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.[1 ] 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.