On Wednesday, Corus Entertainment and Disney-ABC Television Group announced that they were going to launch a new TV channel in Canada in the spring of 2012. It will be called ABC Spark and is based on Disney's ABC Family, a network with programming aimed at a target group called "millennials", teens and young adults between 15-34 years old.
ABC Family has its origins in a cable channel called CBN, founded by religious entrepreneur Pat Robertson, and surprisingly popular in the 1980s. A legacy from the Robertson ownership is that the network has to carry his program, The 700 Club, and that it must have the word "family" in its name. Disney bought the network in 2001, and it was initially seen as big miss for Disney management. But ABC Family was turned around and rebranded with the tagline "A new kind of family", and is today successful in its quest for the "millennials" demographic.
The Canadian version is of course not hampered by decades-old agreements with Pat Robertson, which means it doesn't have to provide airtime for The 700 Club or convince 20-year-olds to watch something called "family". Canada already has a kids channel called Family, which is another reason to avoid that word. Instead they have opted for "Spark", continuing the trend of using "nonsense words" for new TV channels. Other recent examples include Glitz, Blink! and Really.
|ABC Family logo.|
Disney-ABC Television Group