ABC Family hones page

Net retools site with broadband channel

ABC Family is beefing up its online presence as part of a multiplatform strategy it will present to advertisers Wednesday.

ABCFamily.com will relaunch this summer as a robust media site that includes a broadband channel, a digital networking hub not unlike MySpace.com, an interactive gaming area and downloadable shortform content (some of which will be unique to the Web site).

Redesign, part of Disney-ABC Television Group’s digital media multiplatform initiative, will be overseen by division exec VP Albert Cheng.

“ABC Family’s target audience hits the sweet spot of the digital lifestyle,” Cheng said. “With the incredibly high percentage of young adults using broadband, it makes perfect sense to evolve the definition of ABC Family beyond the television set and into a new hybrid channel not only with rich video content, but also with social networking capabilities.”

The broadband component, Watch, will offer streaming of full-length episodes of its original series as well as a feature that viewers can use to upload their own vids.

ABC Family president Paul Lee said providing a showcase for user-generated content is important as a branding tool: “My hope is that it will become a safe haven where ABC Family fans can upload their videos and share their stories about friends and family — two things we know our audience is deeply passionate about.”

Lee said the broadband channel also would serve as a testing ground or incubator for potential on-air fare. Cabler’s development team will mine material exclusively for the site and at the same time develop content that could move to the linear channel should it become popular online. Execs also are looking at several possible content acquisitions that would be available exclusively online.

“Our Web site will be a place where we can take risks with different kinds of content and have fun, but it will also be a great advertising-supported marketing tool,” Lee said. He credited upticks in “Wildfire” ratings to the availability of the show’s first season episodes on iTunes. “Everything we do online, or on other digital and wireless platforms, only helps to drive viewers to the main channel.”

ABCFamily.com will have a community space for profiles and message boards (Share); a gaming space that will first host a game related to upcoming summer drama “Kyle XY” (Play); a page for downloadable shortform content like trailers and behind-the-scenes content (Go); and a site for its holiday franchises (Celebrate).

This summer cabler will bow dramas “Kyle XY,” “Three Moons Over Milford” and event series “Fallen.”