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    ABC strategy behind this week’s launch of ABC Family & ABC Entertains

    This week the ABC will flick the switch on two new FTA TV channels – ABC Entertains and ABC Family.

    They are strictly not additional linear TV channels, but two rebranded frequencies. The existing ABC TV Plus channel will become ABC Family. While the existing ABC ME will become ABC Entertains.

    If you’re not already getting a little bit confused, there will also be four new digital streams. Audiences can find them delivering children’s live action, animation, education, and family viewing, and they will launch on ABC iview. The four dedicated genres will be available as live streams as well as on demand.

    Those four new streams have been branded:

    Cartoons: Animation for children aged 7–12 years.
    100% Faves: Live action favourites for children aged 7–12 years.
    Family Faves: Family content available 24/7.
    BTN: BTN and other educational content for kids.

    When are the channels changing over?

    Sunday June 3 is the date for the new launch of the six new streams – two live on FTA TV and iview, the additional four via iview.

    The ABC ME app will be closed down on Friday May 30 ahead of the change.

    There is no change to the ABC Kids channel brand, which will continue to broadcast from 5.30am to 7.30pm daily.

    What’s in a name?

    Television audiences in Australia had five primary channels to choose from following the launch of SBS in 1980.

    Two decades ago there was an explosion of multichannels on FTA and the ABC didn’t miss out. The first was branded ABC2 which the corporation seemed happy with until they decided to rebrand it ABC Comedy over a decade later in 2017. That lasted less than four years until it was rebranded ABC TV Plus in 2021. Now just over three years later that channel gets its third name in seven years – ABC Family.

    How do ABC multichannels rate?

    Finding weekly channel share ratings that include ABC channels isn’t as straightforward as it once was.

    For the week ending Saturday May 25, 2024, the ABC TV Plus channel (which is shared with ABC Kids for part of the day) had a primetime metro share of 2.3%. Amongst the sea of FTA multichannels it was only outrated in metro markets by 7TWO, 7mate and 10 Bold.

    Importance of iview

    ABC now programs for the audience using iview. A key executive behind these significant channel changes is ABC head of programming, acquisitions and streaming, Roberta Allan.

    “We are always thinking, what does it look like on ABC iview?” Allan told Mediaweek. “If an audience member comes on iview, what are they finding. If I’m a science fan, and I’ve come on, is there new content regularly? What we don’t want to do is actually put all the content into Science Week, and then it’s boring for the rest of the year. We are thinking about all those audience journeys, be they special interest types or age groups, and trying to plan to that.”

    A former BBC and TV1 programming executive, Allan has been with ABC for over three years.

    ABC strategy behind this week’s launch of ABC Family & ABC Entertains

    Let them binge

    Allan continued explaining one key iview strategy: “On ABC iview, wherever possible, we’re promoting binging, and we make all episodes available as early as possible, which is different to what the other FTA channels do.

    “[Elsewhere] you usually have to wait until after all episodes are played out. We’re putting all episodes there and trying to just make that viewing experience as amazing as possible.”

    Viewers need to keep a watch on iview if they are waiting for something new. Allan told Mediaweek it’s not necessarily available the minute the linear broadcast starts. “Sometimes all the episodes could go up earlier that day. It all depends on the rights.”

    The recent drama After the Party for example was available from Sunday morning on the day episodes launched on the primary ABC channel.

    “The point with that is, we don’t want to confuse viewers by giving lots of different times. What we want is if someone visits iview at 6pm on the [launch] night, that they don’t have to wait till 8.30pm to find a show that they’ve heard about.”

    After the Party

    ABC’s iview hit After the Party

    iview, broadcast and on demand numbers growing

    Mediaweek reported earlier this month on audience growth at the broadcaster.

    Allan updated us: “This year our broadcast channels, live streamed, have significantly increased their numbers. Our broadcast channels on broadcast have also increased their numbers.

    “Either way more people are watching. Also our on-demand numbers have increased, which means overall we’re getting a bigger audience.

    We haven’t cannibalised any platform. We’re just doing a better job at everything.

    ABC’s head programming, acquisitions and streaming Roberta Allan and chief content officer Chris Oliver-Taylor with head of screen Jennifer Collins

    See also: Jennifer Collins harnesses ABC TV star power to maintain 2024 momentum

    How are people watching?

    “The majority of our viewers watch via smart TV, which means a big TV,” said Allan.

    “Less are watching via a website or a mobile phone. That’s the same in children as well as non-kids. A lot of children are consuming via that big screen. That’s something we’ve been very conscious of with ABC Family.

    “One of the reasons to launch ABC Family was that those kids need help to turn on that TV. Their parents are helping them turn it on. They know it’s a safe environment, but we haven’t always had them coming over to our adults’ content.

    Creating a brand like ABC Family will mean that we’ll be able to transition children as they get older with their families into that co-viewing safe environment. And expose them to some of the other content we have.”

    Same content, different demos

    Allan continued: “One really interesting thing is that broadcast is an older audience. Exactly the same shows on iview skew younger.

    “As we grow the audiences on ABC iview, the average age of all the programs decreases because it’s easier for younger viewers to find.”

    See also: ABC reveals major new investment in TV series commissions for 2024 plus more Bay of Fires

    The post ABC strategy behind this week’s launch of ABC Family & ABC Entertains appeared first on Mediaweek.

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