What rentals (and whose) were hot in 2017!

We’re now into our third year of streaming movies with FULLDOME OnDemand. We continue to gain customers and add new shows to the repertoire of streaming content. With 2017 in the rearview mirror, it’s time for a year-end performance review and a look forward to 2018.

Here’s our countdown of the Top 10 popular show titles rented last year, and their producers:

10. show poster The Cowboy Astronomer producer logo Loch Ness Productions

    9. show poster Moons: Worlds Of Mystery producer logo Museum of Science, Boston

    8. show poster Dawn of the Space Age producer logo Mirage3D

    7. show poster Journey to a Billion Suns producer logo ESA

    6. show poster Molecularium producer logo Molecularium Project

    5. show poster Into The Deep producer logo Ogrefish Filmproduktions

    4. show poster Larry Cat In Space producer logo Loch Ness Productions

    3. show poster HUBBLE Vision 2 producer logo Loch Ness Productions

    2. show poster SpacePark360: Infinity producer logoproducer logo Dome3D and Loch Ness Productions

And the most-popular show for the second year running…

    1. show poster One World, One Sky producer logo Adler Planetarium

Of course, some producers offer multiple show titles — and in the aggregate, their shows rack up some impressive counts:

    8. producer logo European Space Agency – 29 rentals

    7. producer logo California Academy of Sciences – 34 rentals

    6. producer logo Dome3D – 35 rentals

    5. producer logo Museum of Science, Boston – 36 rentals

    4. producer logo Albedo FullDome – 48 rentals

    3. producer logo Mirage3D – 54 rentals

    2. producer logo Adler Planetarium – 68 rentals

    1. producer logo Loch Ness Productions – 105 rentals

Last year, 99 unique customers logged in to rent shows; just over half of those were in the U.S. We rented some 600 shows overall, nearly two per day on average. While 79% of the titles went to U.S. customers, 21% were international. Loch Ness Productions-created shows made up 18% of the total.

FULLDOME OnDemand added 30 new fulldome movies this past year, and more are planned for the year ahead!

When we began this service, we had the hope it would provide affordable content for theaters whose budgets couldn’t quite stretch far enough to purchase long-term licenses. What we’ve found is that idea is a winner. However, we’ve also heard from people who want to use the service to preview shows before they buy licenses. So, we’ve incorporated that idea on Loch Ness Productions shows with a TRY Before You BUY offer. Bring in some test audiences — your friends, supporters, administrators. Then, should you decide to purchase the long-term license from us, we’ll credit the rental fees you paid for the show!

We love hearing from you about what you’re renting, and why. In particular, we’re gratified by the response to some of the more artistic and experimental titles in our listings. So, please take a few moments to let us know how the service is working for you, the effect it has on your ability to offer content, and anything else you’d care to share with us about FULLDOME OnDemand.

Thank you for making 2017 a successful year!

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Top 10 Rentals on FULLDOME OnDemand

Most popular of all rentals!FULLDOME OnDemand has been in business for just over a year, renting streaming shows to fulldome theaters worldwide. The response from users has been quite satisfying, and the base continues to grow as more dome operators discover and try out the service. We are greeted daily with rental notifications, and each month our producer partners whose shows are being rented get paid for their work.

Now that we’ve got a year’s worth of streaming rentals under our belts, we can spot some trends. One that leaps right out is “most popular shows”.  While people have responded well to almost every show we have available, some titles consistently gain a lot of attention. As the market grows, we’re seeing some movies rented over and over again. Here are the top 10 most-rented titles (and their producers) this past year:

1. One World, One Sky (Adler Planetarium)

2. The Little Star That Could (AVI)

3. Dinosaurs at Dusk (Mirage3D)

4. Seasonal STARGAZING (Loch Ness Productions)

5. Moons: Worlds Of Mystery (Museum of Science, Boston)

6. Molecularium (Molecularium Project)

7. Origins of Life (Mirage3D)

8. Chronicle of  Journey to Earth (Albedo Fulldome)

9. Cosmic Origins Spectrograph (Fiske Planetarium)

10. Larry Cat in Space (Loch Ness Productions)

Congrats to the producers of these fine programs!

To those people using the service, we are very grateful for your support!  We love hearing from you about what you’re renting, and why. In particular, we’re quite gratified by the response to some of the more “artistic” and experimental titles in our listings.

And be sure to check out the other popular shows we have online for short-term streaming. We’ve added many good ones this past year, and are planning more releases in the coming months!

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Exploring Uses for Fulldome Streaming

We Get Feedback…

continues to gain new users, and with that growth comes useful feedback from the folks out in the field who are making our service part of their outreach and education efforts. The other day, I had a great conversation with an educator about a show she had just rented. She told me about all the classes she’d be showing it to, and mentioned that it was a godsend to her budget. Her facility had suffered budget cuts and that was affecting her ability to buy long-term licenses to go along with their astronomy lessons.

