The blog of a Sci-Fi Geek

Sat 17 April , 10

What’s in a Name?

Quite a lot it would seem.

In 1991 Mitch Rubenstein, Laurie Silvers and Isaac Asimov pitched an idea to a room full of SF writers at the Science Fiction Writers of America annual meeting.
The idea was a simple one; a 24-hour cable TV network dedicated to science fiction. The channel would be called Sci Fi Channel.
The idea apparently didn’t go down too well, with some of the writers in the room arguing that the term “Sci Fi” is derogatory to the SF genre. It was pointed out to the room that if the channel was called SF Channel people would think it was a channel about San Francisco.
Mitch Rubenstein was booed off-stage.
Isaac Asimov then started to speak and explained that the channel had to be called Sci Fi in order to “be in a financial position to acquire and produce the best programming. That’s really what counts, right?”.
Isaac spoke, and the room full of writers agreed.

Fast forward to now and we have a name change from ‘Sci Fi’ so SyFy.
What the what?!?
Yes, the Sci Fi Channel is no more, to be replaced with a new name that apparently makes no sense to anyone (well, apart from perhaps some misguided few from within Sci F… sorry, SyFy).

The new name (say it out loud) is phonetically identical to the old name, so why the change? Well, apparently it “positions the brand for future growth by creating an ownable trademark that can travel easily with consumers across new media and nonlinear digital platforms, new international channels and extend into new business ventures.“.

I think the key phrase in the above is “Creating an ownable trademark”, but that’s just the cynic in me.
Personally I don’t like the name change. It’s almost as if the channel is now wanting to distance itself from that which made it so popular in the first place.
I’ve come to refer to the channel as *sigh*fi.

Sources for this post :
Sci Fi Channel
Slice of SciFi
Hollywood Reporter


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