Today at the official Star Trek convention in Las Vegas, CBS announced that a new official Star Trek fan club will be launched by the end of the year. Details are sketchy for now, but CBS promised more details to come next month and have launched a new website to gather fan input on this new venture. In related news, Dan Madsen, who ran the previous fan club, is involved in a new fan venture that is partnering with Roddenberry.com
Last club went for a quarter century
The previous official Star Trek fan club was in continuous operation from the early 80s to 2005. At its peak in the mid nineties it had over 90,000 members. The club (along with others, including the official Star Wars fan club) was owned and operated by Dan Madsen until he sold his company Fantastic Media to Decipher in 2001 (although he stayed on after that). Decipher ran into trouble in 2005 and closed down all their fan clubs and the Trek fan club license has been dormant ever since. The club’s primary benefit was the official fan club magazine which evolved into Star Trek Communicator. A subscription came with membership along with discounts and some exclusive merchandise. Before the age of the Internet, The Communicator was the primary source of all there was to know in the world of Trek.
A new kind of fan club – looking for your input
TrekMovie spoke to John Van Citters after he made the announcement and the CBS Products executive made it clear they are hoping to put together a new kind of fan club that is ready for the 21st century. CBS has been working to bring back a fan club for years, but have just recently closed a deal with a new (unnamed) company to run it. One big difference is that the new club will not have a magazine as it is felt that the official Star Trek Magazine from Titan is sufficient. The club will also have a much bigger emphasis on the web. This web focus plus separation of official fan club and official magazine approach has also been adopted by other clubs, including the official Star Wars ‘Hyperspace’ fan club. Van Sitters says they want the new club to be more interactive and include live events in addition to the strong web component (again, all of which sounds a lot like Hyperspace). However, Van Sitters said there were no specific other fan clubs they were using as a model, noting "we are looking to bring the best components from different clubs together."
It was also clear that CBS and the new partner have not nailed down all the specifics, or even a name for the new club. It also isn’t clear how this new more web-focused fan club will relate to the now mostly dormant official website, STARTREK.COM CBS said they will be making a detailed announcement for the new fan club next month, but they are hoping to get some fan input to help the. To that end CBS wants fans to visit startrekcountdown.com to fill out a survey gauging interest in four areas (Events, Exclusive Merchandise, News/Previews, & Forums/Community activities. You can also enter comments on what you think a fan club should be.
Madsen’s new fan community
Dan Madsen, the former owner of the Star Trek and Star Wars fan clubs has joined up with the technology company VRDAI to help build fan communities. The first of these communities, the Roddenberry Sci-Fi Network (or RSN), was also announced this week at the Roddenberry.com presentation. Again details are sketchy and a more detailed announcement is expected in the near future, however the TrekMovie is told it will be an online community with the goal "to create a place where fans and sci-fi stars, writers and professionals can interact in a community setting."
TrekMovie.com will have much more on these exciting new developments in the upcoming weeks.