquisition of Canwest and Goldman Sachs' interest in CW Media. As with its U.S. namesake, the channel originally focused almost exclusively on smaller independent films. However, IFC Canada has broadened its programming focus to include more mainstream films from large production studios as the U.S. channel has done. It has also de-emphasized the use of the full Independent Film Channel name, instead using the IFC acronym, possibly due to the decrease in the number of independent films on its schedule.
As of 2014[update], none of IFC's original programming has aired on this channel. Rival broadcaster Bell Media currently owns exclusive rights to their shows and has aired them on their various networks, including The Movie Network and MuchMusic. The channel ceased broadcasting on September 30, 2019.