Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Encore Rebrands Some of Its Channels

If you are a subscriber to Encore, you may have noticed a change to some of the service's channels on 2 December.  Encore Drama, which aired dramatic films, has been replaced by Encore Black, which is meant to showcase programming for African Americans. Encore Love, which aired romance films, has been replaced by Encore Classic, which is meant to showcase programming for Baby Boomers. Encore's other channels are more or less remaining the same, although Encore Español is being moved to a lower tier as well as seeing its programming expanded to include telenovelas. A horror movie bloc called "The Graveyard Shift" is being added to Encore Suspense and will air on week nights at 8:00 PM Central.

This is not the first time Encore has rebranded its channels. Encore Drama had begun in 1997 as True Stories & Drama. In 1997 it became simply True Stories and then in 2005 it became Encore Drama. Encore Suspense had started as Mystery in 1997 and was renamed Encore Mystery in 2005. In 2011 it became Encore Suspense. Encore Family had started out as WAM! and was given its current name in 2011. Of course, what sets much of Encore's earlier rebranding apart from this recent rebranding is that for the most part the programming of the channels really didn't change. Indeed, Encore Suspense pretty much shows the same things that Encore Mystery did. This recent rebranding is seeing two channels change entirely to the point that it's hard to say they are really still the same channels.

Speaking as an Encore subscriber, I have very mixed feelings about the rebranding. I think the idea of Encore Black is admirable and I think there is a need for programming for African Americans. That having been said, I have to question some of what they are programming on Encore Black. Quite simply, I have always thought the TV show Diff'rent Strokes was a tad bit racist. In addition to questioning some of the programming choices for Encore Black, I also have to say that I would have preferred they had added it as a new channel rather than replacing Encore Drama with it. I did not watch Encore Drama nearly as often as I do Encore Suspense or Encore Westerns, but I did watch it and I enjoyed it very much. I know that I am going to miss it.

While I will miss Encore Drama, I can't say the same about Encore Love. It was probably the Encore channel I watched the least. That having been said, I think the name "Encore Classic" is very misleading. When I first read the words "Encore Classic" I thought it was going to be Encore's equivalent of Turner Classic Movies. Instead, it is simply their channel for Baby Boomers and airs films like The Amityville Horror, Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, and Elf. These are films I think even the least discerning movie viewer would not think of as "classic". They really should have called it something else entirely. At any rate, even if I was a Baby Boomer, I cannot say that I would watch the channel given what they are currently airing.

At any rate, it is difficult to say how well Encore's most recent rebranding of channels will go. I know of at least one person who is not happy they did away with Encore Drama. As for myself, I am dismayed that Encore "Classic" is nothing of the sort (couldn't they have called it something else). I have no idea what other Encore subscribers might think of the changes. In the end I suppose it will only matter if a large number of subscribers get upset and unsubscribe from Encore or the new channels simply get no viewers at all (which I think might be possible for Encore "Classic").

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