ABC Family Stars Discuss Reaching Millennial Viewers And The Evolving Relationship With Fans

Ask most female Millennials about their favorite TV channels and ABC Family will likely top their list. According to Ypulse research, it’s the most popular network among Gen Y. Fully 63% of high school girls say they tune into the network regularly, as do 47% of college age females. These stats should come as no surprise considering that the channel has captivating yet relatable programming, and it consistently attracts teens as well as twentysomethings. ABC Family also understands the evolving needs of fans and not only how to reach young viewers, but also how to interact with them.

We attended the network’s 25 Days of Christmas Winter Wonderland event this past weekend where its success in marketing to Millennials became especially clear. We chatted with the channels’ stars about how their respective shows reach Gen Y and how their personal relationships with fans via social media is changing the traditional nature of television viewing.

Social media supports fandom, providing viewers with an extension of a show and its stars.

ABC FamilyABC Family’s hit show “Pretty Little Liars” is groundbreaking in terms of its social media success, with the finale for its latest season generating the most social buzz in the history of TV. Gen Y is dominating the social space, and Twitter and Facebook are a key part of how they consume content. They’re engrossed in social media to find out more about their favorite shows, stay updated on its stars, and feel part of a community of fans who rally around a show, even during the off-season. Social media is supporting the ever-evolving fandom among young viewers and ABC Family taps into this trend.

Several of the networks’ stars weighed in on the importance of social media and how it’s impacting their relationship with fans. Alexandra Chando of “The Lying…

 
 

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“I saw some heartbreaking stories in the internet, and decided to look up some international charities and donate to them.”—Male, 20, WA

Magazine covers aren’t dying in the age of digital—even when publications go out of print. Digital-only covers are “captur[ing] the print magazine's tangible essence” while building hype for media brands on social media (especially Instagram). PorterComplexNylonGQ and more publications have taken on the trend, featuring celebrities like Chance the Rapper to Sophie Turner. For magazines looking for a comeback with young consumers, digital-only covers can “translate their own brand for the web." (Fashionista)

Following “a series of scandals,” YouTube is taking major steps to overhaul its video review process and ad placement policies. The new guidelines “kick tens of thousands of video makers out” of the ad program by requiring anyone who generates ad revenue to produce 4,000 hours of content and gain 1,000 subscribers in one year, upping the ante from the previous requirement of 10,000 lifetime views. YouTube is also promising to manually review every video in its top tier of advertising (Google Preferred), and they’ve hired 10,000 new employees in the last year to get the job done. (recode)

Some Millennial parents are applying their minimalist tendencies to their kids’ toy chests to battle play clutter with “toy limitation.” It’s not a new concept—some schools of thought that have “advocate[d] simple, open-ended toys” include Montessori, Waldorf, and RIE—and today’s advocates say limiting toys can improve focus and happiness. A report from the University of Toledo concluded that toddlers “played ‘better’” when given fewer toys, meaning they played with each toy for longer and in more creative ways. However, some parents worry that they’re “denying [their children’s] self-expression” when they limit toys, and so the debate continues. (Slate)

Tostitos is giving fans their very own personalized Super Bowl ads to invite friends to their game parties. The platform takes a user's name, address, and other invite info and spins it into a video perfect for Customization Nation. Each ad features a different combination of Super Bowl clichés, including a “talking baby, puppies, sassy older women, [and] a celebrity pitchman.” Considering Ypulse data shows 64% of 13-34-year-olds watched some or all of the 2017 Super Bowl with friends and family, it’s a safe bet at least some will be sending out invites, possibly with some Tostitos product placement this year. (Adweek)

Facebook’s new feature lets Groups co-view each other’s content. “Watch Party” allows Group admins to show any Facebook video to members simultaneously, and to comment on a “dedicated reel” for a “shared viewing experience.” The feature is another step towards the platform’s new goal to “encourage meaningful social interactions,” and their new focus on Groups. The push for social viewing could possibly be integrated into other aspects of Facebook and its properties, like group chats. (TechCrunch)

“I plan to go to a free barre class at a local studio that is offering them as part of a New Year's promotion.”—Female, 33, MA

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