Rebranding TV

Some viewers are in a furor over the rumor that Time Warner Cable might rename its popular NY1 News as TWC News to better reflect its corporate brand (and to remind cable subscribers that if they switch television content carriers, they will lose the channel). This isn't the first time TV networks have changed their names in an effort to reposition themselves.

Some are simple yet profound, such as MTV dropping its subtitle "Music Television." Others are a little more complicated, such as the Sci-Fi Channel changing to Syfy.  Others happen because of new corporate ownership -- Fox Family became ABC Family, for example.

Often, the purpose is to redefine their content. G4 will soon become Esquire TV. Sometimes, they officially dub themselves their acronym, in order to make their name less specific so that they can air a wider spectrum of content. This explains why American Movie Classics is now AMC, The Learning Channel is now TLC, and the Arts & Entertainment Network is now simple A&E.

Does rebranding hurt rather than help a channel by alienating its core audience as it tries to reach new viewers?  In the case of NY1 News, where the content will allegedly not alter at all, will the need to draw focus on the Time Warner Cable parent company diminish the valuable local identity of its existing brand?

Sometimes, I wish marketers would just leave their brands alone instead of trying too hard.