As president of IFC, Evan Shapiro oversees the strategic and creative direction of the network, a distinct cable destination known for its indie perspective on what’s worth watching and doing in alternative culture. Named to the position in June 2008, he has had a tremendous impact in strategically evolving the IFC brand in response to the rapidly changing programming delivery technologies and industry trends.
Shapiro is leading IFC into the next chapter of its history. He provides key direction on original programming, content acquisition, marketing and digital initiatives, and the distribution of IFC’s content on alternative platforms. He also serves as executive producer on a number of originals, including IFC’s critically acclaimed, Emmy® Award-winning comedy series Portlandia, Onion News Network, Whisker Wars, and the Emmy Award nominated original docu-series, Monty Python: Almost the Truth (The Lawyer’s Cut).
In 2011, under Shapiro’s leadership, IFC successfully evolved its business model to accommodate additional advertising on the network, a testament to the high demand amongst clients eager to tap into the network’s 70% male audience. Since its transition, IFC continually wins key business from blue chip advertisers and works closely with partners to create customized branded content, a hallmark of the network’s sales strategy.
A member of AMC Networks’ executive team, Shapiro led the assimilation of Sundance Channel into the AMC Networks portfolio when the company acquired the influential channel in 2008. Under his watch, Sundance Channel elevated its programming strategy, earning its first Golden Globe® award for its mini-series Carlos, and a Peabody Award for its mini-series Brick City, for which he also served as executive producer.
Previously, Shapiro served for three years as executive vice president and general manager of IFC. During his tenure, IFC produced a number of thought-provoking and acclaimed original series, specials and documentaries, including This Film Is Not Yet Rated, which prompted the MPAA to discuss making changes to its film ratings process. IFC grew dramatically in scope and magnitude under Shapiro’s guidance. In 2008, IFC launched its first On Demand offering, IFC Free, and both IFC and Sundance Channel became available in high-definition. Shapiro broke new ground in 2007 by bringing R. Kelly’s Trapped in the Closet, a landmark “hip-hopera,” to IFC.com. Called “the cultural event of the year” by New York magazine, Trapped in the Closet also served as the catalyst for driving a record number of visitors to IFC.com, which Shapiro remolded into a “second network” with extensive original content. Shapiro joined IFC in 2004 as senior vice president of marketing and in this role he launched some of IFC’s largest-ever marketing campaigns, including Film Fanatic Fridays and Pulp Month.
Prior to joining IFC, Shapiro served as senior vice president of marketing for Court TV, where his campaigns for “Forensic Files” garnered several top awards. In 1996, Shapiro formed a marketing agency called FourFront, which he ran until joining Court TV. With clients such as HBO, Court TV, A&E, Microsoft and Universal Pictures, he developed marketing campaigns, events and guerrilla strategies for some of the world's top brands. He was also integrally involved with the creation of countless Broadway enterprises such as The Lion King, Rent, Chicago, Bring in ‘Da Noise, Bring in ‘Da Funk and Freak. Before FourFront, Shapiro got his first major career lift as the director of marketing for the Public Theater/New York Shakespeare Festival, where he re-launched the venerable theater's brand after 40 years and developed a new look and image for Shakespeare in the Park (FREE WILL!) and Noise/Funk.
Shapiro is extremely active throughout the entertainment industry. He sits on the Advisory Board of the Branded Content Marketing Association and has been the co-chair of The Branded Entertainment Forum for the past two years. Shapiro also serves on the board of the New York Chapter of Women in Cable Telecommunications (WICT NY), where he has participated in their mentoring program since its inception. Additionally, Shapiro is a board member The Ghetto Film School, the only youth-media non-profit in the country that specializes in providing young people of color with first-person access to the film industry.
He is a featured lecturer for the CableCenter’s Cable Mavericks, and in 2011 Evan co founded the Mavericks Masters Program – a groundbreaking one day master class in the cable business. Shapiro is an adjunct professor at New York University, in the Stern School of Management’s distinguished Entertainment, Media and Technology Program, where he teaches the undergraduate class, “The Television Industry.” He is also a resident blogger for The Huffington Post, www.huffingtonpost.com/evan-shapiro/, where he writes about the television industry and its influence on culture and society, and for Jack Myers’ MediaBizBloggers website where Shapiro blogs about trends affecting the future of the television business, www.mediabizbloggers.com/evan-shapiro.
Shapiro serves as co-chair of AMC Networks’ green committee, which has instituted a number of policies to conserve energy and resources at the company. He also implemented an internal mentor program and Culture Committee at IFC and Sundance Channel, created to help integrate new employees and cultivate relationships.
The industry honors bestowed upon IFC and Sundance Channel during Shapiro’s tenure include: BrandWeek Brand Builder (2005), two CableFAX Program Awards (2009), CableFAXIES Award (2009), Environmental Media Association Award (2009), IDA Documentary Award (2009), Myers Media Innovation & Creativity Award (2006), gold Reggie Award (2006), two silver Mark Awards (2006 and 2007), Peabody Award – one of the most prestigious awards in electronic media (2006), seventeen PROMAX|BDA Awards (2007, 2008 and 2009), four Webby Awards (2009), Web Marketing Association Web Award (2009) and two Writers Guild Awards (2008, 2009). He has also been named numerous times to CableFAX’s “Top 100” executives list.