ABC Family has joined the rest of civilization and decided to abandon millennials. The New York Times reported that the Disney-owned cable channel will undergo a radical rebrand in January, with a new name (Freeform) and a new target audience (“becomers,” or the generation below their former target, millennials). The rebrand will do away with the network’s obvious family-friendly associations, a move that president Tom Ascheim hopes will increase the network’s “cool factor,” according to the Times.
“We looked up from our research and said, ‘Oh, golly. They’re turning 40,’ ” Mr. Ascheim said, both referring to millennials and almost murdering the network’s cool factor singlehandedly. It’s worth noting that under the old millennial-aimed system, the channel earned about $451 million in advertising revenue last year.
So…wait. Who is the channel targeting now? They define “becomers” as “from your first kiss to your first kid.” Or, in technical terms, age 14 to 34, a range that is basically still millennials (advertisers define millennials as people born between 1980 and 1995). ABC Family…excuse me, Freeform, is just going the extra mile to nab those pesky 14-year-olds that were skipping Pretty Little Liars because they thought it was too family-friendly. Basically, ABC Family already has all the 20-35 year old viewers it needs.
For what its worth, the Times notes that ABC Family sees becomers “not as a generation but as a life stage,” which is kind of like when that asshole stoner who lived down the hall from you in college said his self-recorded EP was “not music but a state of mind.”
Still, the move is understandable. ABC Family certainly isn’t the first channel to adapt to the ever-changing tides of television. The TV Guide Network became TVGN, which then became Pop. In 2009 Sci-Fi became Syfy, and 2012 saw Lifetime get a new logo. Freeform does not yet have a new logo, unfortunately, but the announcement noted it would most likely “veer sharply away from the restrained imagery that ABC Family has long used.”
If nothing else, that bodes extremely well for the creative direction of Nicki Minaj’s new show.