Syfy: Aka, Sci Fi, the reboot

July 8, 2009

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So as of Tuesday, Sci Fi — formerly long ago known as the Sci-Fi Channel — is now officially called Syfy, in a rebranding effort that aims to ... well, I'm not sure. In a word: Dumb. In another word: Why? I'll let the corporate exec explain:

"Without abandoning our legacy or our core audience, we needed to cultivate a distinct point of view with a name that we could own that invites more people in and recognizes our broader range of programming with literally something for everyone. Syfy allows us to build on our 16-year heritage of success with a new brand built on the power that fuels our genre: the imagination. Syfy ushers in a new era of unlimited imagination, exceptional experiences and greater entertainment that paves the way for us to truly become a global lifestyle brand."

Sci Fi Syfy President Dave Howe (Source:

Please. Sound like a bunch of corporate mumbo-jumbo? Sure does to me. If you're going to change the name of your brand, then, well, actually change it. How does changing "Sci Fi" to "Syfy" tell anybody that you're different, broader, or offering "literally something for everyone"?

I read elsewhere that the main reason for this was that the company wanted to be able to copyright/trademark a term, and "Sci Fi" was too generic. By changing it to "Syfy," they have a more specific identity allowing better marketing potential. I wish they'd just said that, without a big line of BS about trying to be something for everybody and representing no boundary for imagination. To me, "Syfy" doesn't say "something for everybody" or "imagine greater"; it says, "out-of-touch corporate people trying to appear cool." Because, after all, spelling stuff wrong is the most awesome way to appear cool. I mean, kewl.

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14 comments on this post

    Agreed, especially with the spelling part. It's just really dumb and it's more of a blending of networks to make them boring and generic. I actually expect a CSI series to be on this channel in the near future. Either that, or because it's owned by NBC, probably a Law and Order.

    One other thing I was thinking reading your post. For some reason I'm getting a Demon (Star Trek Voyager Review, and one of your most infamous reviews on this entire site) Vibe from this whole thing. Kind of eerie.

    If they really wanted to increase ratings, they'd actually show quality programing and stop making one-word title movies about some monster menacing some place in the USA that always looks strangely like British Columbia.

    Hey, at least they didn't fill it with lots of X to try and be "cool" and "hip" and "appeal to generation X" like the whole world did a few years ago.

    Are we still on Generation X?

    Does this name-change mean we've moved onto Generation Y?

    Can't wait for Generation Z and then the roll-over to Generation A1

    I think SighFi would have been a better choice. I'm wondering if there will be anything worth watching on that network in a few months. I am keeping my fingers crossed for Stargate Universe, but other than that, Eureka is about the only show on that network that I can stomach anymore (and even that's not easy). I did catch the Warehouse 13 pilot a few days ago, and it wasn't bad, but I can see it getting repetitive in a hurry.

    I'm looking forward to Caprica. I thought the pilot was pretty good.

    > with a name that we could own

    Yeah, exactly.

    Ignore the rest; that one clause right there is the reason they're doing it.

    It's not so much that they didn't say it, even. They just added a bunch of other corporate crap to the announcement. :-(

    "literally something for everyone."

    Jack of all trades, master of none. Try to please everyone and you'll end up not really pleasing anyone. The Sci-Fi Channel was created to exploit a niche: shockingly enough, the science fiction niche.

    Trying to rebrand with a trademark-able name would be okay if the name they chose wasn't so stupid. SyFy? Yuk! How about Sae Phae? Capturing East Asian tones is a guaranteed route to success.

    I don't mind the name change, it just sounds retarded. But what else could they change it to that would try to keep their existing tv watching guys and bring in their new tv watching guys. Maybe, not unlike Jammers Reviews from St-Hypertext, non?
    Or not. ;)
    (I still type in to get here for some reason though! I wonder how many people still come here through that link.)

    I'm really tired of all these channels becoming so alike and bland. TechTV used to be awesome. G4 is just a mess except for 2 shows. SyFy will probably just add reruns of Cops or who knows what else that's on a zillion other channels.

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