ABC1 not so serious, folks!

Channel Controller Brendan Dahill tells TV Tonight he hopes ABC1's new branding reminds audiences of its entertainment offerings.

ABC1 launched its new channel branding yesterday, built around the theme ‘Think Entertainment.’

New idents and a revamped logo hit the screen as part of a push by the channel to remind viewers it was more than news andcurrent affairs.

Channel Controller Brendan Dahill told TV Tonight that market research of the Top 20 channels  had shown that audiences were no longer seeing ABC1 as synonymous with entertainment.

“It struck me very quickly that for every single channel except ABC1 people mentioned the words ‘entertaining or entertainment’ in the top ten values they felt about each channel,” he said.

“We had a lot of other really corporate values that we were pleased to see such as ‘credible, trusted, quality,’ but nobody was thinking of ABC1 as an entertainment destination.”

Yet programmes such as Spicks and Specks and The Gruen Transfer were repeatedly successful with broad audiences.

“We want to claim some credit for the fantastic entertainment that ABC’s done over the years and will continue to do.”

ABC TV’s Marketing Director Di Costantini developed the new campaign with The Lab, incorporating “think bubbles” and an ABC1 logo in a new colour palette of blue and burnt orange. Idents featuring personalities such as Wil Anderson, Adam Hills, Margaret Pomeranz, Myf Warhurst, Todd Sampson and Russel Howcroft are one of several strategic looks.

“There are some abstract elements that are just beautiful and there are some graphic-based elements that are more navigational and informational and the talent-based ones which are a bit of fun,” says Dahill.

Others will be seen without personalities, depending on the type of programme it is aligned with.

“You can’t really come out of a report about Cyclone Yasi and go straight into Wil Anderson. It would just feel completely wrong,” he says.

“Assuming these work, and I hope they do, these are going to be on air for a while, so we’re going to rollout a range of them.”

But he denied the ‘think bubbles’ were too close to TEN’s ‘button-push’ branding. Ironically, ABC1 is out to prove it is more than ‘seriously’ entertaining.

“There are a couple of areas that superficially are quite similar but I think fundamentally they are different,” he said.

The rebrand comes as ABC1 resumes its Monday night line-up and launches two of its major new series on Wednesday,  Adam Hills In Gordon St Tonight and Marieke Hardy’s comic drama Laid.

“Those two shows are big shows for us and I really wanted to have a fresh-looking ABC1 around them.”

ABC2 will unveil its new look in April with ABC for Kids to follow later in the year.

22 Responses

  1. @ Stan

    I.e. the attacks were just not needed. I even agree that people don’t usually stop watching because the watermarks. Even if they hate them. Although I really do wish they’d get rid of it for most shows. Just to occasionally not annoy some of their viewers for some of the time. It’d be nice. Oh well a mostly non-coloured watermark is a slight improvement.

  2. @ Stan

    You’re not helping your case when you praise the ABC then attack others based on hating them. Either their (real or imagined) age or whatever you’ve decided to dislike about them. You couldn’t have just said you liked it or loved it? Maybe even just said that they shouldn’t be discouraged about those that didn’t.

  3. I hope the good people at ABC1 are reading this because I *love* the new look!

    ABC, just remember when you get +50-year-old bores like Mike, below, who endlessly complain about anything new you guys do, that they’re the vocal minority (like all minorities). It’s safe to assume that the vast majority of your audiences will be happy with most identity & programming decisions. It’s so dramatic (& mostly BS) when somebody says they’re not going to watch their fave programs because of a little, inoffensive watermark.

    I’d copy & paste my above comment into your ABC message-boards, but I’m not a member because I hate just about everyone who is.

  4. Wow, that looks rough. Really rough.

    I think cheap will become even more synonymous with the ABC now after watching that hideous promo.

    Blowing bubbles is great for four year olds, but Myf Warhurst?

    Lizzie I agree, it seems the folks over at the ABC are now too obsessed with a younger image rather than making good drama. Mid life crisis at the ABC then.

    As for the watermark, who cares. I can’t believe people get excited over a watermark.

  5. “And having to make a tv series out of a successful book – The Slap – is case in point. Shows no inspiration, creativity or confidence.”

    What an odd comment. It’s not hard to think of many, many successful TV series and single shows that have been based on books. I would have thought it better to reserve judgment till the series has been broadcast.

  6. I don’t blame them. Their rusted on viewers from 1956 must soon be falling off perches… they need to grab the next lot on the way past.

    It’s about time they shook the image of ‘I watch ABC and I vote’ bumper stickers on Volvo’s and old, yet immaculate brownish-yellow Corollas from the ’70s.

    Wednesday nights just isn’t enough to pull the whole channel up. Needs a whole fresh coat of paint.

  7. If it’s entertainment the ABC is after, Kim Dalton and co need to do something about their current drama executives, who know nothing about how to make entertainment. And having to make a tv series out of a successful book – The Slap – is case in point. Shows no inspiration, creativity or confidence.

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