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Frak: Sci-Fi Relaunches as Syfy

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Much to the consternation and some amount of ridicule from the fans, NBC Universal-owned cable channel Sci-Fi has gone Syfy. Yes, that’s the name of the new brand that launched today, on the networks and online. The renaming is a bid for something more memorable than the generic Sci-Fi branding (something it can trademark) and its hope that it can broaden the user base beyond the coterie of geeks and fanboys, so to speak. The company CEO Dave Howe calls it “broader range of imagination-based entertainment”, which means coverage of entertainment, consumer electronics and gaming.

On the online side, the channel has done a lot previously, including webisodes and spinoff sites, including gaming blog Fidgit and gadget blog Dvice. Its Sci-Fi Wire blog/newsletter will retain the branding. Last year Syfy tied up with Trion World Network to produce a massively multiplayer online game, with more casual games coming down the line as well. The company says it gets about 5 million uniques an month online, and its streaming shows/videos has increased 250 percent over last year, according to this Wired story. Some of its rebranding promotion efforts, here and here.

4 Responses to “Frak: Sci-Fi Relaunches as Syfy”

  1. Tameka Kee

    I just think this is a poorly thought out change. The spelling looks like syphilis … and it just seems silly. The SciFi brand, though "generic" was less marginal than Syfy, IMHO.

  2. Jamie Poitra

    I gotta admit I think that the rebranding is incredibly goofy. I had not heard the trademark argument though which makes more sense. The idea that being called Sci-Fi is really a problem with today's audience though is ridiculous considering the biggest movies and TV shows these days are all basically "Sci-Fi" in one form or another.

  3. Shane Lundy

    Ruport, if you think the subscription model will work in the social media space, you are in for an unpleasant surprise. Sure, MySpace, Facebook and Friendster have a great value proposition with huge audiences, however only a small % will be willing to subscribe to new enhanced features. If you are thinking about taking existing free services and converting them to subscription, that would be the kiss of death.

    I believe you should look at micropayments the way that SponsorSelect does. Simply ask the user to select who they want to sponsor their experience. This actually works for the advertiser and consumers are willing to do this. We would love to help!

    Shane Lundy
    President & CEO