Micheal Cobley

Interstellar Tactics




SciFi or SyFy – A Masterclass In Dumbing Down

I have to say that this one is a doozy, a diamond triple-A example of how the tasteless marketing mavens who run our mass media can rip off their own covers, revealing their dead-eyed souls, with just a few words.

The Sci-Fi Channel, well-known cable purveyor of media SF, has decided to rebrand itself in order to – “distance the network from science fiction”, so sayeth the fatuous Tim Brooks, a TV historian (wow, what a intricate field that must be). For the full report, go here -


Then sit back and wonder and guess how much disposable income is spent by the SF fans, readers, DVD buyers etc etc, every week of every year, then ask yourself why you would attempt to rebrand a cable channel which is showing double-digit improvement in the teeth of a recession! More on that here -


There is a little-mentioned truism in media marketing which goes – ‘Nobody really knows anything’, ie nobody really knows what constitutes a hit, what clicks with the audience. So seems to me that turning the Sci Fi Channel into the Syfy Channel is just an exercise in banality by suits who know nothing but have a limitless contempt for the audience which has provided them with ratings and success. Mebbe they think that SyFy will be some corking great cash cow that will provide them with yachts and the usual high-gloss, gem-encrusted tat. To which I say, good luck with that.

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6 Comments already, do join in...

  1. Darren Says:

    March 18th, 2009 at 9:44 pm

    Next up: a report on how Sky Sports is rebranding as SkeiSpoortz so to remove an unfortunate associations with, er, sport – you know, the thing all their viewers tune in for.

    As for Tim Brooks’ explanation . . . well, if my mother was right, he’ll go blind if he keeps that up – just you see if he doesn’t!

  2. Jorg Says:

    March 19th, 2009 at 3:58 am

    I’ve always thought that the term Sci-Fi was rather poor anyway…Of course, I love speculative fiction and despise Sci-Fi channel, but I gather that is no tuncommon.

  3. rockitboy Says:

    March 19th, 2009 at 11:38 am

    For quite a while the term ‘scifi’ put my teeth on edge, but I`ve gotten used to it – it at least has a denotative connection with the term Science Fiction, being a contraction of it. Whereas SyFy is some kind of phonetic analogue which the channel’s marketing droids hope to push under different, more profitable connotations. Which is just another aspect of the abyssal contempt which advertisers and marketing execs have for the public and its communities.

  4. Qatux Says:

    March 19th, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    Tim Brooks already has his wish. How much actual Science Fiction is there on ‘his’ channel – that he and his friends have reduced to banality.

    One thing I’ve learned, it doesn’t matter how much fans take a channel, program, site or movie series to heart, they don’t own it. And there’s nothing to stop an ‘owner’ or ‘new owner’ from committing commercial suicide and wrecking it. Eg. Firefly.

    That said, maybe we are too geeky. I just found out it costs £50 just to attend Eastercon in Bradford (UK). Nuff said?

  5. rockitboy Says:

    March 19th, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    “And there’s nothing to stop an ‘owner’ or ‘new owner’ from committing commercial suicide and wrecking it.”

    Exactly. So much for the power of the market meeting demand. The invisible hand seemingly belongs to a not-so-invisible moron.

    Yeah, Eastercon, 50 semolians, but I’ll pay it just to have a convention experience which I hope will dull the memory of the awful one in Heathrow last year.

  6. Qatux Says:

    March 19th, 2009 at 5:52 pm

    “I’ll pay it just to have a convention experience which I hope will dull the memory of the awful one in Heathrow last year.”

    At least you can get a decent curry in Bradford ;-)

    I suppose I’d pay £50 if I was going to be there 3 days. But its guaranteed to stop people coming for an hour or 2 and taking a few pics – which would be me.

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