SYRACUSE -- Just about three years since Central New York's "News 10 Now" joined many of its sisters in rebranding as YNN -- short for "Your News Now" -- owner Time Warner Cable is considering another name change for its portfolio of local and regional cable news channels.
A tip of the hat to our colleague Scott Fybush -- we first learned of the potential name change through the latest edition of his weekly NorthEast Radio Watch, available today. He reports Time Warner is "publicly mulling a change" in branding for all of its local cable news networks across the country.
In addition to the YNN networks that cover nearly all of upstate New York, Time Warner operates YNN networks in central Texas, while "NY1" covers New York City and "News 14 Carolina" covers North Carolina.
The reason, according to NERW and other reports: Time Warner recently polled customers about its local cable news channels. The company said viewers are aware the news channels exist, but many don't realize they're operated by Time Warner and only available to Time Warner Cable subscribers. This, despite the many promos that end with the tagline, "not on [Verizon] FiOS, not on satellite."
Apparently, Time Warner is considering "TWC News" (which we'll point out, could be confused with "The Weather Channel") or something similar which includes the name "Time Warner," to make sure customers are aware that they'll lose their ability to view the channel if they switch to a competing service.
There hasn't been much buzz about the potential rebranding here in Central New York (yet), but there's plenty of negative chatter about the change in New York City. The Daily News reported staffers are "fuming" about the "boneheaded" idea of giving up the NY1 brand, which recently celebrated its 20th anniversary.
Another Daily News article referred to a possible name change as "a casualty in Time Warner's battle with Verizon Fios."
NY1 and News 14 Carolina were the only exceptions in the "YNN-ification of 2010." Before that, Syracuse's channel was called News 10 Now, and the Albany-based channel was called Capital News 9. Even in Rochester -- where the "R-News" brand had been around nearly as long as NY1 -- the new YNN brand won out.
According to Multichannel News, it looks like NY1 won't be exempt from the changes this time, likely due to increased competition in the Big Apple. The national industry trade says Verizon FiOS and Cablevision have been making inroads in New York City, and FiOS already has its own, similarly-named "FiOS 1" news channels covering Long Island and New Jersey. There isn't a FiOS 1 channel for the city itself, but it appears Time Warner is looking to differentiate itself, just in case.
The Daily News says Time Warner hasn't made any firm decisions yet, and the company is trying to find a way to incorporate the heritage NY1 name into its future branding.
Multichannel News says the new branding will take about a year to roll-out nationwide, once a new brand is decided. As for an online identity... a South Korean company already has the "TWCNews.com" domain, but the cable giant has already registered the considerably-longer "TimeWarnerCableNews.com" domain.
Although News 14 Carolina was the only other network outside of NY1 to keep its original name in 2010, the channels currently use "Your News Now" as their slogan, and it seems they'll be included with NY1 and the YNN networks in any future rebranding.
Do you like YNN, did you prefer the original News 10 Now name, or are you ready to see the local news channel take on a different name? Share your thoughts below, using your Facebook login, or your CNYRadio.com/CNYTVNews.com login.