DHX Media’s Family Channel has set the launch date for its teen-focused programming block F2N, and the Canadian broadcaster has launched a heavy promotional push behind the premiere of Degrassi: Next Class.
Starting January 4, the channel will air an episode of the new Degrassi series at 9 p.m. on weekdays, followed by one of seven shows from DHX and AwesomenessTV’s programming and licensing deal (Third Wheel, Guidance, Life After Friday, Arts Academy, Betch, LA Story and Let’s Be Honest) at 9:30 p.m.
The strategy behind the launch of a teen-targeted programming block was based on a desire to connect more fully with a certain demographic, rather than change the target audience of the channel, says Paul Cormack, marketing VP at DHX Media.
“We thought there was an opportunity to be more relevant to teens with some of the new programming. I wouldn’t say we’re aging up, but rather we’re augmenting the content on Family Channel with some programming that has some slightly older appeal,” says Cormack.
In addition to the launch of the F2N YouTube channel, Monday also marked the release of a five-minute trailer for new episodes of Degrassi: Next Class, which is being supported by a “significant” off-channel advertising buy, says Cormack. This will include a theatrical buy in which the Degrassi clip will screen in the trailers’ section for films targeting teens, such as The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Once Degrassi goes to air, the promotional focus will switch to the other seven shows on the F2N roster.
While the broad target for this programming block is 12- to 17-year-olds, according to Cormack, the content skews more toward a 13- to 15-year-old audience.
“There is a bit of a void in the marketplace for that 13-, 14- and 15-year-old [targeted] content that explores these real-life situations, but that isn’t so racy and salacious that it makes it inappropriate for them. So I think F2N really hits a niche,” he added.
In June, it was announced that the Degrassi franchise would morph into a new iteration just five days after the cancellation of its most recent 14-season run.
As well as the Degrassi sneak peek, the F2N.ca website also features trailers for F2N shows Guidance, Arts Academy and Cheerleaders.