Fox Networks Group Asia's female-targeted StarWorld entertainment channel, which launched in 1995, will rebrand as 'Fox Life' from 1 October in a bid to bring it more closely in line with the wider brand.
"StarWorld was and has been a channel that has sat on its own for many years and it's kind of been an island in terms of brand association," says Dean Dezius, VP of entertainment channels for Fox Hong Kong and Southeast Asia. "We decided to make the move to bring it into the Fox branded environment so that a channel like Fox Life can then access and build on an international and creative class that StarWorld was unable to do."
Fox Life, which currently reaches 15 countries across Asia and is available in 98 million homes here, will become part of a global portfolio. Its branch in Latin America already received the makeover earlier in the year, and a channel relaunch in Europe is also planned in coming months.
The channel's fresh name, logo and tagline ('Turn on'), will begin to be promoted across social media channels from the first of next month—but Dezius says the change will be more of an "evolution, rather than a revolution". While the group has not planned significant changes to the channel's output, new shows yet to be confirmed but scheduled for rollout in the next 12 months will start targeting a broader demographic than the channel has lately achieved as StarWorld.
"StarWorld fell into a little bit of a trap in recent years of being quite niche and young," says Dezius. "We will still speak to a female audience, but we want to broaden that female demographic beyond just a very young narrow end."
This means reaching a wider cross-section of women, but also providing content with 'co-viewing' opportunities too, he explains.
While the majority of shows on Fox Life will continue to be acquisitions, mainly US-bought programmes such as Empire, The Voice US and MasterChef, the new channel is also ambitious to start providing more locally produced—but still English-language—content, that will be more relevant to Asian audiences. Season 5 of Asia's Next Top Model, Dezius says, has already been a "great success" this year.
"It is certainly challenging to broadcast across a region where English isn't neccessarily the first language and in some countries it's not even the second language," he says. "But our remit is to be the best English-speaking channel across the region. We have stiff competition from channels like AXN and Warner Brothers, but we’ve got a very compelling offering that we believe sits at the heart of what our channel strives to be."