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Media fandom refers to the collective fandoms focused on contemporary television shows and movies. Media fandom has a focus on relationships and is distinct from science fiction fandom, anime fandom, book fandom, music fandom, soap opera fandom, sports fandom, and video game fandom.
Media fandom emerged in the early 1970s from a subgroup of Star Trek and Man from U.N.C.L.E. fans who shared a focus on relationships rather than on science fiction. Media fandom provided a way of viewing source material that soon transferred to new fandoms.
Star Trek fandom itself traces itself back to a split between critical literary science fiction fandom and creative visual television fandom. As a result, media fandom inherited science fiction fandom's structure of fan labor activities as well as fanzines, fan conventions, amateur press associations, as well as much of its terminology (including filk, con, Big Name Fan, and gafiate).
In the 1990s, media fandom began developing a structure online. In addition to traditional zines and conventions, Usenet group electronic mailing lists and online, searchable fan fiction archives were established. The move online also paralleled the move of slash fandom into the visible mainstream.
By the late 1990s, many people were entering media fandom through discovering it on their own online, rather than through personal real-life friends. The availability of many kinds of fandom online has increased the cross-pollination between different types of fandoms such as comics fandom, soap opera fandom, and celebrity fandom. Media fandom fans easily transfer between different types of fandoms and different source texts.
Star Trek and Man from U.N.C.L.E. fans generated creative products like fan art and fan fiction at a time when typical science fiction fandom was focused on critical discussions. The MediaWest convention provided a vid room and was instrumental in the emergence of fan vids, or analytic music videos based on a source, in the late 1970s.
Often, fans congregate on forums and discussion boards to share their love and criticisms for the specific show, movie or other media. This congregation can lead to a high level of organization and community within the fandom. Although there is some level of hierarchy among most of the discussion boards in which certain contributors are valued more highly than others, newcomers are most often welcomed into the fold. Most importantly, these sorts of discussion boards can even have an effect on the media itself as is the case in the television show Glee. Trends on the discussion boards have been known to influence the writers and producers of the show. The media fandom for the TV series Firefly was able to generate enough corporate interest to create a movie after the series was cancelled.
- Coppa, Francesca (2006). "A Brief History of Media Fandom". In Hellekson, Karen; Busse, Kristina. Fan Fiction and Fan Communities in the Age of the Internet. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company. pp. 41–59. ISBN 978-0-7864-2640-9.
- Walker, Jesse (August/September 2008). "Remixing Television: Francesca Coppa on the vidding underground". Reason Online. Retrieved 15 August 2009.
- Laskari, Isabelle. "Glee Producer and Writer Discuss the Show’s Fandom". Hypable. Retrieved 28 November 2011.
- Miller, Gerri. "Inside Serenity". How Stuff Works. Retrieved 28 November 2011.