Mr. Sapan has guided Rainbow Media's growth and success for 18 years, creating and managing some of the country's most compelling and dynamic entertainment services. Rainbow Media's portfolio includes its national networks - AMC, Fuse, The Independent Film Channel (IFC) and WE: Women's Entertainment; its film distribution, production and exhibition division - IFC Entertainment; regional programming through its Rainbow Sports Networks division; industry-leading video-on-demand (VOD) networks including Mag Rack and sportskool; and the largest suite of high definition channels available, the VOOM HD Networks.
Mr. Sapan joined Rainbow Media in 1987 as president of its National Entertainment Division. In 1991, he was promoted to chief operating officer, assuming overall operational responsibility for all Rainbow Media divisions. He became chief executive officer in 1995. Under his direction, Rainbow Media has grown substantially, recording nearly $1 billion in annual net revenue through its host of successful businesses.
Among Mr. Sapan's many achievements is the development of AMC and Bravo, two premier entertainment brands. Under his guidance, Bravo made arts and culture an essential part of the television landscape, achieving popular and critical acclaim with series such as "Inside The Actors Studio" and "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy." Bravo's distribution grew from 350 thousand homes to more than 68 million viewing households under Mr. Sapan leadership. Underscoring the value of this brand, in 2002, Bravo was sold to NBC for $1.25 billion.
Launched in 1984, AMC's distribution grew from 5 million homes to more than 86 million homes today under the direction of Mr. Sapan. It remains the preeminent American movie channel with original programming including "Sunday Morning ShootOut," hosted by Hollywood heavyweights Peter Bart and Peter Guber, "Movie Club with John Ridley," and new series including "Movies 101" and "Movies That Shook the World." AMC's reinvigorated brand has generated explosive ratings for the network. The network's ratings continue to soar with 2005 now pacing to break AMC's record breaking 2004 ratings.
Mr. Sapan broke new ground with the launch of The Independent Film Channel (IFC), Fuse and WE: Women's Entertainment. Launched in 1994, IFC began as the first, and is now the largest network dedicated to capturing the true spirit of independent film, uncut and commercial-free, reaching audiences that are passionate about films. IFC's programming includes original series and documentaries - including "Dinner for Five," IFC's signature series featuring actor and filmmaker Jon Favreau; and three new original scripted series: "HOPELESs PICTURES," "The Festival" and "Greg the Bunny" - and live coverage of special events.
Launched in 2003, Fuse is the nation's only all-music television network. Nielsen ranks it #1 in persons 12-34 concentration and today the network reaches 38 million basic households. Fuse's studio is a street-front production facility in midtown Manhattan that hosts original programming like "Daily Download," Fuse's cornerstone live, daily interactive show. WE: Women's Entertainment is available in more than 55 million homes and is the lifestyle network for women with movies, series, drama and comedy that looks at the world through the lens of relationships, pop culture and personal style. WE's programming includes unique reality shows, inspiring originals like "Bridezillas" and "American Princess," topical specials, and the largest collection of women's interest films.
Extending the success of the IFC brand, Mr. Sapan created IFC Entertainment, which includes IFC Productions, a feature film production company that provides financing for select independent film projects; IFC Films, a leading theatrical film distribution company bringing the best of independent and specialized films to theaters; InDigEnt, a unit that has paved the way for established filmmakers to shoot productions on digital video; and The IFC Center. Notable IFC releases include Touching the Void, which broke box office records to become among the top ten grossing documentaries of all time; 2003 Oscar®-nominated My Big Fat Greek Wedding; Alfonso Cuaron's Y Tu Mamá También; and Richard LaGravenese and the late Ted Demme's documentary A Decade Under the Influence. In addition, IFC Films co-distributed Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11, the top grossing documentary of all time. Recent releases include Miranda July's Sundance prize winner Me And You And Everyone We Know, which has earned critical acclaim. The recently opened IFC Center is a multi-million dollar renovation of New York City's historic landmark, The Waverly Theater, and is now the bricks and mortar home of IFC. The IFC Center will serve as a focal point for the independent film community - both to filmgoers and filmmakers alike. The state-of-the-art facility includes three theaters dedicated to independent films, digital editing suites and a large café and meeting areas.
Rainbow Media's original and exclusive on-demand networks serve a wide array of unique and diverse audiences who enjoy programming ranging from special interests to sports all at the touch of a button. Mag Rack is the ultimate on-demand television network, and was the first service to deliver made-for-VOD programming that fully engages consumers, like "Guitar Xpress," "24seven gamer" and "Mama Gena's School of Womanly Arts." sportskool is the first television network dedicated to delivering in-depth expert instruction, coaching and guidance for a wide range of sports and athletic activities. The network features exclusive and original programming custom-built for on-demand and boasts some of the most recognizable names in sports, including Mia Hamm, Nomar Garciaparra, Mike Vallely and tennis coach Brad Gilbert. sportskool is available nationwide on Comcast and Cablevision and currently reaches over 10 million digital cable subscribers. Rainbow Media's other VOD networks include Fuse On Demand, IFC On Demand, IFC Films On Demand and WE On Demand.
In the latest chapter of Rainbow Media's history of programming innovation, Mr. Sapan has spearheaded the creation of original high definition television channels called the VOOM HD Networks. The VOOM HD Networks deliver programming in categories as diverse as sports, movies, fashion, music and art, and are produced exclusively in high definition. Today, the VOOM HD Networks are available nationally on Echostar's DISH Network.
Prior to joining Rainbow Media, Mr. Sapan spent eight years at Showtime Networks. He quickly rose through the ranks to senior vice president of marketing including research, creative services, on-air promotion and public relations. Mr. Sapan was responsible for expanding and utilizing new methods of marketing pay TV that are now widely recognized throughout the industry.
Mr. Sapan serves as chair of the Executive Committee on the board of directors for People For the American Way; and serves on the board of directors for WNYC Public Radio; American Museum of the Moving Image and the International Radio and Television Society Foundation (IRTS). He is the author of Making it in Cable TV: Career Opportunities in Today's fast-Growing Media Industry, published by Random House, and is a published poet with his works appearing in more than twenty literary magazines. Mr. Sapan serves on the board of directors for the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing (CTAM); is a recipient of a National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) Vanguard Award; a CTAM GrandTAM Award; a Cable Television Public Affairs Association (CTPAA) President's Award; a PROMAX Brand Builder Award; and most recently, the CTAM Chairman's Award.