Sony Taps 'Nip/Tuck' For Fall Push

Sony Pictures has again turned to a drama about plastic surgeons to cut through the clutter for its fall marketing efforts. The studio is the sole sponsor of tonight's season four premiere of FX drama "Nip/Tuck."

The arrangement, for the second year in a row, gives Sony full ownership of all commercial breaks to air trailers of upcoming films on its fall slate. Both Sony and FX hope the trailers, which many viewers perceive as content/information rather than ads, will keep people tuned in during the breaks. The desire is to prevent them from fast-forwarding if viewed later via DVRs.

FX has cut another "exclusive advertiser" deal for the January premiere of the new Courteney Cox-starring drama "Dirt." Under the arrangement, an undisclosed marketer will sponsor the debut episode ad-free, while also employing brand integration and other co-marketing opportunities.

In a DVR age, sole-sponsor commercial-free premieres are gaining steam. Turner offered three this summer, including those for hit drama "The Closer."



Sony's exclusive sponsorship of the "Nip/Tuck" premiere is a tailor-made partnership, since the drama's female 18-to-49 target dovetails with Sony's sweet spot, according to FX ad chief Bruce Lefkowitz.

"We think their movies are content that's compatible with the content we're delivering," Lefkowitz says.

The "Nip/Tuck" arrangement is part of a broader deal with the News Corp. network known for its gripping, edgy and often controversial dramas. Sony will advertise in all FX's original dramas, and a video-heavy "Sony Sneak Preview Lounge" is rolling out on the FX Web site, where consumers can watch previews of its upcoming films.

Fall films promoted on the "Lounge" include "Running with Scissors," "Stranger than Fiction" and "Casino Royale."

By reviewing data on tune-in patterns, FX will use the Sony initiative on "Nip/Tuck" to gauge whether movie trailers during ad breaks reduce ad-zapping among DVR viewers. If so, it could be a selling point for future movie marketers--although Lefkowitz believes hit dramas, from "Rescue Me" to "The Shield," are already key spots for movie marketers.

"For the movie category, if our originals are not a must-buy, they're sure a really-want-to-buy," he says.

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