Typing Faster

April 29, 2010

How To Destroy A Brand In Four Simple Steps: SyFy Style

Filed under: Future of TV, HBO, Marketing, Stargate Universe, the biz — petertypingfaster @ 11:40 am

I’m a huge proponent of branding. As the media marketplace becomes more and more fragmented, the channels that are doing well tend to be those with very specific, memorable brands. Channels like HBO, USA and FX have all seen their numbers tick up in recent years precisely because they have strong brands. People know exactly what they’re going to get when they tune in to that channel.

A few years back I would of included The Sci Fi Channel in that list. You could turn on Sci Fi at any time of the day and the odds were great that you’d find an episode of Stargate to watch (or an episode of Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, or any number of other genre shows).

Not so much anymore.

It all started with a change in name. The Sci Fi Channel became SyFy. There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth. And the hits just keep on coming.

Presumably fulfilling its post-rebranding promise to “Imagine Greater,” the former Sci Fi Channel — now known as Syfy — has imagined its way right out of the niche that made the cable network.

Forget about space operas, tech dramas or B-movie monsters (except for “Mega Piranha” — never forget “Mega Piranha”), programming shake-ups reveal Syfy is ready to live up to its theme-less new name. If the recent announcement that “Top Chef” alum Marcel Vigneron would be joining the network for a cooking show called “Marcel’s Quantum Kitchen” wasn’t proof enough, Syfy’s acquisition of “Friday Night SmackDown” should be.

Cooking shows and Friday Night Wrestling. What the hell are they thinking?

Way to go guys. Way to go.



  1. I had seen Sci-Fi while in the states last – it was a brilliantly branded station. Then…you know…what with NBC and all.

    There is some thought that a “Quantum” kitchen might work. If it’s like Sci-fi mythbusters cooking-style I can see it working.

    The wrestling, though… I’ll never get the wrestling (nor will their key demo, so hollar).

    But we’ve done it here, more than a few times. It’s called “rebranding”, I hear. From the ashes comes… more ashes.

    Comment by Elize Morgan — April 29, 2010 @ 11:58 am

  2. I ranted about the name change and the tie in with WWE on my blog ( http://clintjohnson.com/2010/02/a-wrestling-reality-show-on-the-syfy-channel/ )- every time they become more unfocused they create less and less reason to tune in to them.

    The viewing world is moving toward a personalized “channel” where the viewer actually does the programming. With a PVR, I keep my eye out for pilots and if they catch my interest I set them up for “record all new episodes” and then promptly forget if it is ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX or the CW that carry them. The specialty channels were the ones that actually had an edge over the broadcasters in that if you are a fan of a particular genre or if you were in the mood for a historical or educational fix – then you knew that there was a channel that focused on just that item.

    Their focus made them a destination outside of any individual show they carried but now they are becoming just another dumping ground for cheap programming that holds no incentive for tuning in.

    Comment by Clint Johnson — April 29, 2010 @ 1:41 pm

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