When you think of ABC Family, what comes to mind? For me, I think of the iconic tween years that I spent in front of my TV, hooked on shows that taught me way too much about life. 7th Heaven, Friday Night Lights, Gilmore Girls, That 70’s Show, and so many more shows that take me right back to such great memories. Lorelai and Rory Gilmore brought me endless giggles and quite possibly helped out my sense of humor. The Camden family taught me about how family, however crazy, is a blessing. That 70’s show taught me what not to wear. Friday Night Lights made me cherish the high school days and wish that I knew someone as wise as Tami Taylor. Who could forget about 25 days of Christmas that allow us to relive our favorite Christmas movies? And the month of October where the Halloweentown movies are played on repeat just about every night. Thanks for the memories ABC Family.
A fun fact about ABC Family is that it is owned by Disney Channel and is often seen by producers as the “next step” for viewers of Disney Channel. Although, I am not sure how well this next step works out for their viewers, because I still secretly watch Disney Channel shows. No shame.
Disney announced a few weeks ago that they would be changing the name of ABC Family to Freeform as it undergoes a “radical rebranding as it stops chasing millennials and pushes toward even younger viewers it calls ‘becomers’”. This generation of becomers is described by Disney Channel’s president as “a life stage from your first kiss to your first kid” aka “people roughly 14 to 34”. The name change will take effect starting in January. Freeform “reflects the fluid way that teenagers and young adults consume media”. Check out this video and see for yourself.
Here is a glimpse into the social media reaction
I can't help but be a little bit critical of the name change. ABC Family is iconic and it has some incredible shows attached to its name. It has been ABC Family for so long. When I hear the name ABC Family it brings back feelings of nostalgia and some great memories. However, from a marketing standpoint, it could be a smart move. What it really boils down to is advertising spending and reach. Marketers and advertisers are struggling to figure out how to respond to this shift from live television watching to online TV and other mediums, which the millennials and younger generations have grown to be fond of. We are no longer subjected to that dreaded 5 minute commercial break in between shows because we can have a 30 second commercial break by watching it on Hulu the next day. It proves an interesting challenge for marketers and the next few years will be telling as new mediums for watching television arise.