Disruptive Concepts for the Dome, by Markus Shäfer - 11th Fulldome Festival Diary

Markus Schäfer is an old friend of the Jena's Fulldome Festival who entered the world of fulldome productions with Tabaluga – a cartoon-based music show for the dome. Markus is really dedicated to the fulldome format and this year he was also picked as a member of the Festival Jury. As a co-founder of the content dome GmbH and HO3RRAUM Media GbR, Markus effectively promotes the dome by turning well-established content and entertainment brands into high and round productions. His latest project focuses on audioplays – something that had gained widespread popularity in Germany throughout the years. In fact, audioplays have been a vital part of the German culture since 1965. There's no other country in the world where audio plays play a bigger role, especially for kids who are growing up listening to audio stories on a variety of devices. In today's Europe, Sony Music Entertainment leads the market for audioplays (40% market share), and Germany alone drives an industry of 70M USD per year.

Audio plays have a long history in Germany, and are loved by both children and grown-ups.
Photo credit: Markus Schäfer

Audioplays are dramatized, purely acoustic performances. With no visual component, radio drama depends on dialogues, music and sound effects to help the listener imagine the characters and story. It is auditory in the physical dimension but equally powerful as a visual force in the psychological dimension, and "Die Drei"/"Three Investigators" is the finest example of these media. Debuted in 1979, these audioplay series comprises 187 episodes and are #1 on the globe. The secret of their popularity can be explained by a wide target group. Originally the stories were written for kids at the age of 7-13 years, but they also are cultic for students and adults up to the age of around 40 who grew up with the stories and still love listening to them. Today there're 46 million audio stories sold in 11 countries, two spin-off movies (2007 and 2009), 220,000 Facebook followers, 200,000 app installs, 500,000 Pis on the website per month - these are great evidence of the series' popularity. After exporting these audio plays to CDs and Spotify, Markus got the idea of bringing the story to the planetarium environment and chose the 3D-spatialsound technology to make the most out of it.

New episodes of Three Investigators played in planetariums.
Photo credit: Markus Schäfer

With his business venture, the team decided to develop 3 unreleased episodes of "The Three Investigators," about 90 minutes each, demonstrated as a joint listening experience for three months three times per week at Planetarium Hamburg. All in all, so far the episodes were watched by 100,000 visitors in 7 planetariums: Planetarium Hamburg (253 seats), Mediendom Kiel (63), Zeiss Planetarium Bochum (260), Planetarium Mannheim (235), Zeiss Grossplanetarium Berlin (307), Planetarium Wolfsburg (100), Zeiss Planetarium Jena (261). Those who couldn't make it to the planetarium will get a chance to enjoy stereo recordings of the show.

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