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In the months since the COVID-19 pandemic made in-person events like comics conventions and other entertainment expos unsafe, various organizers have been doing their best to make virtual substitutes as big and engaging as they can possibly be. Last weekend, DC FanDome seemed to set a new standard for how that can be done, and now they've got the numbers to prove it.
DC Entertainment announced Wednesday that the global streaming event — which broadcast eight hours of content three times over the course of a single day and featured movie and video game trailers, TV panels, and comic book announcements — brought in a whopping 22 million views from fans watching in 220 territories around the world. The event was also a hit on social media, where FanDome wound up trending on Twitter in 53 different markets.
FanDome, billed as a 24-hour exclusive experience that would vanish after its daylong window, had been built up for months by DC and Warner Bros. as a kind of ultimate virtual experience for fans, featuring everything from much-anticipated movie trailer releases to fan art critiques and cosplay displays. The event was initially supposed to contain several different virtual venues fans could choose between, but days before the launch, DC instead decided to break FanDome into two distinct events. This past Saturday's streaming event focused on the "Hall of Heroes" content — including the release of some of the company's most high-profile trailers — while the upcoming September 12 follow-up will focus more on comics, fandom, and children's activities.
That last-minute decision, though unexpected, seems to have paid off, because all the viewer focus which had been built up for weeks through teasers and concept art was suddenly entirely on the Hall of Heroes and its many major movie events. Through footage reveals for films like Wonder Woman 1984, The Suicide Squad, Zack Snyder's Justice League, and The Batman, the event also racked up 150 million views for its various trailer releases, encouraging even more trending on YouTube and social media.
The event's success stands in contrast to the somewhat mixed response San Diego Comic-Con's "Comic-Con@Home" event received last month through its virtual panels, which were presented as pre-recorded YouTube content that could be scrolled through at any time. Through a combination of scarcity via a 24-hour limit, the presence of major stars like Gal Gadot and Dwayne Johnson, and the promise of tangible drops of new footage teased in advance of the event, FanDome managed to avoid some of Comic-Con@Home's perceived missteps, paving the way forward for future virtual events to attempt to recapture this kind of attention and enthusiasm.