DC’s FanDome Was a Huge Success
As we all know, COVID-19 has put a lot of things on hold. Or companies are having to find alternate ways to hold events using virtual means. Well, that’s exactly what Warner Bros. did with all the DC content set to premiere. Since Comic-Con is impossible during this time, they hosted the DC FanDome event, a virtual gathering of fans from all over the world to enjoy typical convention things. This added up to an eight-hour streaming event. And it paid off.
The event had 22 million views from fans in 220 countries in its run of 24 hours. The trailers released during the event—including Wonder Woman 1984 and The Batman—already have over 150 million views. FanDome was trending on Twitter over 53 markets, and on YouTube in 82 markets.
Lisa Gregorian, Warner Bros. TV Group president and chief marketing officer, told Variety, “We really wanted to put together an event that would super-serve the fans.”
Fans were able to participate via the in-house player, live streams by influencers, and other fan-generated content from the event.
How Did They Pull FanDome Off?
Gregorian worked with Blair Rich, president of worldwide marketing for Warner Bros. Pictures Group. The idea for a virtual event started in April, as events all over the country were cancelled or postponed. They still wanted to have something to give the fans content. So they went to the pros.
Rich and Gregorian went to marketing employees from every division of Warner Bros. that worked with DC—TV, movies, video games, comics, etc.—to find some way to pull of what was essentially a virtual convention. Two decisions came about immediately: it needed to be global and it couldn’t look like a Zoom meeting.
FanDome streamed for 24 hours so that time zone wouldn’t be a factor when streaming. They also streamed in nine languages: English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian, German, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.
To give FanDome the feel of a virtual destination, DC chief creative officer Jim Lee designed the virtual Hall of Heroes stage. The company sent special filming kits to panelists and hosts, which included green screens and instructions on how to film themselves. They needed their whole body in the shot, and to appear as if they were standing on the Hall of Heroes stage. They had the panels shoot for just two weeks toward the end of July, with over 300 panels included. The production team had just three weeks to put it all together. But they did!
In their original idea, Rich and Gregorian wanted a part of the event to showcase merchandise, games, and cosplay, but it proved to be too much.
How Does This Affect Future Conventions?
Rich and Gregorian both said that FanDome was successful because of the greater reach it had. There was no way to accomplish that with an in-person convention. But there were also limitations to the programming, so things ended up being left out that you would see at a traditional convention. There were even some panels they didn’t have room for.
That being said, those panels will have their chance. On September 12, they will release Explore the Multiverse to give those panels their airtime. It will also stream for 24 hours and then will be gone.
They do plan to host more events like FanDome in the future, though. With no clear idea of when large gatherings will be safe again, it’s the best choice all around. There is no set plan for a post-vaccine world, either, though. They don’t plan on ditching in-person conventions altogether, however.
“There’s a place for both,” Gregorian told Variety. “I don’t think one negates the other. I just think that under the circumstances that we were in we were able to come up with a solution for how to stay connected with our fans.”
What do you guys think? Virtual conventions or in-person? Let us know in the comments!