Wednesday, 7 October 2015

"Freeform" is the new Showcase

Juicebox, Pop, Action. You would never have known these were the names of TV channels because they are just words in a dictionary. Generic, uninspired, bland. Compare that shit to Teletoon, YTV, and MuchMusic; far more recognizable names and, in turn, marketable brands. Basically, if I were to use Google News to search for your brand and I end up getting something completely different, no matter how many times I rephrase it, you fucked up big time. That is exactly why ABC Family's decision to change their name to Freeform is a mistake. Not a huge mistake, just a mistake.

The name change was necessary; parents of America have long complained about the network airing more mature fare than its namesake would have you believe. Of course, parents of America being parents of America, they didn't bother to recognize that ABC Family is named as such due to some contractual crap by the channel's original owners, The CBN, in which the word "family" must be in the channel's name in perpetuity. However, as Disney/ABC were planning on a major revamp for their network, they found out that no such clause exists. They still have to air that CBN crap, but that doesn't mean they have to keep the name. So fuck, Parents of America, and Suck it, CBN!

That being said, the new name is, to be politically incorrect, very lame. At least with ABC Family, you get the impression that network's programming would be more in-line to what a 24/7 version of the ABC broadcast network would be like; mature, yet wholesome. Freeform is just an adjective people use to describe stuff like CBC Radio 3 or MTV2 back in its glory days. It's no different than Pop, a universal word used to describe what is, or was, popular. Wheras TVGN was the name of a fucking network.

You want to know an example of a good name change? Try Sci Fi, a network named after a genre of it had very little to do with that decided to change their name, but keep its pronunciation. Nowadays, its called Syfy and it has since become its own thing, but because of how familiar the name sounds, people can still recognize it. Better yet, try ABC Spark: a name explicitly chosen to avoid confusion with Family Channel, which in itself is confused with the many international networks sharing the same name!

If the new name really was chosen based on research and demographics, I'm inclined to believe so. If I learned anything from the years I've covered television, as well as the news and controversies I've heard from the gaming industry, this market-based research crap only does more harm than good. Anyone who doesn't know a thing about television, but has enough common sense, would have come up with a better name because at least they understand that a name has to stand out. It has to be unique, unconventional, or at least something you can't just look up in a goddamn dictionary.

At the very least, they should keep the ABC branding. Though, on the other hand, didn't they want change their name to XYZ in the first place?

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