A+E Networks this summer is rebranding its Bio channel as FYI, a network “defined by the world we live in today,” according to incoming president Jana Bennett. Presumably this is distinct from the “aspirational” look of lifestlye cablers like Bravo and Oxygen without going the full do-it-yourself route; no programming was announced along with the rebrand but expect to hear plenty from the network in the near future.
“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,” said A+E president and CEO Nancy Dubuc, by way of announcing the change. “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.”
Bio has been more or less fallow in recent months; the network played little part in A+E’s last upfront presentation as the focus was on major upcoming projects for Lifetime, History and flagship network A&E. At 12 cents a head, the niche net’s sub fee is less than half the industry average; if nothing else, the new look could help FYI boost its affiliate revenues.
Now that the three main networks have refocused brand identities (and enough synergy to muster the occasional collaborative effort), it’s time to goose Bio/FYI’s ratings. Year to date, the channel is averaging a meager 91,000 adults 25-54 in prime, representing a fraction of what A&E (716,000) and History (703,000) managed over the same period.
“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,” said Bennett. “Gone are the days where consumers are looking for experts to instruct them how to live.”
Bennett is now president of both Bio and LMN—and if the reboot is successful, it’s hard not to wonder if the time might come for LMN to get a facelift, as well. Through Dec. 9, LMN is averaging 181,000 adults 25-54, down 22 percent versus the year-ago period.