Syfy’s $105 Million Gamble on Defiance and ‘Synergy’

SyFy Defiance We’re guessing someone at the Syfy Channel dropped the word “synergy” at a recent strategy meeting. Why else would NBCUniversal’s quirky cable brand invest $105 million in Defiance, a TV series and accompanying video game package? This the same channel responsible for Sharktopus and Dinocroc vs. Supergator, right?

David Howe, Syfy president, explains that the effort is leveraging the technology behind the idea of “true transmedia,” an ambitious and collaborative concept that could only come to you via the people who brought the world the fine feature films mentioned above. Defiance the game will develop alongside plot developments on the TV show–and the game’s environs will change in conjunction with the evolving world in the series.

The show’s pilot will air on April 15 and the video game will hit stores on April 2, allowing enough time for fans-to-be to familiarize themselves with the multi-player shooter platform. Both narratives involve aliens and alien cross breeds, though the game is set in dystopian Los Angeles and the show takes place in St. Louis (so much for consistency).

From a public relations standpoint, this strategy makes complete sense. Customer engagement is key to long-term brand loyalty, and connecting with the public on multiple channels is a wise move. But will the public buy in? Can a brand over saturate the customer base with too much of a good thing? Is “true transmedia” the future?

We’re guessing yes. The public likes to feel like they’re part of something, and technology is allowing customers to become closer than ever to the brands and products they like. Also, the TV/video game platform allows for the deep integration of advertising, which means there is a high level of “synergy.”

Our advice to SyFy? Next time we visit our local Game Stop, we expect to see Dinocroc on the shelves. Get on it!