Ion Television rebrands

Overhaul includes new look, advertisers, programming

Ion Television is set to launch a rebranding campaign Monday, positioning itself as a general entertainment network as part of an effort to attract younger viewers.

The campaign, which carries the tag line "Positively Entertaining," includes a new look, logo and Web site along with new advertisers and distributors. It comes on the heels of a slew of off-net series acquisitions for the network once associated primarily with "Mama's Family" and "Diagnosis: Murder" reruns. In recent months, the network has acquired rights to more contemporary series including "NCIS," "Ghost Whisperer," "Boston Legal" and "Criminal Minds."

"We've been pursuing new programming to add to the schedule and really felt this was the right time to reposition the network as a general entertainment network," chief marketing officer Eleo Hensleigh said. "We felt this would give us the opportunity to offer a broader array of programming and that we could take that moment in time to give the network a makeover."

Hensleigh said the network is focusing in on the adults 25-54 demo and is starting to bring in younger viewers already "because we're phasing out some of our older-skewing programs." She said the newly acquired series "have a track record with that audience."

"The idea is to lay the foundation, with this new programming and new look, that we can bring in additional viewers and add more programming," Hensleigh said. "And we'll look to continue to add more diversified content."

Asked if that might include more original programming beyond the movies and minis that Ion currently airs, Hensleigh said: "That's the goal."

Also new to Ion this fall are several new advertisers, including Honda, Walgreens, Western Union, Expedia.com, Hotels.com, Edward Jones and Red Lobster.

In addition, the network has inked new distribution deals along with new rollouts by distributors including Comcast that will put it in more than 94 million homes.

Meanwhile, the revamped Web site will include features such as streaming video, interactive games, video mash-ups, cast/show information, show trivia, forums and blogs.
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