Online entertainment company My Damn Channel has announced a name change to Omnivision.
The company, with offices in New York and Los Angeles, was founded in 2007 by Rob Barnett and has taken over $8.5 million in venture capital funding with the most recent round of $1.06 coming in August 2012.
The company said in a statement:
My Damn Channel founders Rob Barnett and Warren Chao have announced the launch of Omnivision Entertainment, which reflects an integrated, united vision of traditional, digital and social media as the company evolves into a multi-platform, 360 degree entertainment company.
The move is also said to be “part of its plans to expand branded-entertainment and talent development initiatives.”
If the newspeak has you baffled at this point, you won’t be alone. The shorter version (I think) is that the company thinks it needs a new name as it expands into new market sectors. The My Damn Channel brand is best know for its position in producing new and independent comedy.
There is a reasonable argument behind the name change; on top of the companies move into new verticals there’s also the consideration that some people would find the word “damn” to be an inappropriate swear or “cuss” word.
But Omnivision. Seriously?
If the name doesn’t sound too bad initially it’s because as a name it’s not actually a bad one, but most would probably already know that, and that is the problem.
The name Omnivision is already used by dozens of companies worldwide.
A quick search of Google (AU and US) finds companies using the Omnivision name in markets including security, silicon chip making, information technology services, digital imaging products, web design, LCD monitors, Christian publishing…and there’s even a Panasonic TV product called Omnivision.
The formal name for the new company is Omnivsion Entertainment, but exactly how many people are going to Google “Omnivision Entertainment” as opposed to “Omnivision” when searching for the new company.
We don’t need a team of brand specialists and SEO’s to study the market for three months before delivering the answer: because it’s few to no people at all.
The name change to Omnivision can well be described as a stupid move.
Taking the name of over a dozen other companies (one of which is NASDAQ listed as well) can and will ultimately lead to brand confusion. It will potentially deliver a loss of traffic and views to the companies self hosted and YouTube hosted content as the name gets lost in online noise.
Investors including Intuitive Venture Partners, Shea Ventures, Okapi Venture Capital and Sunshine Wireless must be asleep at the wheel as well because ultimately they would have had to sign off on the name…and surely someone outside the management of My Damn Channel/ Omnivision would have said “hold on a minute, haven’t I heard that name before.”
The company has been successful in the past, and it’s not impossible that they may continue to grow the company to the point where they own the Omnivision name in the minds of the public…but why start from a behind to begin with with a well worn, even tired name for a company that is trying to reinvent itself?