FULLDOME OnDemand and a Paradigm Shift

We Hear from Our Customers…

A FULLDOME OnDemand poster of offerings.

Our current FDOD offerings in one handy poster!

After a few months of operation renting fulldome shows to customers around the world through FULLDOME OnDemand we’ve noticed a paradigm shift in people’s thinking about fulldome content. In some cases, it’s not quite what we anticipated, but it’s all still good!

For example, we’re hearing from customers who travel around with portable systems, saying, “We provide our clients a list of our programs that we have for them to choose from, so we would like to add all of your programs available through FULLDOME OnDemand service to our program list. Do we have the ability to use the promotional images on our marketing materials?”

Others are being quite audacious; they’re already putting show posters on their Web sites, even before they rent the movies. This has caused raised eyebrows from at least one concerned producer, who contacted us wondering “How can they be advertising shows they have not bought?”

Well, what used to be a “gotcha” method to help us discover who had actually purchased long-term licenses now has a different meaning. When a theater is using FULLDOME OnDemand, that’s not a bug — it’s a feature! People can now tell their audiences what they can show them, and when a group selects a show, the theater operator has only to rent the show they chose to see. It’s actually quite elegant.

When you stop and think about it, what we’re doing is really no different from what Amazon or Netflix (or Google) does. Now for all practical purposes, every FULLDOME OnDemand customer can ballyhoo the fact they have 50+ shows on tap. And it’s true — as long as their Internet connection and credit card balance holds up. The posters they create simply indicate what movies are available to show, not that they’ve actually bought traditional licenses and are running them all. At one customer’s request, we created a poster for the purpose (which you can download here). If you’re a user who wants to tout what you can rent from us, here you go. Just be sure to check the latest show additions and changes.

We checked in with one producer about this practice of advertising what’s available. He told us: “Frankly, I would encourage a user of FULLDOME OnDemand to advertise all of the shows as being available. I would think that it would be good marketing practice, and not at all deceiving, to do so.”

So, yet another paradigm shift comes to light with the use of FULLDOME OnDemand. Theaters have never had this kind of capability before. It really is kind of humbling and exciting to think that we’ve enabled them with new models and possibilities. It makes our day when we get a comment like this one: “I would love to be able to advertise all your shows to give the customers a selection. I have to say that this is a GREAT opportunity for us and one that will allow us to build an even greater relationship in working with LNP.”

Thanks to the Producers!

Our producers deserve a GREAT deal of thanks for their faith in this service, despite the many questions we all have about how well it works and where it fits into the hierarchy of licensing structures. It is a whole NEW way of thinking about content and how to get it to new audiences — and that has required us all to make a leap of faith. We are incredibly grateful to all the producers who are on the service — and the new ones who contact us with their content to license. We intend to add more shows, and welcome discussions with producers looking for ways to get their content “out there”. That second income stream is beckoning!

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FULLDOME OnDemand Goes International

FULLDOME OnDemand screen grab

Now that we have most of the fulldome shows in our distribution catalog available for rent on FULLDOME OnDemand, we’re turning our focus to the requests we’ve gotten from our international customers for shows in their languages.

There are currently more than 40 fulldome titles on our service. For each one, we make the show and the trailer available, in both prewarped and fisheye formats. When you start to consider other languages, some titles have ten or more translations. In all the formats and versions, well… it’s a ton of movies to encode and upload! For now, we’re asking FULLDOME OnDemand users to help us prioritize what we work on first.

When you select any show page on FULLDOMEOnDemand.com, you now see two choices below the “RENT NOW” button: “US ENGLISH” and “OTHER LANGUAGES”. Selecting either one gets you the menu of the shows we have posted already. If you see the language you want, great! Rent and stream it!

If not, select “Don’t see the language you want? Ask for it!” for a quick fill-in form to let us know you are interested in renting it. If the show exists in the language you want (and we can get it), we will post it as soon as we can and send an email letting you know it’s ready to rent. It really is Fulldome On Demand!

We’re just starting out with this service, of course. We always planned on expanding the repertoire to include international titles, as well as some shows from producers we don’t already distribute.

Thanks for your support!

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Introducing FULLDOME OnDemand

Fulldome Joins the Streaming Revolution!

