Imagination Space: Sci Fi Channel morphs to SyFy channel
By April MacIntyre Mar 16, 2009, 14:26 GMT
Mr. Howe said changing the name to Syfy will make a difference. “It gives us a unique word and it gives us the opportunities to imbue it with the values and the perception that we want it to have,” he said. © Austin Gorum / PR Photos
Network president Dave Howe hoping the name change for his Sci Fi channel to “Syfy” will appeal to viewers.
The NBC Universal-owned network will roll out the name Syfy at the March 16 upfront presentation to advertisers in New York.
“What we love about this is we hopefully get the best of both worlds,” Mr. Howe said in a press release. “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.”
Thanks to new shows like "Estate of Panic", Sci Fi ranked 13th in total viewers among ad-supported cable networks in 2008. It’s a top-10 network in both adults 18 to 49 (up 4%) and adults 25 to 54 (up 6%).
The perception by insiders was that the name Sci Fi boxed the network in too much, and associated the channel with male geeks and freaks as opposed to the average viewer, and especially women.
Mr. Howe said changing the name to Syfy will make a difference. “It gives us a unique word and it gives us the opportunities to imbue it with the values and the perception that we want it to have,” he said.
With Executive Vice President, Original Programming Mark Stern in place, the channel has seen more competitive reality series and scripted miniseries and dramas air. "The Ghost Hunters" series has also performed well for the network too.
“We really do want to own the imagination space,” Mr. Howe said. “We want to get the credit for the range of content that we already have on our air and that we’ll be doing more of in the future.”
The network plans to make the changeover July 7, when it will launch the new series “Warehouse 13.”
The dramedy series, about a secret government facility in South Dakota where all mysterious relics and supernatural souvenirs are housed, is an example of how the channel’s programming is trending.
“It is a dramedy and it is set in the here and now. It’s a kind of an Indiana Jones meets ‘Moonlighting’ meets ‘The X-Files,’” Mr. Howe said. “This is a very accessible, relatable, fun show.”
The new campaign will use the slogan “Imagine Greater,” which Mr. Howe thinks will resonate with both consumers and media buyers.
Web site SciFi.com also will make the change to Syfy.com.
Sci Fi also will be unveiling some of its programming and development plans at its upfront.