WorldCon 2013 Report: Day Four — The Legacy of Omni

Saturday, August 31, 2013

omniPanel: Ellen Datlow (M), Howard Waldrop, Ben Bova, Robert Silverberg, Pat Cadigan

This was a disappointing panel. We had gone in expecting to hear more about upcoming revival of Omni, but instead got a history of it. Entertaining at times, but not what we were expecting.

My Notes

  • It was originally going to be named Nova. which lead, of course to "Bova at Nova"
  • It was changed from Nova to Omni when PBS threatened to sue
  • It was never a magazine about science; it was a magazine about the future
  • Omni was not "Penthouse in Space", as they had to keep telling prospective advertisers
  • 800,000 readers at one time
  • Omni didn't pay by the word (Pat C. figured her rate was .16/word)
  • Future magazines (Realms of Fantasy, Science Fiction Age) looked like Omni
  • Omni showed that there is a market for a magazine about the future
  • Everything has an angle about the future
  • Why did it fold?
  • Kathy wanted to reach 1,000,000 subscribers and sold cheap subscriptions, diluting the advertising base
  • No advertising on the online site; they had no clue at that time
  • When Kathy died, there was no one to support it
  • Non-Omni pay rates: "Tomorrow's worlds at yesterday's prices"