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TCA16: Ascheim: Freeform Name Better Targets Audience

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Pasadena, Calif. -- ABC Family’s name conversion to Freeform won’t hurt the network by losing its name identification with parent Disney/ABC, according to Tom Ascheim, president of the network.

Ascheim, speaking at the network’s Television Critics Association tour press conference, said the Freeform name was chosen after extensive research with its core “becomers” audience which ranges from high school age to late 20’s.

While ABC/Disney name offers distinct brand identity, Ascheim said it was more important to provide a name that its audience can better identify with.

“We believe that we will still enjoy all the great benefits that comes from being with the Disney/ABC company … we will enjoy the great neighborhood that we live in,” he said. “But for our young audience it's important for them to feel like they discovered something on their own. Detatching ourselves from hallowed brands felt like a way to make sure newness and freshness were part of the qualities that make Freeform special.”

Ascheim added that while change it never easy, the network’s appeal to its viewers though original series such as Pretty Little Liars and new shows such as dramas Recovery Road and Shadowhunters will help make the name transition easier.

 “We asked questions about what names feel good – Freeform best responded against all of them,” Ascheim said. “People don’t like change – the question is is it a name you love by itself. We will use the power of what is consistent with ABC Family to make sure that all the love that they have for ABC Family transfers over to Freeform.”

The network Tuesday will celebrate the debut of the Freeform name with a day long virtial social media event that will include a Social DNA Project with Twitter; a live stream of events via Periscope; a Vine booth; a BuzzFeed Facebook Live chat and a custom Pretty Little Liars Facebook icon; Instagram content and talent takeovers; and a Pretty Little Liars Snapchat filter, said network executives.