Here’s a roundup of stories about the importance of fandom that might be of interest to fans:
- Singer Alexandra Burke wrote about the importance of her fans, saying she can “fully appreciate the extent that ‘fandom’ as some people like to call it has really taken over. I am superclose to my fans (probably too close for it to be healthy lol) but I feel like they are this extended family of mine and they do so much for me, and there’s no better form of honesty than if these guys don’t like something/don’t like some of my music – they won’t dress it up in cotton wool – they will just tell you damn straight!” What’s more, “[t]he last few years I think for me have certainly changed my perception on this whole ‘movement’, and no doubt that of label’s and management who now have whole teams dedicated to ensuring that the fanbase is looked after.”
- Dr. Who fans, on the other hand, got a whole book written on their importance. SFX reviewed The Official Doctor Who Fan Club: Volume One and concluded that “[e]ven readers born many years after 1971 will probably experience a stab of nostalgia. You are transported back to more innocent times: before forum flame wars; before fandom had been commodified. This was a time when you could write to the Doctor and know there was a decent chance of getting a letter back; a time when Who fans had to make their own entertainment (one of Keith’s innovations was a ‘lending library’ of hand-made, one-off novellas of old stories, available to borrow one at a time). You may find yourself wondering if we weren’t better off back then.”
- If the discussion at Den of Geek is any indication, the above book will likely sell well. Contemplating what fandom did for Dr. Who, they note that “the market is completely different these days. Before the show came back, Doctor Who merchandise was a relatively small but lucrative area, mainly based round adult collectors. Now it’s a huge and broad market, with magazines and toys selling large numbers in supermarkets to kids.” They then attempt to quantify Who fandom, speculating “When you consider that Doctor Who Magazine’s 2011 circulation was 30,682 these figures are impressive, but for further context we must ask: how many hard-core Doctor Who fans are there?…If you combine the highest figure from fan-sites’ Twitter followers or forum members the total is roughly 145,700. This figure does show is that, even adjusting upwards (say, doubling the figure to accommodate variables), the kind of fan who is debating how much of Destiny of the Daleks was written by Terry Nation or Douglas Adams has gone from being the near-totality of fandom to being a minority (the average UK viewing figure for the 2011 series was 7.75 million).”
- Certainly the U.S.’s SyFy network has realized the importance of fannish content to its bottom line. Their recent upfront presentation included various shows targeted at fans. Aside from creating two different shows aimed at collectors, there is a new project on cosplayers, Divas of Dress Up, and the “Untitled Mark Burnett Project…where fans of science fiction/fantasy books and movies compete to create the most flavorful and inspired dishes from the foods featured in the imaginary worlds that they love.”
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