And sometimes it’s not too hard to decipher the code at all

As you may have heard, SciFi have recently taken the decision to rebrand as SyFy.


Well, the word SciFi (or scifi, or sci-fi) has been around since Forry Ackerman invented it in the 50s.

(Most serious SF buffs don’t like the term, considering it a bit gee-whizz, and prefer, well, SF instead.)

And as SciFi is a word in common use, that means you can’t trademark it. No brand extensions, no protectable spinoffs.

So they decided to rebrand, and this rebrand has the benefit of sounding exactly the same. Fair enough. It also has the advantage of moving away from the pure-geek connotations of SciFi among the general public.

I can’t say I have any particular feelings about it one way or the other.

But the interesting thing is this blog post from Landor, the branding agency who consulted with SciFi… er SyFy on the rebrand.

Now they don’t actually say the words “We begged them on our knees not to do it” anywhere in the article, but nevertheless it’s instructive to read.

The last paragraph is the meat of the matter:

“Yes, we worked with the Sci Fi Channel, and it hired us to consult on the project. However, Syfy was a name generated internally and pre-tested at the channel before our involvement. Once Landor was involved, we explored new names as part of the process, but it was the Channel’s call to go with Syfy.”

Note the specificity of the wording.

Generated internally.
Pre-tested at the channel before our involvement.
We explored new names.
It was the channel’s call to go with SyFy.

I’d love to have a look at Landor’s internal documents on the testing of this.

Because you don’t put this on a public-facing blog – even in code – unless you really want to move away from being associated with this rebrand, and fast.


Ooh, interesting.

Up here in the rooftops, one of the things we look out for is new financial models for TV shows. D2DVD for instance.

Which is why this caught my attention:

Damian Kindler has, among other things, co-exec produced Stargate for several years.

He’s now working on a new show of his own.

But not for distribution via your tellybox. Oh no.

This puppy’s coming out on the Internet. No DRM, subscription model, TV production values from someone who knows how it works.

There’s a blog here which act as combined insight and advertising for the show, the most interesting part so far of which is this statement of principles:

  1. Let the creative people be creative. The best people in the world to make interactive or linear entertainment are the artists who thrive creating it. Give them the tools they need and let them loose.
  2. Distribute directly to our audience. If we are going to self-produce, we can’t set up an entire distribution network, so the internet emerges as a natural medium to effectively provide content to our audience.
  3. Give viewers “TV on demand” – over the ‘net. You Tube has shown that we don’t need executives deciding what content you want. As an executive producer my job is to help you – the viewer – become the studio chiefs presiding over the show. You are now making decisions that will either make this project succeed or fail.
  4. Don’t use digital rights management to the detriment of the end user. There is nothing more frustrating than paying for digital data and not being able to burn it to a DVD or share it with a friend or play it on any damn device you want.
  5. Allow people to participate in the creative process. Copyright laws have not caught up with the enormous cultural revolution occurring due to shared creative development (call it mixing or mash ups) – and it is time for bigger productions like Sanctuary take a leadership role.

That’s five very interesting things right there.

I’ll be posting more on this as I discover it. In the meantime, check out the prodco’s corporate website.

And there’s some publicity photos / music / PR fluff at the official website. But it’s in flash, has music over everything, and generally sucks.

So, like the official websites for most old-school TV then.

More on this over the next few days.

EDIT: I appear to have completely imagined the website being built in flash. Brainrot, I fear.