Sigh. Fie.

Image1Have you noticed that the Sci-Fi channel has changed it’s name?

From Sci-Fi, the widely recognized short name for Science Fiction, they’ve changed it to SyFy. What does that mean?

Did people have a problem with Sci-Fi? Were they mispronouncing it as Skiffie?

Or is this a move away from being associated solely with Science Fiction? Now that they’re spending as much time with ultimate cage fighting, as they do actual Sci-Fi programming, maybe that’s the intention.

Well, I was curious what they had to say, so I checked their site – syfy.com – and here’s their explanation:

Although we love the name Sci Fi, because it’s a generic term, we can never own it. As the way people watch TV changes, that’s becoming a growing issue for us. When we started out 16 years ago, we had one cable network in the US and everyone watched TV live. By the end of 2009, we’ll be in 50 countries, our content will be distributed across dozens of new platforms – from Hulu and iTunes to mobile phones and game consoles – and a growing number of viewers no longer watch live.

That creates problems we’ve never had before, such as when a search for a “sci-fi show” might not turn up any results for a “Sci Fi show,” when we compete in other countries with another network that uses “sci-fi” in its title, and on the text-based menu systems used on many devices, where the name Sci Fi and the category “sci-fi” are indistinguishable. As we expand our brand into new areas such as gaming and technology, Syfy will also help people tell the difference between a game that we’re involved with and the hundreds of other sci-fi games out there that we’re not.

Syfy is also our way of getting our unique programming point of view across (see next answer). As you may have noticed, we’ve always aired shows that many people wouldn’t consider strictly science fiction: Fantasy, paranormal, etc. Syfy is a way to recognize that, and a way to make our programming more accessible to a broader audience.

The incredible possibilities that our new name unlock are extremely exciting. As imagination’s greatest enthusiasts, we’re thrilled to leave the beaten trail, experience the world from a new perspective, and begin a new journey. And by living this commitment to imagination, we know we’ll provide greater entertainment for our fans.

It seems like that is the way most ‘cable’ programmers are going. When did HBO stop being a ‘movie’ channel? Years ago. They want to be a network offering sports, news, and original programs. And they aren’t alone. Almost every other channel created to fill some niche specialty, now wants to be all things to all people.

You can call it ‘broader definition’ or ‘incredible possibilities’ but it still sounds like a dilution of it’s original target. Hugo Gernsback and John W. Campbell are spinning in their graves.

Posted in Rants, TV

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