To Sci Fi Or Not To SyFy? That Is The Question!

Posted: August 7, 2010 in Sports, TV & Movies
Tags: , , , , , ,

Is it always necessary to funk with a good thing?

As a writer and a fan of the Sci Fi channel – when it was spelled correctly – I can’t help but be annoyed whenever I see the new SyFy logo pop up on the screen. It’s not cool, just STUPID and reeks of texting shorthand. However, apparently there’s more to this “re-branding” than a simple case of poor spelyng; SyFy Channel President, David Howe, doesn’t like geeks.

Fellow writer, Brian, of the blog, Deepwell Bridge, had this to say in regards to the Sci Fi Channel’s 2009 decision:

SyFy must be trying to appeal to non-nerds… because nerds are the only people that know how to spell correctly.  And well because spelling was like so last century.

SyFy president Mr. Howe said it a bit more eloquently: “What we love about this is we hopefully get the best of both worlds.  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.”

Um… actually you’ve alienated the nerds and done nothing to your content that will grab any new viewers.  Perhaps a rerun of your most popular show Battlestar Galactica is in order, which, I might add, was running with millions of viewers even with your channel’s name spelled correctly.

– Brian, “A Nerd-Rage Rant! Subject: Spelling lessons,” July 23, 2010

So a wider audience, with less nerds?

According to the SyFy Channel Wiki page, additional reasons behind the change were because:

  1. Unlike the generic term “sci fi'” which represents the entire science fiction genre, the term “Syfy” can be protected by trademark and therefore would be easier to market.
  2. To help end confusion over how to capitalize and stylize their name.

Okay. I get the whole trademark deal. Vince McMahon over at World Wrestling Entertainment does the same thing; changing the names of his wrestlers (i.e Rhino becomes Rhyno and real name Harry Smith becomes David Hart Smith) to ensure it’s trademark friendly as well as to claim ownership over the name should they be tempted to leave for greener pastures (i.e. Hollywood, not TNA). However, Sci Fi, no matter how you spell it, clearly represents Science Fiction, a genre the channel seems to be moving away from, so I’m still confused. What’s the point of calling yourself SyFy, if your goal is to move away from that image? Because “Syfy” sounds less geeky than “Sci Fi?” Who the feck do you think you’re marketing to? Illiterates? What is so wrong with catering to a niche audience? It seems, much like Vince McMahon’s WWE which, over the years, has focused more on storylines than actual WRESTLING, Sci Fi has forgotten what brought them to the dance.

As with trademark, I can also appreciate the need to “re-brand” and expand your reach, but when you do so at the expense of your loyal fan base… and the English language… you could end up only hurting yourself – and your channel – in the long run.

  1. cala4lily says:

    I completely agree! I still refuse to spell it any other way then SciFi (stupid respelling). I also find I am not watching it as much as I used to since the content has changed. When they first made the change I kept calling it “see-fee” because it was just such a stupid change.

    • natinanorton says:

      Thanks for the feedback!

      I wouldn’t be surprised if a whole slew of former Sci Fi fans were changing the channel. They’ve slapped their loyal viewers in the face. Why they didn’t think there would be a backlash is beyond me.


  2. deepwellbridge says:

    I agree with everything you have said here. If the executives at the SyFy channel don’t want to cater to nerds then they should just make a new channel.

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