Syfy Ventures, a relatively new division created during the rebranding of Syfy as part of breaking out of the cable channel constraints and become a true transmedia, tech savvy destination, announced jointly with actress Ashley Eckstein (Ahsoka Tano on Star Wars: The Clone Wars) during the Digital Press Tour on Monday that Syfy Ventures would join forces with Eckstein’s Her Universe brand of female genre merchandise, to produce Syfy branded merchandise under the Syfy Gear label.
“We are a fairly new company,” Eckstein said. “I do the voice of Ahsoka Tano on ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars.’ And this past summer we launched our business at San Diego Comic-Con, and we started the first ‘Star Wars’ merchandise line just for women. We want to make girls chic from head to toe. And we have apparel, jewelry, accessories. And almost half of all Syfy fans are women. And they weren’t giving us anything to buy. Last time I checked, the girls are the ones that are spending the money. So I’ve spent the summer at conventions meeting the girls. I actually go to the conventions at the booths. And so many girls have been begging me for Syfy merchandise. So I’m really excited to announce this today.”
Dave Howe, president of Syfy, added, “I think from a brand perspective, it really does send out the right messages about what we want to stand for, which is a business that is for everyone with platforms that reach out to everybody. And licensing and merchandising and gear in particular that reaches out to everybody, it’s very exciting.”
“Yes. That’s the biggest misconception is that Syfy is not just for the men, it’s not just for the women, it’s for everyone.” said Eckstein. “And that’s what we’re trying to say. We don’t — we didn’t start Her Universe to start a company that says, ‘Girl power. Syfy is just for the women.’ It’s not. It really — it transcends gender, and you guys do a great job with that at Syfy. And we’re looking forward to creating some great product together.”
Right now, Her Universe merchandise is aimed at the “tween and up” ages, although there is no reason it will stay there. And expect seasonal items as well. “We have a couple items come out for the holidays for ‘Star Wars’,” according to Eckstein.
The Syfy Gear/Her Universe collection will include original designs that reflect Syfy’s commitment to engaging the imagination, as well as show-specific merchandise from hit Syfy series such as Caprica, Eureka, Battlestar Galactica, Destination Truth, Ghost Hunters International, Ghost Hunters Academy and Warehouse 13.
Some other Syfy Ventures items were mentioned during the panel…and that in all the ventures storytelling is the focus.
Allan Seiffert, senior vice president of Syfy Ventures, “We have launched our Syfy games brand. And yes, we will be publishing games. The only reason I’m hedging is that the way that we look at it is, just as in television and just as some of the other projects that we’ve talked about, we’re not necessarily kind of keeping to the same traditional lines. So we will be involved in gaming. And part of the reason is it’s a great way to tell stories. It absolutely is appropriate for our key audience. Whether that is a traditional publishing arrangement, I’m not quite sure. But Craig [Engler, senior vice president of Syfy Digital] and his team have a thriving Syfy games online presence. We have strong partnerships coming up. We’ve got a few other announcements over the next several months. So we are very much in this space. But the key for us, and whether it’s Her Universe or it’s gaming or it’s kids — even we talk about gear. It’s about the story. It’s about the storytelling. And so that’s going to be the ultimate driver.”
One of these will be an online browser-based game for Battlestar Galactica, which will debut in December, and will include new elements that fit within the story. In addition, a partnership with game developer Trion World is the develop a new story from the ground up as a multiplatform story – including an online game and TV series. And also, Syfy has been in development with THQ on a 2-hour backdoor pilot based on the Red Faction game series, to be set within game story between the last game and the new game due out in early 2011, Red Faction: Armageddon.