Transitions in the television world sometimes become cultural pinpoints … a place and time when fans remember what happened. For one cable outlet, that would be their greatest hope.
Some of you can remember when cable or satellite first became available and the wonderful new boxes were placed on top of the set – when the set was a piece of furniture. Mine was an RCA from American, with a darker wood-grain body with flourishes on top to allow for knick-knacks to find a home in the living room. Some of those early switch boxes were painted with a fake wood grain to make them attractive to older viewers.
More recently, there was the digital TV conversion. That transition in 2009 made digital tuners a must-have to receive signals from over-the-air stations.
Now, through another transition, the station that used to run a scroll on the screen of all the shows currently on a cable outlet is going to completely "Pop." Since the digital program guide is available, the scroll is not needed. As the TV Guide Channel took over the scrolling information stations, the scroll is no longer there and the channel made its way with older show reruns and attempts atnew, original productions.
"TVGN will rebrand as Pop across its distribution of 80 million homes this month. The CBS/Lionsgate joint venture, currently known as TVGN, will embrace a new on-air look and creative design to accompany its new brand promise – celebrating the fun of being a fan," a recent release reported.
With new shows like, "Rock This Boat: New Kids On The Block" and "The Story Behind" that features the behind-the-scenes interviews of popular TV shows premiering on Jan. 14, the station wants to attract the current and past fans of popular culture.
The updated "90210" is a bit different from the Beverly Hills version popular in the 1980s, but what is the same is a generation of young people that identify with the characters and storylines. "90201" and a classic evening soap opera – "Melrose Place" – will find a regular home when the station hits its stride through the later part of January.
"Pop will become the first television network to develop and launch its primary digital voice with its web destination on Tumblr, the social platform driven by a highly engaged fan community with more than 150 million monthly unique users in the U.S.," a release said.
The digital strategy is firmly in place, as Pop strives to be interactive with its audience. The station’s website – poptv.com – will be live on Jan. 14 to pair up with the launch of the new network.
"Pop’s target audience are modern grown-ups with a fan-at-heart sensibility who are inherently social and want to soak up more out of the entertainment experiences they’re hooked on," said Brad Schwartz, President, Entertainment and Media, Pop.
"We know that this audience is highly engaged when expressing their fandom and sharing their passions with other fans—and we know they are doing that on Tumblr. Working with Tumblr to launch a digital destination for Pop is a perfect opportunity for our target audience to discover, enjoy and share the fan-fueled content launching on our network in the New Year."
Tumblr will give Pop a built-in audience where socially powered content can be discovered and amplified through the social networks. Tumblr is currently the top platform in time spent among all top social sites with more than 200 million blogs and 90 million posts per day.
"Our collaboration with Pop is a perfect way to connect television fans on Tumblr directly to both the network and the shows," said Sima Sistani, head of media at Tumblr. "The future of television marketing is all about engaging with your fan community 24/7, not just during the broadcast window. Pop is positioning itself to lead that evolution with an always-on strategy through Tumblr, a distinctive online destination that is instantly social."
Re-brands can become cultural pinpoints when done well. They can also be a failure – I think most of you remember when the new Coke was launched – we eventually got the classic formula back.
"Fans don’t sit at the outskirts of pop culture making snarky comments, they live right smack in the middle of it, sharing, creating, and connecting their passions with others," the station said in a release.
"At Pop, fans finally have a destination that celebrates the fun of being a fan. Fans aren’t even fans anymore – they’re Gladiators, Tributes, Human Beings and Blockheads. Launching in 2015, Pop will give fans a dedicated channel that loves being a fan as much as they do. A channel that respects talent over celebrity. A channel filled with optimism, passion, funny and excitement. A channel that understands the fun doesn’t stop when the credits roll … it’s really just the beginning."
Media is bombarding us everywhere.
Instead of sheltering his brain from the onslaught, Steve embraces the news stories, entertainment, billboards, blogs, talk shows and everything in between.
The former writer, editor and producer in TV, radio, Web and newspapers, will be talking about what media does in our community and how it shapes who we are and what we do.