The Sci-Fi Channel Changes Its Identity

Published 6 years ago by , Updated April 8th, 2012 at 10:51 am,

syfy p The Sci Fi Channel Changes Its Identity

SyFy, “Imagine Greater.” Sci-Fi, imagine intelligent!?

It’s never good to change your brand name on the same day a critic is having a really bad day. And this news isn’t helping at all.

I don’t know what they were smoking or drinking, but it must be pretty good sh** and I need some. The Sci-Fi Channel is looking to change its image so that it will be more appealing to a broader viewing audience, hence, a broader advertising market. So they’re changing their name to something snazzier (they think) and are announcing their new network name:


Oooh, catchy. LOL – not. At least not to me.

Their hope is to come out of one of the best years they’ve ever had (I suspect due to Battlestar Galactica and Ghost Hunters), turn their back on their core audience and try to capture a broader audience, because heck, apparently science fiction isn’t cutting it for them anymore. And my guess is that wrestling isn’t all that big either on their network or we’d probably see more nights of it.

Sorry, back on track: They’re looking for what they refer to as an “umbrella brand” so that they can latch on to new businesses, specifically “Sci Fi games and Sci Fi kids,” but the term Sci Fi is already used, too common of a name and I think they feel, too restrictive. They also can’t own Sci Fi, while they can indeed own SyFy.

For me, I’m thinking the name Sci Fi Channel did them good for 16 years but they’re looking to broaden their horizons and look to market to kids who like sci fi games on top of all the sci fi programming.

With that in mind, they’re working on a TV series that will be tied into a game. A subscription-based, multiplayer online game and a television series.

They worked with a brand consultant company called Landor Associates and they felt that of the 300 possible names, this was the best one.

Wow, I’d hate to see the other 299 options.

The name change will take affect on July 7th. The same day their dramedy, Warehouse 13 is premiering. I have to wonder if this isn’t the show tied into the game because they felt it was important enough to pitch Warehouse 13 in the same breath, saying that the show is emblematic of the network’s choice of name. On top of that, Warehouse 13, they claim, is like Indiana Jones meets Moonlighting meets The X-Files, and that the show “…is a very accessible, relatable, fun show.” OK, so referencing key popular movies and shows is going to help, huh?

In case you haven’t caught my drift, I’m not in love with this endeavor they’ve landed on us.

As I pondered this new name change, I was wondering about a website that has had that name for a very long time, SyFy Portal. Hmm, I went over there and it’s no longer called that, but instead, it’s called Airlock Alpha. WTH!? Did someone just make a ton of money because they had a monicker that NBC wanted? That would be cool. Vic! Let’s pitch our site name to The CW… tell them they want to make a new network name that captures the feel of… oh, I can’t do it. It’s just too preposterous.

As it turns out, as Airlock Alpha says, NBCU had an internal marketing team develop the name. (Or cruise the web and say, “Hey!”) and then Quantum Global Media Inc. rebranded SyFy Portal to Airlock Alpha and the “Syfy” brand was sold to an undisclosed entity.

Wow… it’s nice to have a simple, direct and to the point site name, much like Screen Rant. Do you remember when the holder of the domain name made $7 million because someone else wanted it?

I can feel your discomfort with this whole process and don’t worry, you are not alone. Lots and lots of people feel the same way.

As for us out here on the internet, now we have to create a whole new tag, category, keyword lists… oh the list goes on. Hey, maybe it’s not the internet anymore. It’s NetWord… Imagine Typing!

Sources: TV Week, Airlock Alpha

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  1. This smacks of desperation and an attempt to distract the audience that 90 percent of their programming ranges from the mediocre to utter crap. I’m not even a BSG fan. The only show I had left on Sci-fi (or syfy, dur..) was Eureka, and they hide it very well, that is if it’s even still in production. Haven’t seen an episode since what seems like forever.

    For a channel with that label, it shows remarkably little in the way of actual science fiction. Can’t USA network take them over? At least they seem to know a little about original programming. Psych is one of my current favorite programs.

  2. Hey jerseycajun: Eureka is coming back. Sci-fi has said as much but has never committed to telling the fans when exactly the show will air. Nice huh?

