ABC Family will be renamed and rebranded as Freeform in January 2016, network president Tom Ascheim announced Tuesday.
The relaunch, which will coincide with the cabler’s popular “25 Days of Christmas” and winter premieres, marks a continued effort to evolve the young-skewing network past traditional family viewing and toward its target audience of “Becomers,” a network-coined term defined as those in the life stage spanning ages 14 to 34.
The Becomer audience — a concept ABC Family execs introduced at this year’s Upfront presentation — reflects the network’s efforts to keep up with its millennial viewers as they grow up. “The most important question that young people ask themselves as they’re going from high school to their thirties is, ‘Who am I becoming?’ So we call the life stage ‘becoming’ and the people going through it Becomers,” Ascheim explains.
“This is a long time coming. It really is an evolution of something that started 10 to 12 years ago when this network began to focus on what were then millennials. The network built incredible strength and incredible ratings success with young people, especially women,” Ascheim tellsVariety. “And then something funny happened on the way of the demographic dance where millennials were no longer synonymous with youth. The oldest ones are turning 40 in a couple of years.”