December 11, 2013 11:06am PT by Lesley Goldberg
A+E Rebrands Bio as Lifestyle Network FYI
A+E Networks is rebranding Bio as lifestyle network FYI in a bid to reach an underserved and lucrative demographic under Jana Bennett.
Launching in summer 2014, Bennett -- newly installed president of FYI and LMN -- will oversee the network. Known as "for your inspiration" or "for your innovation," FYI is described as a personalized experience that will embrace the way viewers live their lives -- proudly hyphenated and not constrained by one interest or passion. It will blend the inspiring personal creativity of viewers and the emergence of powerful digital entrants to the space with a linear reach that will create a platform for new approaches to content.
Bio, a joint-venture between the Disney/ABC Television Group and Hearst Corp., currently reaches more than 70 million U.S. households. The network has a programming roster that includes docuseries Mobsters, Gangsters: America's Most Evil, Alien Encounters, Ghost Bait, Haunted History and Sell This House, among others.
The network launched in 1999 and was last rebranded in 2007 with a new tagline -- "true story" -- and revamped on-air look at feel.
"The transition to FYI is the next phase in our strategy to bolster the A+E Networks portfolio by evolving and maturing our brands to allow for future growth in the rapidly changing media landscape," A+E Networks president and CEO Nancy Dubuc said in making the announcement Wednesday. "FYI will be an upscale network with a younger and more modern sensibility than what we've seen on traditional lifestyle networks, in an effort to appeal to an audience that has been underserved on linear but thrives online."
Added Bennett: "FYI is defined by the world we live in today -- offering viewers a less prescriptive, more adventurous approach to their taste, space, social life and look. Gone are the days where consumers are looking for experts to instruct them how to live. Together with our partners and audiences, we are building a new brand that embraces personal creativity and the sharing of the best ideas on air and online."
The new network will cater to a younger, upscale audience by becoming the first net on TV that reflects the way a new generation experience their lives. The new FYI is already developing more than 30 potential new series that are said to inspire viewers. Programming announcements will be made in early 2014. Outside of the U.S., announcements about the evolution of the Bio brand will be made market by market. While the network will be rebranded, the Bio brand will continue to exist on various platforms in the U.S.
The move to rebrand Bio as FYI comes as A+E Networks continues to broaden its portfolio. The global media company has six core networks: A&E, History, Lifetime and H2, which two years after its own rebranding, has seen double-digit growth year-over-year.
Bennett boarded Bio and the Lifetime Movie Network in May, arriving from the BBC as Dubuc's first key hire in her new role as president and CEO of A+E Networks. The hire was considered the first push to help broaden A+E's under-performing networks. Bennett spent more than 30 years with the BBC and previously worked stateside as exec vp and GM at TLC (then known as The Learning Channel). She helped launch stateside iterations of British formats, including Trading Spaces. Bennett exited BBC Worldwide Networks as president in 2012.
The move to rebrand Bio as FYI comes just months after cable network A&E itself rebranded with a new "Be Original" tagline with a new emphasis on scripted programming that includes Bates Motel and Longmire.