This is a story we hear over and over again: domes are expected to teach and do outreach, but with less money. It is one of the big reasons why we came up with the FULLDOME OnDemand streaming service in the first place: to provide budget-squeezed fulldome theaters with a way to get the same shows the “big domes” do.

FULLDOME OnDemand as a Preview Service

Our client went on to say that she was also going to rent shows in order to “preview” content for which she could purchase long-term licenses.  This is something that we hoped people would do when we came up with the service. She was specifically going to be previewing a number of shows that would fit into their specific educational framework. “It really helps me and my colleagues a lot,” she said. “We put together a list of shows we want to rent to see which ones will work. Then, we’ll figure out how we can raise some money to buy licenses for the ones we decide on.”

It reminded me of a conversation I had at IMERSA in March with one of the “big dome” operators. He asked me how the streaming service was working. I mentioned we had surveyed our users, some of whom reported using the service to preview shows. He got a thoughtful look on his face. “We have an inflatable dome at the museum,” he said. And, just like that, I could see the light bulb go off in his mind. The next words out of his mouth were “We could use it to preview shows using the service — and even get some audience feedback before we buy long-term licenses.”

At $30 for a three-day rental of one show from our library, it’s a pretty reasonable way to do some audience testing for new titles, and I’m pleased people are doing that. FULLDOME OnDemand isn’t JUST for the little guys; now, some larger facilities are finding it useful, too. When I suggested that he might want to do a mini film festival in his inflatable, our friend just grinned and said, “Yep, I was just thinking that!”

I hope he does it. And, I hope he lets me know how it went.

What’s YOUR story about using FULLDOME OnDemand? We’d love to hear about it!

Also, check out the news about our latest offerings. We’ve added Russian versions of  Hubble Vision 2 and Natural Selection, plus a set of beautiful fulldome shows from Rocco Helmchen and his team. They’re called Switzerland Sojourns, tempus.ruhr, and Liquid/Light/Flow.

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Our First Six Months: Results from a FULLDOME OnDemand Customer Survey

How People Perceive and Use Our Streaming Fulldome Service

Fulldome shows on FULLDOME OnDemand

In fall 2015, we launched FULLDOME OnDemand. It currently offers 50 full-length and short-subject fulldome shows, streaming its 1080p HD videos via the Web. At 1k resolution, it’s obviously ideal for the smaller theaters with single-channel projectors, but as we’ll see later, there are some applications where it could be useful for larger theater purposes too.

We started with the titles that Loch Ness Productions already distributed with long-term licenses. We’ve since been contacted by other producers whose shows we did not distribute long-term, and we’ve added several of their titles too.

We’re happy to report we’ve seen the user base grow steadily, along with their appreciation of affordable content. These streaming rentals are generating a new, additional income for our producer partners, over and above their traditional income from long-term licenses.

We live in an on-demand world — Netflix, Hulu, and Spotify among many — so streaming content isn’t a new idea in the mainstream. However, it was new for fulldome. Nobody else had tried it before. We were the first. We felt pretty innovative to bring streaming content to the fulldome world.

Surveying FULLDOME OnDemand Users

As we grow, we’re interested in who’s using the service and why. So, we sent a short survey to our users. We asked them to tell us about themselves and their facility, what their budgets are, and why they chose FULLDOME OnDemand. In March, Carolyn presented a short summary of the results in Denver, Colorado, at the 2016 IMERSA Summit. Here is some of what she shared.

What Theaters Are Our Users?

FULLDOME OnDemand rentals by institution.

As we expected, the responses confirmed schools are the largest part of the streaming “pie”. This is not surprising, since many smaller facilities are in educational institutions. The second largest block is independent, privately-run portable domes, most traveling around their countries to give presentations to school and civic groups. The remainder are colleges and university facilities, museums and astronomy clubs.

Where In The World?

FULLDOME OnDemand rentals by location.

So far, most of our customers are in the US, but as you can see, there’s been interest from the far corners of the globe. While all our show soundtracks are in English, we are making other language versions available on request, when we can get them. There have been several Polish portables that are good customers. Interestingly, at the IMERSA Summit, we had one producer congratulate us for reaching Oman, a place he said he’d never sold a show to!

What are they Renting?

FULLDOME OnDemand top rentals.

While it’s still early, we’re already seeing some favorite titles emerge, as evidenced by the number of times they get repeatedly rented. So far, our users have rented 33 of the 50 shows we have to offer. We continue to add content, giving users a greater selection.

