ABC Family, a popular Disney-owned television network, announced that beginning in January 2016, it will changE its name to Freeform. ABC Family president Tom Ascheim said the company is rebranding to suit its shifting target audience. The network is switching its focus from an aging Millennial audience to a younger one, which the company has dubbed the “becomers.” “Becomers” include people in high school, college and the decade following college. The name comes from the question “Who am I becoming,” which Ascheim says is the question this audience is trying to answer.
The rebrand has been in the works for some time; however, it comes most recently after the network saw a decline in viewership. According to a Wall Street Journal article, during its 2014-15 TV season, ABC Family saw a six percent drop in its 18- to 34-year-old target audience.
In a video released by the company, ABC Family explains that the name Freeform symbolizes its audiences ability to freely express themselves and get from “point a to point b in a line that’s nowhere near straight.” Even though the network name is changing, the show content will stay the same.
While most experts agree that the rebranding move was necessary, opinions are split on the new name. One Forbes writer likens the name to a stiff dad making an effort to be cool and claims that it will not sit well with “becomers.”
What do you think of the rebranding? Was it necessary? What do you think of the name Freeform? Do you think it will be resonate with the “becomer” audience?