Sci Fi, Syfy: It’s time, dear marketers, to recognize women


The Sci Fi cable channel made the news last week by announcing it would change its name on July 7 to Syfy, an obscure new brand that outraged some Star Trek enthusiasts. We found it no coincidence that the cable network timed the news to the upfront, where advertisers make major financial commitments for the coming year.

What’s up? Women are resurgent as an advertising force. Consider that women’s web sites were one of the fastest growing categories in 2008, with 46% more visitors (only slightly behind job-search sites). Slate.com is spinning off its popular XX Factor blog into a woman-specific site. Kristi Faulkner, founder of the WomenKind marcom firm, told DM News “Women are hungry for something that is respectful and dignified.”

And of course it helps that advertising dollars are behind this. In a down economy where men are paring back on big screen TVs and lawn equipment, women still run the household — and most other spending. In the United States women account for 80% of discretionary spending including buying 90% of food, 55% of gadgets, and — yes, boys — most new cars.

Sci Fi is broadening its brand to include supernatural and paranormal entertainment, topics more likely to appeal to women and to attract the marketers who chase them. There could be a lesson here for your own brand.

3 thoughts on “Sci Fi, Syfy: It’s time, dear marketers, to recognize women

  1. As a woman, this change baffles me and I actually find it insulting. I loved Battlestar Galactica but I’m supposed to like the channel more now that it’s called SyFy? I’ll pass on the supernatural and paranormal entertainment.

  2. I think it’s a ridiculous move… simply chaning the spelling of the name? And for every woman they “gain” how many men and/or Sci-Fi buffs do they lose or fail to attract? With hundreds of niche cable channels out there, they need to stick to what they know and people know them for rather than trying to become something for everyone while pleasing nobody.

  3. Meet the new SyFy, same as the old SciFi.

    The name recognition for the channel and the phrase in general resides in the collective conciousness, and now, they’re going to mess with that and confuse people when they see it spelled differently.

    This is simply a move that nobody asked them to make.

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