Anyone who has watched a Christmas special on ABC Family by now is well aware that the network is changing its name to Freeform. But why? The Disney-owned network wants to change their identity in the New Year because they don’t want the “family” persona any longer, Vulture reported in October. After 30 years, the name “ABC Family” will be no more.
Freeform wants to engage an audience they labeled “Becomers,” which includes the younger spectrum of Millennials and teenagers in high school. “Becomers represent a life stage rather than a generation,” the station said in a press release. And there’s also the fact that “in five years, millennials will be less than half of the [advertising] target,” according to the network. Still, they aim to attract viewers between the ages of 14 and 34.
So why pick the name Freeform? The elusiveness is what the station found alluring. “The audience's identity and experience are fluid as they explore endless possibilities and their passions take shape,” the press release said. “Freeform personifies this fluidity and will deliver ideas, forms of content and ways of interacting with the brand.”
No need for viewers to worry about their favorite shows, though. Shows like “Pretty Little Liars ” and “The Fosters” will still air on the network.
ABC Family president Tom Ascheim said the change was more about growth than anything else. “For us, this doesn’t feel like a radical depature, this is an evolution,” he told Entertainment Weekly in October. “For the last 10-to-12 years, we’ve been targeting young people, millennnials, and then something happened. Millennials started getting older. The oldest ones are nearly 40. So do we follow millennials or stay with the ‘life stage’ that got us here?”
Freeform will also debut new shows, like Nicki Minaj’s comedy “Nicki.”
Follow me on Twitter @mariamzzarella