Sci Fi Channel Strategic Opportunities - July 2008

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STRATEGIC OPPORTUNITIES

The Sci Fi Channel is making like a rocket ship and taking off these days.  Armed with brand new hit original series namely, the GHOST HUNTERS franchise) and a new GM armed with a task of expanding the broad-based appeal of the network (David Howe), the sky is the limit for the once niche channel.

The network is clearly taking steps to distance itself from its traditional Science Fiction roots.  Programming is carefully crafted and selected to appeal to a larger audience and promoted in a way to promote the character-driven aspects of the series.  (And diminish the spaceships.)

Efforts are clearly being made to ensure that the network continues its growth in female viewers and its broader appeal. Seen by parent company NBC Universal as one of its strongest global brands, the Sci Fi channel plans to have 23-25 international markets by the end of 2008. 

In fact, the network is becoming so broad-based that execs are debating the possibility of a name change in the near future.

For more, click here for the New York Times' article on the evolution of the Sci Fi Channel.

ORIGINAL:

Programming concepts that are original playing in the Sci Fi genre. They are not limiting themselves to a particular genre either - all forms seem to fly, as long as they are original and compelling.

ACQUIRED:

Similar requirements, they are not opposed to acquiring high quality completed series, dramatic or alternative programming that fit with their brand and needs.

PROGRAM SUBMISSION PROCESS:

Agents should contact the executive in the department in which they are trying to submit (ex., reality, scripted).  All e-mail addresses at the Sci Fi Channel follow the format of firstname_lastname@nbcuni.com.

CABLEU NEED TO KNOW:

The Sci Fi Channel announced at its upfront presentation a new ambitious slate of alternative reality programming.  They have committed themselves to "52 weeks of broad-appeal original programming."  Returning shows - SCARE TACTICS, MIND CONTROL, as well as new projects (many comic book-based or inspired) seem to indicate the type of programming yet to come in the remainder of 2008.

According to network GM David Howe in a recent interview in C21, the Sci Fi Network is "...interested in character-driven dramas, set primarily in the here and now on Earth or an Earth-like planet, creating situations that are contemporary and relatable to today's audience,  The show may feature characters and situations that are classed as sci-fi fantasy, but they must be very grounded and real."

According to Howe, there's a lot more in store for the network as they continue to grow and expand.  "What we have over any other cable brand in the US is an opportunity to own an entire category and launch new businesses going forward beyond the TV screen," says Howe. "Video games are something we really want to get into, mobile content is our next big push forward and the third element is youth. We recognise that we own sci-fi fantasy from an adult perspective but we could also own it from a youth one." (C21)

In addition, the Sci Fi network is seeking to break new ground by developing a television series and multiplayer game to give viewers a brand new interactive television/gaming experience.  While details are being kept under wraps, the Sci Fi Channel is aiming for a 2010 launch.

GOT MORE?:

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