UPDATED: Fox International Channels’ Liz Dolan and Corina Capuano will share more insights from the FIC rebrand at PromaxBDA: The Conference 2015. See them on Wednesday, June 10 at 2:30 p.m. at the JW Marriott at L.A. LIVE.
ORIGINAL POST: Feb. 9, 2015:
Fox International Channels, the TV group that handles all Fox fare outside the U.S., currently covers 126 countries, providing 244 million homes with television content in 33 languages.
But just a few years ago, that kind of brand power was not quite enough for CMO Liz Dolan and her team, who, quite simply, “wanted to be the No. 1 entertainment channel in the world.”
So to reach that global scale before the rebrand kicked off with The Walking Dead’s midseason premiere Feb. 9, Fox International Channels (FIC) started to expand. The idea was to take 2013-14 to solidify a Fox channel in every region so that eventually, the network group would be ready to consolidate all of its channels around the world under one strategic and creative umbrella, each able to evoke one brand message to worldwide viewers no matter where they lived. This was the part of the plan Dolan calls “making Fox bigger, better, stronger.”
Before the rebranding process even began, FIC launched a Fox entertainment channel in any region where they had none. Some countries, for example, had a Fox Crime of FX, but no Fox, so FIC changed that. “Two years ago, that was the first step – get enough channels in place for the scale,” said Dolan. “We went from about 120 million viewers to over 200 million just by doing that.” FIC has increased that number already, with Fox International in up to 244 million homes worldwide.
The next step was to send a message to television creators that FIC was the place to be. Fox International began acquiring some of the top shows on television and ramping up its strategy of day-and-date launches for its biggest shows like The Walking Dead in order to support the upcoming rebrand it was planning for.
“This part is not about a graphics package,” said Dolan, “it’s about making sure you have the day-and-date launches to support that positioning. We want to make sure that both viewers and creators in TV know that if you want an international platform for your show, we are the best platform to come to. We will give you the biggest, baddest launch pad in the world.”
FIC’s day-and-date launches, which it will continue with this May’s Wayward Pines, has worked wonders for the network group and is a big part of its success of the past five years. The first try at this strategy was with The Walking Dead five years ago, premiering the show within a 24-hour window of its U.S. debut. Since then, they’ve seen huge numbers with American Horror Story, Da Vinci’s Demons and the 24 return.
Dolan says that this plan has worked for TV producers because it gave them the biggest and most comprehensive launch for a show around the world, but it also appealed to consumers by getting them their favorite content more quickly (and legally). Wayward Pines will be the next launch, and Dolan says that FIC is planning at least one more of these types of premieres per quarter for the next year.
So now that Fox International Channels had the scale it wanted and the content to support it, the rebrand was underway. The theme of the new on-air creative fell under the idea of “big event television.” LED lights put the spotlight on high-quality, can’t-miss shows, while they also pay homage to the searchlights of its 20th Century Fox past.
FIC also elevated the Fox name, often quite literally, putting it front and center in a majority of the branding. “We are not subtle with the name,” said Dolan. “We want people to know they’re watching Fox.”
But the other part of promoting the Fox name was juxtaposing FIC with its top-tier programming, integrating the channel brand identity with each show brand identity. “Our channel should be synonymous with our top shows,” said Dolan. “When people think of The Walking Dead, they think of us. Think of 24? Think of Fox.”
The color palette also changes per genre and per show, so The Walking Dead might look a bit different than a comedy like New Girl or an animated show like The Simpsons.
The toolkit, which is extensive in order to cover all regions and all of its local programming as well, is incredibly flexible, offering for more local creative freedom than the old look that was largely focused on an orange background with the logo.
The rebrand launched along with The Walking Dead’s midseason premiere, which is also the extent of the consumer awareness campaign for FIC’s rebrand. Dolan says there was a conscious effort not to overtly tell viewers that the look and feel of its channels were about to change in order to keep the focus on the content, not the color palette they might see during ad breaks. “We want the countdown to be for The Walking Dead – people are tuning in to The Walking Dead, not a rebrand,” said Dolan.
The on-air component was assisted by a social media consolidation as well, taking all of the locally run Fox International Facebook pages and converting the information to the new global brand (similar to what the company did for its National Geographic brands last year).
Fox International Channels now has more than 18 million fans on its global Facebook page, where everyone sees the same brand messaging but with specific tune-in information according to the market. Facebook has been the major focus for this part of the rebrand, but other social pages like Twitter and Instagram will follow later this year.
Liz Dolan, CMO, FOX International Channels
Corina Capuano, VP Creative, FOX International Channels
Juan Cionci, Creative Director, FOX International Channels
Mariano Barreiro, Branding Director, FOX International Channels
Rodrigo Bujan, Digital Manager, FOX International Channels
Agency: Doblege (Handled affiliate TV campaign)
Agency: Nicolas Benedict (Handled print campaign)
Digital Agency: Insite Latin America
Animation: Super Estudio