January 18, 2007
NBC’s Chiller: Must-See-TV?
NBC-Universal announced on Friday that it will launch a new network devoted to thriller and horror programming. The name of the network will be Chiller.
After googling the word “Chiller,” I encountered numerous results about beverages, ice, or any other product that needs to be cooled in order to be enjoyed. And how many of these results were related to horror? Zilch.
I presume the origin of the name of the network derives from the notion of getting “chills” down your back after watching something scary.
Although generic, Heebie Jeebies, Creepy Crawlers, Spine Tinglers are a few descriptions for all things related to horror. Taking it up a notch, words such as “blood,” “killer,” or any sharp object found in a tool shed have found a home in the titles of most horror movies, past and present.
NBC-Universal missed the mark on the naming of this channel by not delving into the rich lexicon of imagery that the horror genre has to offer. Instead, they favored the plain and vague, perhaps in an effort to play it safe for potential viewers.
This strategy did work with the Sci-Fi Channel, another NBC-Universal property. Although it is not an inspired title, it is still leaps and bounds better than Chiller because, at the very least, “Sci Fi” uses rhyme to make its name stand out.
Therefore, its stickiness factor—that is, the inexplicable quality that forces consumers to remember a product’s name—is strong.
Unless the channel can develop programming that is beyond the slasher garden variety of the Friday the 13th franchise or the monster mash medley of Boris Karloff and Lon Chaney films, Chiller will be dead on arrival.
The reason: why should we choose this channel when we can watch AMC, TCM, or TBS for these movies? Granted, these stations don’t offer the 24-hour horror programming that Chiller promises. But who wants to subject themselves to this kind of content for so many hours in a day? After all, those whose threshold can handle that already have these movies on DVD!
In addition, in the cable world, where new stations are being born everyday, now more than ever is it critical for a newbie channel to have a name that people can instantly recall. And to recall enthusiastically.
And I don't think Chiller is one of those names.
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