Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

AMC to Keep Showcasing Movie Heritage

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

AMC to Keep Showcasing Movie Heritage

Article excerpt

FOR nearly 10 years, American Movie Classics has been a welcomed stopover in the cable jungle for true lovers of motion pictures.

Unlike premium services such as HBO and Showtime, you don't have to pay a 10-spot or so to get AMC. And unlike most other cable services, AMC is commercial free and airs its movies un-edited.

Come April 14, however, AMC won't be the only such player in the field. That's the date Turner Broadcasting launches its Turner Classic Movies, which also will air movies without commercials. It will draw on Turner's vast movie holdings as well as leasing films from other studios.

But if the folks at AMC are fretting about the competition from TCM, they aren't letting on.

"That's because we honestly don't see it as competition," said Jayne Wallace, AMC director of public relations. "We think we are using the word `classic' in a different mode than Turner. To them, any good film from any good time will classify as a classic.

"We emphasize the films from the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. We feel like we've built up a loyal following over the years."

And TCM's huge library doesn't seem to worry AMC, either.

"We've got contracts with several studios that run well into the next century," Wallace said. Ironically, one of those contracts is for the RKO library, which is owned by Turner.

Wallace said the big problem facing TCM is the lack of channel space on most cable systems around the country.

That's the main reason AMC has put on hold its plans for Romance Classics channel, originally scheduled to begin on Valentine's Day. The new service would have aired not only movies devoted to falling in love, but also several old romantic television shows. Uncut, of course.

"We did a survey in December and based on what the (cable) operators told us, we decided not to launch Romance," Wallace said. "We plan to do another survey either this month or next. Right now, we're looking at October or maybe longer."

Wallace said the latest FCC cable ruling, which is supposed to cut consumer prices, might negatively affect the startup of new cable channels. …

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