From the New York Times comes news that the US Sci Fi Channel, aka Sci Fi, is changing its name to “SyFy”. The change will be extensive when it occurs:
Plans call for Sci Fi and its companion Web site (scifi.com) to morph into the oddly spelled Syfy — pronounced the same as “Sci Fi” — on July 7. The new name will be accompanied by the slogan “Imagine Greater,” which replaces a logo featuring a stylized version of Saturn.
According to the article, the network, which is owned by NBC Universal, a unit of General Electric, wants a name it can own:
One big advantage of the name change, the executives say, is that Sci Fi is vague — so generic, in fact, that it could not be trademarked. Syfy, with its unusual spelling, can be, which is also why diapers are called Luvs, an online video Web site is called Joost and a toothpaste is called Gleem.
But the main reason for the change is to make it clear they are not “simply” a network of science fiction programming:
“If you ask people their default perceptions of Sci Fi, they list space, aliens and the future,” he added. “That didn’t capture the full landscape of fantasy entertainment: the paranormal, the supernatural, action and adventure, superheroes.”
That became more important as Sci Fi expanded its program offerings into those realms, Mr. Howe said, with series like “Destination Truth” and “Ghost Hunters.”
And a shorter, more memorable name is more readily “attached to new businesses,” he added, like movies, video games, mobile content and additional channels overseas.
The change is the result of an apparently large effort involving market research and the help of a brand identity consultancy. The article also has interesting statistics about the network:
According to SNL Kagan, a media research company, Sci Fi had 95.2 million subscriber households last year, compared with 93 million in 2007 and 88.2 million in 2006. SNL Kagan estimated ad revenue for Sci Fi at $423.9 million last year, compared with $392.7 million in 2007 and $394.6 million in 2006.
Ad revenue is likely to be lower in 2009 due to the recession, but is expected to rebound in 2010.
Meanwhile watch for SyFy to roll out its new branding between now and July 7!
Thanks to wraithfodder for the tip!