Monday, March 16, 2009

Sci Fi Channel Doesn't Like "Sci Fi"

NBC Universal's popular (and growing) Sci Fi Channel has decided it's embarrassed by its name, and by its audience. Deciding that "sci fi" gives people images of "geeks and dysfunctional, antisocial boys in their basements" (in the words of one consultant) the cable channel is changing its name to Syfy, according to TV Week.

Their reasoning that "sci fi" turned off people who might otherwise like the content is ridiculous, considering the continued major gains in audiences and in critical accolades (just witness much of the critical laurels being thrown out for the reimagined Battlestar Galactica).

An interesting sidenote: There already was a syfyportal.com, but that's changed its name to the difficult to market airlockalpha.com.

All of this brings to mind a column I wrote for Internet World in 2000. In it, I mused about (and mocked, deservedly) the companies that changed their names from perfectly good ones to stupid ones. And the silliness continues. TV Week cites Sci Fi Channel President Dave Howe:

Mr. Howe said Sci Fi looks at its branding every couple of years. He added that when new executives join the network, they usually ask if it has ever thought about changing the name.


Seriously? What kind of person goes to apply for a job at Bank One, and then suggests that they change their name to something a little less "banky"? Does Sports Illustrated hire many editors who are embarrassed about the bad image of sports fans and suggest they change the name to Sprites Illuminated?

Just where do you hire these people?
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