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This story first appeared in the August 3 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
The CW is getting a new look. Beginning in August, the younger-skewing network will debut a new tagline, “TV Now,” part of a larger image campaign. The refreshed look will be rolled out in on-air and in online spots as well as on billboards tied to The CW’s new fall fare, including Arrow, Emily Owens, M.D. and Beauty and the Beast.
“One of the things that we kept hearing was that this is a generation of people who say, ‘I know what I want, when I want it, how I want it, and I want it now,’ ” says CW executive vp marketing and digital programs Rick Haskins, the exec behind the network’s “Every Parent’s Nightmare” (Gossip Girl) and “Catch VD” (The Vampire Diaries) campaigns. “We wanted this to be emblematic of who we are for them, and we are TV now.” (In contrast to other recent rebrandings at Lifetime, Style and E!, The CW logo will remain.)
The campaign, which plays on apt descriptors like “provocative” and “seductive” in association with CW series, will replace the net’s years-old taglines: TV to “talk about,” “blog about” and “tweet about.” “Three years ago, TV to talk about was very emblematic of where we were,” Haskins says, noting that The CW, geared toward 18- to 34-year-olds, was an early adopter of social media, but other networks have since caught up.
The refresh, which began in October and included outside consultants, is a fitting push for a network that has struck deals with Netflix and Hulu in pursuit of its elusive demo under new president Mark Pedowitz. As The CW continues to invite its audience to other platforms, traditional viewing has taken a hit. According to Nielsen, The CW wrapped the recent TV season down 15 percent and 20 percent in total viewers and in the 18-to-34 demo, respectively.
“The story today is about the huge push to mobile and digital [platforms],” Haskins says, adding, “That doesn’t mean that we’re moving away from social media; we’re just doing it in a more subtle way because it is now a foregone conclusion.”
As part of its rebrand, “TV Now” will appear onscreen during CW shows this fall and be incorporated into taglines promoting such shows as The Vampire Diaries, above, and Hart of Dixie.