Rogers Media plans to rebrand its specialty TV channel FX Canada as FX, a move one senior executive says will allow the three-and-a-half-year-old service to be more closely aligned with its U.S. sibling. Sister station FXX is unaffected by the change.
Hayden Mindell, Rogers’ vice-president of television programming and content, said the rebrand is intended to eliminate any confusion about programming on the U.S. and Canadian services, particularly as Canadian viewers increasingly encounter information about FX shows on U.S. blogs or in U.S. magazines.
“Information has no borders, and discussions about great programming like the series coming out of FX are not limited to Canada, they are global,” said Mindell. “To remain competitive in this environment, we need to be day and date with our partners in the U.S., and we need to make information on where and when to find our series as easy as possible for our viewers.
“This rebrand helps to clarify and simplify the message, so that when people read about our series in traditional media or online, or hear about them through social…there’s no confusion,” said Mindell.
FX has become one of Canada’s top 10 non-sports specialty services since its October 2011 debut. Mindell said the past year has produced “incredible growth” with the addition of several high-profile series including Fargo and The Strain.
According to the most recent CRTC statistics, FX’s subscriber base grew 167% between 2012 and 2013. That growth is expected to continue with Bell recently adding the service to its satellite and Fibe TV lineup, said Mindell.
According to recent Numeris ratings, FX has seen total year-over-year audience growth of 18%, with 30% growth amongst the key 25-54 demo. Prime time audiences are up 5% among 2+ viewers and 17% for the 25-54 demo. Excluding sports services, FX is now ranked 8th among Canadian specialty services.
American Horror Story was the most-watched digital specialty series of the fall, averaging 157,000 viewers 2+, while vampire series The Strain was the fourth most-watched specialty series, with an AMA of 113,000 people 2+.
This year will see the addition of new shows including The Comedians starring Billy Crystal, Dennis Leary’s Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll and a true crime anthology series from Ryan Murphy (American Horror Story, Nip/Tuck) called American Crime Story.
The rebrand won’t be accompanied by a widespread marketing campaign, although Mindell said it would be reflected on all of Rogers’ on and offline platforms. Mindell said that the service would continue to have a “distinct voice” as FX Canada on its app and Twitter profiles, in order to “speak directly” to Canadian audiences.
“This change allows advertisers in Canada to associate their brands with FX and FXX’s great content, the same content advertisers in the U.S. are capitalizing on,” said Kamaldi Badlu, senior director, specialty and entertainment for Rogers Media. FX attracted $1.9 million in national advertising in 2013, the last year for which information is available, according to the CRTC.