A rare lackluster-performance channel at A+E Networks, BIO Channel, is getting an overall facelift: a new name, direction and viewer focus: BIO will become FYI.
FYI, to be launched in the summer of 2014, will be a “contemporary lifestyle network reflecting how people actually live their lives today,” per the company. Jana Bennett, who is president of Lifetime Movie Network, will oversee the new network with the title of president.
Nancy Dubuc, president/chief executive officer of A+E Networks, stated: “FYI will be an upscale network with a younger and more modern sensibility than what we’ve seen on traditional lifestyle networks,” noting that it appeals to “an audience that has been underserved on linear but thrives online.”
Current viewership readings have shown weak results for BIO. This past November, BIO sank 29% in overall total day viewership to 177,000 viewers, and was down 30% to 186,000 in prime-time viewership. BIO Channel has just over 68 million U.S. TV subscribers.
The older-skewing BIO channel started up in 1999 as The Biography Channel, which based much of its programming around the long-running“Biography” TV series. It also ran off-network drama shows such as “Murder, She Wrote.” Unlike BIO, A+E Networks has seen much success with its two top channels — A&E and History — which have both pushed into the top rankings of all cable networks in terms of viewership metrics.
For FYI, A+E Networks says there is active development on more than 30 potential new series. The company also says that while the BIO channel will be rebranded, the BIO brand will continue to exist on various platforms throughout the United States.
by Wayne Friedman