Sci Fi/Syfy: “Get out of your parents’ basement!”
File this under WTF’ery? It’s not like I had a lot of love for Sci Fi channel after they canceled some of their best rated shows, added wrestling to the line-up and aired Sci Fi Original Movies* like Mansquito. But this move seems puzzling, even for them…
By changing the name to Syfy, which remains phonetically identical, the new brand broadens perceptions and embraces a wider range of current and future imagination-based entertainment beyond just the traditional sci-fi genre, including fantasy, supernatural, paranormal, reality, mystery, action and adventure. It also positions the brand for future growth by creating an ownable trademark that can travel easily with consumers across new media and nonlinear digital platforms, new international channels and extend into new business ventures.
Uh… what? This article clarifies their new position a bit better.
…there was always a sneaking suspicion that the name was holding the network back.
“The name Sci Fi has been associated with geeks and dysfunctional, antisocial boys in their basements with video games and stuff like that, as opposed to the general public and the female audience in particular,” said TV historian Tim Brooks, who helped launch Sci Fi Channel when he worked at USA Network.
Mr. Brooks said that when people who say they don’t like science fiction enjoy a film like Star Wars, they don’t think it’s science fiction; they think it’s a good movie.
Right, they just think it’s a “good movie” and clamp their hands over their ears singing “La la la la!” if you dare bring up the phrase science fiction. Are we really still stuck in the mid-80s with people horrified of being labeled a nerd? And it isn’t as if I’m not guilty of using the “it’s not really sci-fi, it just takes place in space” line to get people off the fence about Battlestar Galactica, but I’m sure that once they tuned into Sci Fi channel to watch it, my clever ruse was busted wide open.
It is amusing to me, however, to think that most people can’t go a day or so without e-mail or mobile phones, spend all day on Facebook playing games and sending pieces of flair, and proudly show off their geek bling in the form of the latest gadgets. But marketers still think that associating television shows with the term “nerd” will keep them from tuning in. What Sci Fi, sorry, Syfy doesn’t realize is that the geeks have already inherited the earth, it’s just that your programming sucks. 😈
* One of the most horrifying 4-word phrases currently in the English language.
** Never knew, but maybe could have guessed, that Judd Apatow wrote the ‘Get a Life’ SNL sketch.