Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Sci Fi Channel tries to hide from nerds by using "Sy Fy" alias

Oh, Sci Fi Channel, how can I be shocked at anything you do? You give me "Manticore." You give me "Kaw." And yet, I still manage to feel shock at the fact that you've changed your name to "Sy Fy" in an effort to make people think you're not a sci-fi channel. Because apparently "sy fy" stands for "syence fyction" which is not at all like "science fiction." Phew, now they won't attract all those geeks and losers who gave them their best year ever in 2008. Here's what the guy who helped launch the channel says:

“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. “We spent a lot of time in the ’90s trying to distance the network from science fiction, which is largely why it’s called Sci Fi,” Mr. Brooks said. “It’s somewhat cooler and better than the name ‘Science Fiction.’ But even the name Sci Fi is limiting.”

Wow, talk about a lack of respect for your audience. Added the Sci Fi/SyFy president:

“What we love about this is we hopefully get the best of both worlds,” Mr. Howe said. “We’ll get the heritage and the track record of success, and we’ll build off of that to build a broader, more open and accessible and relatable and human-friendly brand.”

It's the "more...human-friendly brand" that really makes it art. Wow, dudes, seriously, I hope you enjoy the rating downturn when "Battlestar" goes off the air. I've really never seen a crappier roll-out of a new brand. Hey, let's insult our current viewers while changing our name and doing nothing substantial to attract the new audience to replace the ones we've just mocked. I'm pretty sure this is how those Google people got rich.

What do you think of the change?

18 comments:

~k said...

read an article yesterday regarding this...they kept claiming that it was a branding issue, and that they were changing the name because they couldn't trade mark "Sci Fi". So...wow, you are gonna make upset your core audience so you can trademark a "new" name. Is this pure genius? I think not.

Ms. Meg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ms. Meg said...

Are they trying to attract the college radical feminist viewership by appropriating the "WOMYN" approach to spelling?

If so: well done, SY FY! The letter I has nothing to do with your sense of self! You don't need an I to be a full person! Get your laws off my interspace!

Lissy said...

... wtf?

Black Eyed Gurl said...

I enjoy all the talk of "Human" this and that. Cos I am sure a lot of aliens are watching Wyvern.

Ironically, I know WAY more women who watch the Sci Fi channel regularly than guys. Also none of us are socially retarded. We just like what we like (which would be BSG and Ghost Hunters).

Wow, I think SyFy could write a book called how to piss off and alienate (oh puns!) your core audience.

Alicia said...

scyfy = fail

Camera Obscura said...

Next thing you know, they'll be changing their name to "O SyFy!" or "LyfTym" or some such. *rolls eyes*

Sarah Blue said...

Oh my goodness. What kind of idiot did they hire? Was he the jock in school who would have flunked out except some sci-fi geek helped him out? Really. What are they thinking?

RedCochina said...

The rollout of this new name is so awkward and clumsy, I'm thinking these guys really are huge geeks, cluelessly delivering what might have been a good idea but explaining it all wrong. I don't mind the change 'cause, what's in a name? They want to appeal to more viewers...nothing wrong with that. But insulting your core audience is probably not the way to go. (Plus, the "female audience" knows how to spell and will not be fooled by the substitution of "y" for "i". Thanks for the lack of confidence, though.)

KaOs said...

This is New Coke all the way (and mind-bogglingly insulting to women). Hopefully they will quickly fire the idiot(s) responsible, air an apology, and follow that with a weeklong BSG marathon.

If they want to widen their viewership, they need to air better programming. Look at what HBO did a decade ago with Sex and the City and The Sopranos, or what AMC is doing now with Mad Men and Breaking Bad.

Spike said...

Only marginally better than the old SciFi chick in plether that used to booosom heave and breathe announcements inbetween shows.

feh.

The most dangerous night on TV?

blech.

crone51 said...

I hate absolutely everything that man said. Creep.

I will pretend, after BSG, that this stupid network doesn't exist. Fie upon them!!!

Oh wait, there's Caprica coming, and the occasional Dr. Who... so perhaps not a full fie will be dealt. But very possibly a pox.

T said...

As a female living in Manhattan, I didn't realize I was an antisocial boy in my basement with videogames and stuff. Thanks for clearing that up, SciFi. I mean SYFY.

Just to get back, I'm pronouncing those "Ys" as a consonantal.

darcgothic said...

My sentiments about "Battlestar" exactly. I don't hold high hopes for Caprica...but even so...yes, please destroy the English language even more in the eyes of school-age children so they continue to grow up with mixed messages about the importance of spelling over marketing.

Mark Edward Attew said...

Oh, and like Dr. Who has anything to do with the SciFi Channel. Thank you, BBC.

Elimare said...

Warren Ellis commented on his blog a couple of days ago that some Polish readers told him 'syfy' means or is similar to 'zits', 'filthy' or 'scum'.

crone51 said...

Mark, true true.... Sci Fi has been showing Dr. Who before BBCA does though so I still may have to drop in on this abomination known as syfy occasionally. Or I could employ other methods. Curse Syfy and their stupid ghost hunter show ( "ooooh... I turned off the lights and heard a noise! Must be paranormal!").

agent57 said...

“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,”

Dear whatever-you-decide-to-call-yourself... who else do you think will have the time to watch your programming all day? Also, as a female, I'm insulted by the insinuation that our sex can't also be antisocial basement dwellers!

But seriously, I don't see how this is going to help, or trick people uninterested in spaceships into watching these shows. And as far as "they don’t think it’s science fiction; they think it’s a good movie." goes, you can't really use that analogy until you have good movies, which means putting more work into "Wyvvern!" or whatever instead of just giving it a cooler name.

(I have to protest the last comment, though. Ghost Hunters is a great show! Aside from my having a crush on Jason, Grant, and ghosts in general... they actually try to find reasons for any strange activity they come across, and anything they can't disprove seems spookier for it. They're much better than 90% of the ghost shows out there, who will freak out at every speck of dust... oh, sorry, "spirit orb".)