FULLDOME OnDemand page

All fulldome theater professionals know there’s a world of marvelous content available to share with their audiences — wonderful videos on wide-ranging topics from astronomy and space science to marine biology, chemistry, geology, mathematics, music, and much more. Until now, they’ve only been available via traditional licensing structures requiring 1- to 50-year licenses, at a commensurate cost. Fine for those theaters that can make long-term commitments in time and cost, but not all can.

What if we came up with a new way to access all this great available content, with prices even the smallest theater can afford?

FULLDOME OnDemand is our answer. It provides short-term streaming rentals at astoundingly affordable prices.

FULLDOME OnDemand began when we found out about a new streaming video service provider. “I got an e-mail blast from an indie filmmaker, wanting me to buy his video online through VHX.TV,” says Mark C. Petersen, Loch Ness Productions president. “I investigated, and found out the hosting company also does rentals of HD videos. Gee, 1080p videos are what we use with our spherical mirror setup… Aha!”

Here was a way to respond to the many requests we get for lower license fees and shorter-term licenses. For much of the summer, we worked to encode shows for streaming, and to create the Web pages for our FULLDOME OnDemand site. We tested the idea with selected planetarians, and the feedback was very encouraging.

The result is an initial offering of 40+ shows from our catalog, now available for online streaming, with more on the way.

Who Can Use FULLDOME OnDemand?

Definiti PDe-Planetarium Newtonian

To start off, we expect the two prime market demographics for FULLDOME OnDemand are the theaters with spherical mirror systems, and the “1K” fisheye-lens projectors. The 1080p movie sizes are what make streaming practical.

Mark says he expects that larger theaters will eventually want to jump in on the streaming revolution too. “Of course, we all have a thirst for ever-higher resolution. Yet in many areas today, it’s still a challenge to access enough Internet bandwidth for smooth 1080p video streaming, let alone 2K or 4K. So for now, our streaming infrastructure is in place at HD resolution. But we know the future holds more promise, and when the pipeline capacity is available, we’ll all be looking to upgrade our capabilities. Moreover, 1080p may be enough resolution for some purposes, such as previewing shows for administrators.”

Fulldome shows for the cost of an average pizza…

$10 billCertainly the FULLDOME OnDemand price point is intriguing: for most shows, it’s $30 for a 3-day rental period — basically $10/day. It’s actually based on deep analysis of current licensing fees. “It turns out that’s what many people are paying already,” Mark says, “but they’re currently paying it all up front when they order licenses.”

He did some math, using the prices set by producers for the most common license, the 10-year variety. You can see them on each show’s License Prices page. “For the smaller theaters, the prime demographic for FULLDOME OnDemand, licenses cost about $5,000 on average,” Mark pointed out. “Let’s say someone buys a license and plays the show once a week over that 10 years. 500 plays for $5,000 is $10 per play.”

Based on that analysis, we used that price as our starting point, and added the bonus of being able to play the show as often as desired during the 72-hour rental period.

Affordable? Absolutely!

But, as Mark points out, there are more philosophical advantages to FULLDOME OnDemand. “This service opens up a portal to a vast universe of possibilities for theaters, especially the smaller ones,” said Mark. “It used to be that, in the past, they would have needed to save up their budgets for years just to get only one show. Now they can afford dozens of shows, all right now! We’ve turned the whole content acquisition model upside down for them. With streaming, little theaters suddenly have access to more affordable content than even big theaters have. The smallest ones used to be the poorest, content-wise, and now they can be the richest!”

“This could be the start of something big!”

pizza“With access to as many shows as they want, whenever they want, for the cost of a pizza — what creative planetarian could NOT figure out a way to do great things with this new capability?” asked Mark.

He points out the biggest effect FULLDOME OnDemand may have on the field is still to be seen. “Theaters could run their own fulldome festivals. They could program ‘Audience Choice’ nights. They could use short-term rentals to preview shows for their administrators and test audiences, as they figure out which long-term licenses to buy. On the entertainment side, ‘Dome Club’ nights become more practical, both for theaters and producers. We could take a cue from the cinema world, and offer special day-and-date releases and premieres for new fulldome features. I look forward to seeing what our colleagues are inspired to do using FULLDOME OnDemand!”

In the long run, streaming video for fulldome enables theater operators, empowering them to take chances, expand their role in the community, to add more and different shows in addition to their time-honored astronomy outreach titles. No longer are fulldome theaters limited to their astronomy mission — the sky is MORE than the limit!

We invite you to visit FULLDOME OnDemand to try out this new service!

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