  3. I’m a little off put by the minor format change, but none of the other stuff mentioned here bothers me at all. It makes sense that they would want to own their name so I get the name change. It’s a little lame, but not that big a deal. Also none of the selling of domain names is a big deal. It’s not our money so why care?

  4. gotta agree with ya jerseycajun. About the only thing I watch on the SF channel these days are Eureka and Twilight Zone and Outer Limits reruns. Their schedule is littered with horror/occult shows and monster of the week movie specials. If they wanted to attact a hard core devoted audience, how about doing something like making movies (or miniseries) from old SF classics that never made it to film or showing old SF movie nights once a week. Have celebrated authors and historians come on board to give us behind the scenes stuff, if any are still around. Devote some time to the actual genre itself.

    This channel started going downhill when they nailed Farscape and refused to pick up Firefly. It would seem to me that the rights to a lot of the older stuff would be available for peanuts and would have a broad appeal to people who love the genre.

    Interesting miniseries could be done on things like CJ Cherryh’s Cyteen, Glen Cook’s dark fantasy series The Black Company, Niven’s Ringworld, Brin’s Uplift Series, Azimov’s Foundation stories, Pournelle’s The Lost Legion, Piper’s Little Fuzzy or Timepolice stories, Zelazny’s Princes of Amber series. The genre is filled with great stories, large and small, just need someone with the wherewithall to bring it to the little screen. With the advantages in CGI and computer effects, more and more of these stories can be visualized.

    Hell these guys could even bring back a night of camp, by showing non-stop stuff like old star trek, the time tunnel, lost in space, or the invaders etc etc etc. Gotta be better than scare tactics.

  5. hmm. I wonder if this has something to do with having to change its url?

  6. Glad to see we’re all pretty much in agreement here.

    Ironic, isn’t it? That the channel with the most built-in potential at the outset ends up being one of the most poorly executed and worst managed networks on cable. Programming a science fiction channel should be a no-brainer.

    I saw the end of a werewolf made-for-sci-fi movie starring Kevin Sorbo last week, and it made Seltzer and Friedberg (Epic Movie, Meet the Spartans, Disaster Movie) look like David Lean. If they spent more than two bits on the whole production, I’d be deeply shocked. And that seems to be typical.

    Further irony: Meanwhile, another network that shouldn’t have had any chance at being consistently entertaining yet has been doing just that with innovation, personality, and imagination has been Food Network.

    Hey, Sci-Fi (or syfy), try finding some people with actual imaginations to run your network before putting that misleading network slogan up for all to see!

  7. I don’t see why people are making such a huge deal out of this. I mean all that’s really changing is the name. It stopped being complete sci fi Years ago. It’s never fit in to what it was suppose to and the programming for the most part has always been crap.

  8. @ Daniel F

    I guess it’s simply because like most of us hard core SF afficianadoes, we see what it could have been instead of what was delievered to us.

  9. Hey, it’s their prerogative. Just a bit irritating that they riding into the whole text-language trend by switching to Sy-fy.

  10. When is Eureka comming back? I want more, that is a funny show…

    and Syfy.. Lame…

  11. I was just on the SciFi site (as a result of this story) and the forums said late July was when Eureka was coming back.

    And yes, I think SyFy is silly.

  12. This is one awful idea.

    Okay so the channel can be trashy at the best of times, but has some fun programming too.

    Never could figure out how Emmanuel fit into sci fi but hey go figure.

    This can only mean that the channel will go downhill now then even more.

  13. Sci-Fi Channel execs are all former AIG employees.

  14. As long as I still get my saturday night fill of Sci-Fi movie cheese I’ll be satisfied.

    BTW all sarcasm meters should be turned on when reading above post.

  15. Wonder how this affects the UK’s Scifi channel. I’m not sure they are linked, a lot of shows they make over there end up on other channels over here.

    The name change seems ridiculous to me. I don’t see the average tv viewer falling for it and becoming a regular SyFy viewer.

  16. Like others I am not too thrilled with the name change. This is reminding me of when G4 (formerly TechTv, formerly G4/TechTV) changed their name and ‘slightly’ changed their programming, the network no longer resembles what it once was, a network about the latest and greatest technology, but rather chose to be an immature spawn of MTV.

