This weekend I accidentally stumbled into a bookstore signing featuring two veteran, award-winning science fiction writers. If you read sf, you’d know their names. They had a pretty good gathering for the relatively small space, maybe about twenty caucasian fans (or readers, if you prefer), whose median age I’d put at around fifty.
This morning the geek parts of the internet I travel are all abuzz with the news that the Sci Fi Channel is rebranding itself as SyFy:
By changing the name to Syfy, which remains phonetically identical, the new brand broadens perceptions and embraces a wider range of current and future imagination-based entertainment beyond just the traditional sci-fi genre, including fantasy, supernatural, paranormal, reality, mystery, action and adventure. It also 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.
Syfy more clearly captures the mainstream appeal of the world’s biggest entertainment category, and reflects the network’s ongoing strategy to create programming that’s more accessible and relatable to new audiences. Syfy will continue to celebrate the traditional roots of the genre, while opening the brand to accommodate a broader range of imagination-based entertainment.
In other words, they want a bigger audience, and they think Sci Fi is too geeky for the audience they want.
I walked into a games shop a few doors down from the bookstore. The store was packed. I’m gonna say 50 – 60 gamers playing games, participating in non-traditional consumer media. The crowd was racially diverse (though not as gender diverse as the bookstore crowd), with a median age of something like 17-25, a range that falls within the demographic typically sought by television programmers.
What does it all mean? I don’t know. But it means something. At least I’m pretty sure it does.