ABC Family announced plans to change its name this January because it want more adults watching its TV shows — not little kids or families. The station’s new name will be Freeform.
Executives at ABC Family announced Tuesday in a press release they plan to appeal to an age group they call “Becomers,” people between 14 and 34. Previously, the channel was known for more traditional kid shows, but starting in January 2016, the channel will officially move away from exclusively entertaining this demographic.
“For us, this doesn’t feel like a radical departure, this is an evolution,” ABC Family president Tom Ascheim told Entertainment Weekly. “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?”
The notably progressive station owned by Disney currently boasts TV programs like “The Fosters” which portrays a lesbian couple raising their family, “Young & Hungry,” a show about a food blogger who has a one-night stand with her boss and “Pretty Little Liars,” a show about cliquey girls vying for power after their leader dies. The TV execs to did not announce what new shows will be released after the name change. (RELATED: ABC Family Airs A Show About Lesbian Having A Late-Term Abortion)
The channel polled cable viewers about the name “ABC Family,” according to TV Insider, and a majority of responses claimed the word “family” conjures up feelings of “wholesome” TV and thus drives away a lot of older, prospective viewers. So after testing new names with focus groups, Freeform was chosen.
“Like any growing business, we want to keep our core customers satisfied, but also add new ones – and they had a cliched sense of who we are” Ascheim said. “The word ‘Family’ sounds overly loud to their ears and that makes it a barrier to them coming into our ecosystem.”