  17. SyFy is lame but I see it as a way to trademark themselves to get as much cash as possible.
    Thanks for the update of Eureka, I was wondering when the hell is that show coming back!?!
    Concerned SciFi Geek, yeah G4 is a total waste now. I mean, Olivia Munn is a beauty and so is the chick on X-Play, but man, when did this thing get so messed up? When Brendan Moran and his wifey left the show, that truly was the last resemblence of what this channel was suppose to be! Is Sessler still even there, do they even talk about tech stuff?

  18. its obviously a good business decision.
    with the exception of battlestar galactica, there is not a single show on there that anyone knows unless your a scifi fan. their obviously not making the money they need, and have to cater to a bigger audience. a slew of crappy series, and a bunch of horrible movies arnt getting people to tune in…what a shocker.

    and g4…jeeez. like someone said, with the exception of aots and x-play the channel is absolute crap. (and really, would you really watch aots without olivia? doubtful)
    and dont forget there HUGE announcement last year, they literally counted the seconds down to the announcement…and what is? lost and heroes repeats. EXCITING now i can watch the show in crappy SD, thanks g4! I can watch it in better quality on! so called technology channel, and there still running in standard def.

  19. In the spirit of St Patty’s Day, I think this is a load of malarkey. Wtf is wrong with the name/brand of Sci-Fi?

    I’d be willing to bet this idea came from someone (or a team of someones) who has no idea what science fiction is…


  20. INK: Thank you for recognizing my source of angst and outlet!

    Honestly, I believe it came from the “reknown” Mr. Dave Howe, who heralds from the BBC. He has a pretty good track record of boosting his company.

    Back In January of 2008, I wrote a piece about Howe here on Screen Rant:

    He knows what he’s doing and it will probably work.

    There I said it… I’m sane and recognize the business move. But as a watcher of the channel, I’m confused why he wants to change my networks name.

    As INK said, as long as I get my dose of background sci fi, I mean SyFy noise on Saturday nights, we’re good.

    We’ll see how it goes. As I always say, “Time will be the telling factor.”

  21. “SciFi Original” has become a watchword for “utterly unwatchable CRAP” with _very very few_ exceptions (Farscape, BSG, Eureka/Degree-ka brought to you by Degree for Men). I don’t know why I expect anything good out of them. It seems anything good that they do is an absolute accident, and most of the time they work very hard to ‘correct’ said accidents.

    In talking with my brother about this he says “Sounds like a short form for a venereal disease”. Heh. Hehehehe.

  22. LOL

  23. They have definitely selected the wrong name…they should have picked a more accurate name for the channel….

    …..”The Sigh-Fi Channel” is much more appropriate.

    ….and as always….
    Have A Very Stargate Day!


  24. @Tim

    “SciFi Original” has become a watchword for “utterly unwatchable CRAP”

    ROFLMAO! :-D

    If we gave away a prize for best comment of the day, that would be the winner. :-P


  25. anyone remember what a completly lame job they did with The Andromeda Strain? yikes…..

    sorry guys, it’s just frustrating to see something labelled one way to find that the ingredients inside have no relationship to the label on the outside.

    Maybe they should simply rename the channel MoDeck, for Mostly Dreck. My apologies to the horrorfest and occult afficianadoes and those owning reptiles due for DNA mutation.

  26. Great, they’re trying to turn Sci-Fi into The CW. I can just see it now, Gossip Girl Mutants. LOL. Seriously though, what the heck was wrong with Sci-Fi Channel? I used to love that channel (and I can’t STAND BSG). SciFi Fridays were awesome with Dr. Who and Stargate. Now, I can’t even remember the last time I tuned into that channel because all it is now is utter garbage. Scare Tactics, Ghost Hunters, wrestling (seriously?) and those lame c-movies on Saturday nights have removed SciFi from my favorites list. Not to mention they don’t even have a Hi-Def version of their channel. Can you imagine how cool Dr. Who would look in Hi-Def?? For a channel that is supposed to be tech & hip, not being in Hi-Def is totally 20th Century. :P

  27. SyFy?
    Bad Idea.

  28. I just can’t keep titles like “Mansquito” out of my head whenever I think of the channel. I try, but I can’t. I think I need mental floss.

  29. LMAO… Now that’s frakking funny Tim!

    Wait until they come up with s sequel, no wait, a prequel: MamaSquito!!