ABC Family changes its name, takes a multiplatform angle

Disney-owned television network ABC Family is changing its name to "Freeform" in January, a move it says will better reflect its content offerings and its audience's multiscreen viewing behaviors.

ABC Family twitter post

ABC Family tweeted the name-change announcement ahead of an official release. (Source: Twitter)

Tom Ascheim, president of ABC Family, called the change an "evolution" in an EW article. ""For the last 10-to-12 years, we've been targeting young people, millennials, and then something happened. Millennials started getting older," he said. Rather than follow the same viewers into their pending midlife crises, the newly branded Freeform will instead stick with the age 14-34 demographic, a group the network has dubbed "Becomers."

The new name also clearly implies that the network will have a multiscreen focus, not surprising considering that both "Becomers" and millennials are overwhelmingly watching content on mobile devices and interacting on social media during series episodes.

"Media is oozing onto all sorts of different screens and platforms and it feels kind of free form in the way that people find it," Ascheim said in a Variety article.

ABC Family said that programming will remain the same despite the name change. The Fosters, Pretty Little Liars, Young and Hungry, and other series will continue to air on the network.

Ascheim said the driving reason behind the name change was ABC Family's perception among viewers that weren't part of its core demographic. Those non-viewers, in a survey, identified the network as "family friendly" and "wholesome" but indicated that those words presented a barrier to them turning on the network.

A TV Insider article said the name Freeform was picked from a pool of 3,000 possible new brand names.

For more:
- see the release
- see this EW article
- see this Variety article
- see this TV Insider article

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