Popular Genres

FULLDOME OnDemand rentals by genre

Not surprisingly, Earth & Space titles are the most popular, since they’re also the most plentiful. But Arts & Entertainment is a healthy part of the mix, which we find gratifying.


We asked people why they rented the shows they did, and most had very interesting reasons. Some found ways to fit some very specific needs, like the school who rented The Little Star That Could as part of their anti-bullying campaign.

By far the most common refrain was people were now able to present shows they could only dream about before. And, some comments illustrated a use we hoped they’d find — to expand their offerings menu; to try out new and different shows, with little risk.

Whether you’re a producer or a user, below are real-world examples of people given an opportunity — and using it! They contain actual quotes from users with their honest reactions to the service. Very eye-opening.

FULLDOME OnDemand customer reactions 1

FULLDOME OnDemand customer reaction 2

FULLDOME OnDemand customer reaction 3

When we asked customers about their overall annual budgets, the range was from $200 to about $1,000. And, each one said their budget had to cover ALL their operating expenses, so they really had no money for anything else.

This finding allays a fear a few producers had expressed: that people would stop buying long-term licenses and just rent videos instead. It turns out none of these customers could have a bought a license at all. They just didn’t have the money to do so. But, they could afford short-term rentals.

The Big Picture

FULLDOME OnDemand survey summary 1

Our survey results confirmed what we suspected: there WAS a market out there that wasn’t being served. It’s made up of people who want good content but can’t afford it. Now, people whose budgets don’t allow for long-term licenses can afford the price of a pizza to spend on shows.

Best of all, for the producers whose work they rented — there’s now another income stream, where none was before.

Beyond the Little Domes

After we presented these findings at the IMERSA Summit, one staffer from a large dome theater came up to say they were quite intrigued. He said FULLDOME OnDemand could allow their facility to “audience test” shows they were considering buying under long-term license. They would stream shows into their portable dome, for selected public audiences and administrators. It could turn out to be a very cost-effective and immediate way to preview shows.

FULLDOME OnDemand summary slide 2

We urge all producers to consider using FULLDOME OnDemand as the go-to source for screening previews of their shows. Instead of insecurely shipping dome masters around and/or going through all the efforts involved in slicing, just in the hope of making a sale, a producer can simply offer their show through our service and direct potential buyers there. And, producers can get paid in the process, instead of making nothing!

Other discussions at IMERSA centered around the idea of “audience choice” nights in theaters where shows can be streamed. Or, how about Dome Club? Some folks pointed out they could afford to try out entertainment offerings as an alternative to their more-traditional offerings.

FULLDOME OnDemand continues to grow its list of users, and we are incredibly grateful to those who have already used the service, and to our partner producers for sharing our vision. It’s long been a dream for us to get great content into more theaters. Of course, at Loch Ness Productions we love to provide long-term licenses for those who can afford them, too.

Our survey showed that it is indeed possible to grow a new market among overlooked and underfunded venues. As time goes by, we hope people will consider FULLDOME OnDemand for all the other reasons we’ve listed here. It will continue to be a win-win for everybody!

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An Underwater Fantasy in Fulldome

A Fulldome Dive into the Ocean Environment

A wise producer once said two topics are particularly suited for the immersive dome environment: outer space and underwater.

At FULLDOME OnDemand we have them both covered with great titles you can rent anytime you like. For users looking for a trip to the oceans, we have Oceans in Space and Into the Deep. Now, we’ve added a wonderful new show that takes you beneath the waves for a look at the fascinating realm of the reefs: Underwater Fantasy.

Underwater Fantasy posterThis latest release from LivinGlobe Immersive Spaces takes you on a hypnotic visit with the denizens of the coral reefs: corals, fish, turtles, and eels. During the show, a world-record-holding free diver — Ai Futaki — makes several appearances, bringing an ethereal human presence into the ancient home of so many of Earth’s most fascinating life forms.

Underwater Fantasy is a wonderfully relaxing tour of the sea, presented with only evocative music to accompany the peaceful environment of the ocean. When I first saw this show, I thought of all the aquarium tanks I’ve ever seen, wishing I could get in and swim with the fishies and turtles. If you’ve ever snorkeled or done any scuba diving, you already know about the languid feel of being one with the ocean as you explore. This show really takes you there, in glorious HD video, artistically enhanced to fill the dome space.

The show is nearly 49 minutes long in its full version. And, we’ve also made it into three 17-minute segments too, so you can slot a quick trip to the reef into busy presentation sessions if you desire. Consider Underwater Fantasy as part of a lesson on sea life and oceanography. It also makes a great entertainment choice, whether you use the long or the short versions in your dome. We’re pleased to make it available exclusively on FULLDOME OnDemand for you and your audiences!

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