TARGET: GEEKUS AMERICANUS. Make that male geekus americanus. As we type, Future Networks USA readies the announcement of its second deal in under two months-for Cherry Lane's how-to title Guitar One. That title meshes nicely with its recent purchase of Harris Publications' Guitar World, which meshes nicely with the company strategy, stated in Ad Age last summer, to chase acquisitions in the male-enthusiast space. Besides the guitar books, Future's seven-title U.S. portfolio includes gaming books such as PC Gamer and Official Xbox Magazine, making it a one-stop shop for advertisers seeking bedroom-bound young men who spend most waking hours attached to consoles or amplifiers (and who are apparently opting out of broadcast TV).
Future, the U.S. outpost of Britain's Future Network, is rebuilding after an over-ambitious start and rapid retrenchment. As Imagine, Future got fat on erstwhile highflier Business 2.0, and launched five U.S. titles in 2000. Dot-com fallout forced the shuttering of all five, plus a Sega Dreamcast title, in early `01, as well as over 300 layoffs.
On firmer ground in `03, Jonathan Simpson Bint, Future's Stateside President, gags on the geek tag. "Gaming is mainstream," he says, "I don't think gaming is geekdom anymore." He does concede, though, that both types of titles contain "an element of fantasy and escape."