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 play [games] constantly until 4 in the morning. When I’m not on my game I’m checking my phone. And the whole time I’m doing all of that my desktop is on the internet.”—Male, 22, OH

Twitch is airing every episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, in celebration of the late Fred Rogers’ 90th birthday and the show’s 50th anniversary. The esports streaming service is expanding to nostalgia entertainment (which young viewers can’t get enough of), but they have a unique twist. The show will be available for co-viewing, with popular Twitch streamers chiming in from time to time. (Mashable)

Over one-third of 18-34-year-olds have stopped using a brand after hearing negative news about them, more than any other generation. Among the brands that most consumers said they gave up on were Wells Fargo, Target, Papa John’s, and Uber. However, Critical Mix and kNOW also found that young consumers are more willing to forgive a brand for bad press: While only 30% of consumers overall would use a brand again after a scandal, 41% of 25-34-year-olds would. (MediaPost)

Alamo Drafthouse is bringing back VHS—offering free rentals for Millennials that wax nostalgic for analog products. Their first store, Video Vortex, is opening in North Carolina. Not only are they “fostering a movie-loving community” with the extensive gratis collection of 75,000 titles, but they’re making money off of the added “beer, food, and merchandise.” No VHS player? No problem. They’re renting those as well. (BoingBoingEW)

Researchers were surprised to find Gen Z students were “relieved” to ditch their smartphones for a few weeks. Screen Education’s study of 62 12-16-year-olds found that 92% thought “it was beneficial” to disconnect from their smartphones while they were at camp. And even though 41% admitted they felt frustrated at times, 35% were able to cut down their use after camp and 17% convinced a friend to curb their time spent on smartphones, too. (PR Newswire)

Beauty brands love augmented reality, but an app can’t replace in-store experience. Not only did Ypulse found time and again that young consumers expect Experiencification and flock to marketing activations (like pop-ups), but brick-and-mortar locations build loyalty. People think they’re scamming Sephora when they re-do their makeup gratis, but that time-spent-in-store is really “turning the ‘scammers’ into buyers.” (Quartzy)

"I love my smart phone. It is just like my best friend [and] I just can't do without my smartphone...”—Male, 27, CA

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