Following the bigger-than-expected crowds at the first part of the DC FanDome event have parent company Warner Bros. wondering how they can more effectively monetize that fan enthusiasm. That likely means the second day of the event, which will be an on-demand presentation on September 12, will have somewhat more attention from AT&T and WarnerMedia than did the previous installment. Accoridng to Ann Sarnoff, head of WarnerMedia Studios and Networks Group, the enthusiasm engendered by FanDome went well beyond dyed-in-the-wool comics fans and had a noticeable impact on HBO Max, the company's new streaming platform and one of its biggest corporate priorities.
Sarnoff said in a newly-released interview that the event had spiked interest in its existing films on HBO Max, and that corporate was taking notice, and hoped to capitalize on that enthusiasm going forward. Next weekend's event seems a likely first outlet for such a strategy.
"After FanDome, we saw viewership of our DC movies pop on HBO Max," Sarnoff told Variety. "We're using all our businesses to drive new businesses."
FanDome was born out of the novel coronavirus pandemic and the resulting cancellation of Comic Con International in San Diego, but while Comic-Con's YouTube and social media metrics were significantly lower than expected, FanDome blew away expectations, and the film industry has taken note.
Originally, FanDome was intended to drop all of its content in one day, but at the last minute, WarnerMedia elected to split it up, focusing on feature films and video games in August, with the TV and comics content largely put off until September. Over the course of the two-day event, nearly 500 cast members and producers from DC properties were engaged.
The thing about FanDome becoming a potential commercial hit in and of itself is that it was originally designed as a promotional event, with Warner likely open to taking a small loss in order to generate buzz for its upcoming projects. Instead, it seems like the ecstatic response has them scrambling to take advantage of a good thing -- a situation relatively rare to WB and DC, who have found themselves chasing the Marvel Cinematic Universe's financial success for a decade.
"It’s clear we have a very big fan base that wants to stay very connected to us," Sarnof told Variety. "We're going to keep doing it in the spirit of super-serving fans and then see if there's a way to monetize it."
Of course, the obvious way to do that might arguably be DC Universe, DC's own not-HBO-branded streaming service, which saw big layoffs during Warner's recent round of cuts and seems to be headed for a future where original content is virtually nil.
The second half of DC FanDome is coming on September 12. Keep your eyes on ComicBook.com for more details.