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March 21, 2007

Does The Outdoor Channel Need a Naming Company?

The Outdoor Channel is subtly changing its brand name by dropping “The”: from here on in it will be “Outdoor Channel.”

It is also offering us “a new logo, on-air look, and ancillary branding elements specifically designed to reflect the Network's position as the leading provider of exciting outdoor action, adventure and entertainment.”

This decision comes on the heels of some financial hardships the channel experienced earlier this year and which solidified at the end of the first quarter.

the_outdoor_channel_logo_2.gifThe new logo features an "action black" and "adventure green" color scheme, according to one of the senior people there. The logo looks far more aggressive and shows us, interestingly, two mountain peaks, despite the fact that a quick glance at the programming, it shows absolutely no mountaineering shows.

No, the programming is geared towards mainly hunting and fishing, or what one blogger jokingly calls “pornography for gun lovers.” the purpose of the new logo is to “own the outdoor entertainment space.”

Please do not get me wrong. I think fishing, hunting and shooting are great activities... but they are not much fun to watch without some hook.

I think the new logo and the slightly altered brand name is a step forward, but I hesitate with the word “Outdoor.” I think it may have been created by somebody who has never been outdoors. Stop and think about it for a moment: do we really “go outdoors” when we go to the woods or the streams or the mountains?

Do boaters and fisherman think of themselves as “outdoorsmen”? Isn’t the word a little dated? Isn’t it the term your mother used when she wanted you to “get outdoors and get some fresh air, for heaven's sake.” She meant the backyard, not the Canadian Rockies.

If I were the naming consultant working for Outdoor Channel, I might ask them to look at the name of another hugely successful channel that built its business on documentary films that take place outdoors: The Discovery Channel. Discovery offers what we hope to experience when we explore the world of nature: the unknown, the destination. Its channel name reflects this.

On the other hand, what is probably doing the channel the greatest harm is not its brand name at all. Instead, the problem probably lies in the names of the programs offered:

  • People Who Fish
  • Mossy Oak Classics
  • Guns and Ammo Classics TV
  • Turkey Call and Personal Watercraft

Those shows just do not sound very tantalizing. Yes, there are a few eyebrow raisers:

  • Ted Nugent Spirit of the Wild
  • Speargun Hunter
  • Ready, Aim, Grill

Those show names would make me pause, but these are the exceptions rather than the rule.

Their new program naming really needs a breath of fresh air and fresh names.

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Posted by William Lozito at March 21, 2007 10:22 AM
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1 Comment

The Outdoor Channel is probably one of only a host of channels that I watch. I'm curious has anyone heard or seen this Ski Channel that just launched. I stumbled upon the website the other day.

http://www.theskichannel.com

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