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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The Newsfeed

Quote of the Day: “New wedding traditions I’ve noticed are the return of the wedding band (not just DJ), and weekend activities even if the wedding isn't a destination.”—Female, 30, DC

The election inspired Millennials to start reading (some) major newspapers again. According to a Pew Research Center study, 44% of 18-49-year-olds received their election news from The New York Times, 37% received it from The Washington Post, and 27% went to The Wall Street Journal—compared to 23%, 19%, and 15% of those 50 and older respectively. Local newspapers did not get as much love from the younger generation, with only 23% turning to them compared to 67% of older consumers. (Fortune)

How did Vans get on every “cool kid’s radar?” They have their exclusive Vault line to thank. In the early 2000s, the shoe line was struggling to reach young consumers with their classic styles, so they were reimagined with collaborator-inspired designs and sold in limited quantities at higher price points in partner stores only. The strategy was “a marketing exercise for boosting energy and brand affinity,” and helped bring the brand to international levels, most likely driving a 7% increase last quarter. (Glossy

PepsiCo reports that almost half of its revenue now comes from healthy foods. With young consumers not drinking sweet carbonated beverages the way they used to, the brand pledged to cut calories from their sugary drinks but has been moving at a “glacial pace.” Almost half of their revenue is now coming from their “guilt-free” product category, like Baked Lay’s and Naked juices, 25% from “everyday nutrition” like water and healthier snacks, and the brand is admitting soda is “becoming a smaller part of” their future. (Grub Street

An app bringing tech to pre-K just secured $10 million in venture funding. Brightwheel helps pre-K teachers and daycare providers manage their business, while updating parents on their child’s status throughout the day with photos and messages. Along with premium access, it is available for free with limited features which the founder hopes would appeal to lower income communities: “Something like 85% of brain development happens in the first 3 years of life…Access to good pre-K care is low in the US, we’re ranked 26th globally. And we think tech can help to change that.” (TechCrunch

Over nine in ten of Millennials say the post-grad job hunt was difficult. The insight from a recent Job Applicator Center study reflects employers’ tendency to hire skilled workers for entry-level positions while overlooking recent graduates. The study also found that 18-34-year-olds have already had 2.7 jobs on average and 41% only plan to be at their current job for two years or less—most likely because they are looking for employers who invest in them beyond just salaries and benefit packages. (Job Application Center

Quote of the Day: “I want my wedding to be authentic, joyful and audacious.”—Female, 30, NE

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