Cover Story: Reanimating Omni Magazine
Building on Guccione's Vision
The plan to re-launch Omni has garnered a massive positive response, says Frommer, because Omni was ahead of its time, well before sci-fi and nerd culture became mainstream. "Omni really pioneered a mix of science fiction and science fact. The market is calling for that. There are a lot of sites that reflect that zeitgeist."
Claire Evans believes that Omni Reboot will carve out its own niche in the science fiction techie-sphere. "We're different from other sci-fi sites in that we are not wedded to genre," says Evans. "Ben Bova, a science-fiction legend and original editor of Omni, told me that Omni wasn't a science magazine or a science-fiction magazine: it was a magazine about the future. The idea with Omni Reboot is to talk about the future with whatever tools are at hand. That might be fiction, it might be a personal essay, photographs, music or pop-culture criticism."
And though sci-fi and nerd culture have gone from niche interests to popular culture forces, (think Big Bang Theory, Comic Con, TRON: Legacy), Frommer feels no one is really doing the unique blend Omni did or Omni Reboot will do. "Omni was very predictive. A lot of the predictions as fiction have become fact: global warming, stem cell research…"
It can all be tied back to the original vision of Guiccione, who often hired real scientists to write articles. "Guccione believed in informing and entertaining," says Frommer. "He did the same thing with Penthouse."
It's true. Guccione often goes uncredited for his intellectual pursuits. A monthly series on the treatment of Vietnam veterans featured in Penthouse prompted Brandeis University to name Guccione Publisher of the Year in 1975. He also hired a young Anna Wintour as fashion editor of Viva, a women's adult magazine he co-founded with Keeton.
Denis Wilson was previously content director for Target Marketing, Publishing Executive, and Book Business, as well as the FUSE Media and BRAND United summits. In this role, he analyzed and reported on the fundamental changes affecting the media and marketing industries and aimed to serve content-driven businesses with practical and strategic insight. As a writer, Denis’ work has been published by Fast Company, Rolling Stone, Fortune, and The New York Times.