## Re: Planetarium Capacity

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• ... Here s real esoterica -- and I m probably the only person in the world who s wacky enough to figure this out. My answer is: there are at least 200,000
Message 1 of 17 , Dec 30, 2004
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At 04:55 PM 12/30/2004, Ryan Wyatt <ryan@...> entreated:

>Hmmm. I probably would have phrased the question as, "How many seats are
>in fulldome theaters versus the total number of seats?"

Here's real esoterica -- and I'm probably the only person in the world
who's wacky enough to figure this out. My answer is: there are at least
200,000 planetarium seats in the world; 178,000 by actual count, a guess
for the "unknown" category. 11,000 of those seats are in fulldome-capable
theaters. My caculater (as it's pronounced in Kentucky, not that I live
there) says that's 5.5 percent. I had previously said the 100 fulldome
theaters made up "3 percent, give or take" of the planetarium population.

>Yeah, this past year's was probably more like 1 million, but I don't count
>those beans, and I haven't asked for a recent tally.

Consider it requested, then. :-) I'm sure I'm not the only one who'd be
interested to know.

>>I did set a filter to run my "Worldwide Attendance" estimator using only
>>fulldome theaters. It came up with 6 million U.S., and 6 million
>>International. So 100 fulldome theaters could be potentially serving 12
>>million people. Overall, it estimates worldwide planetarium attendance
>>at 3000 theaters as 94 million (fulldome and not together). Can one
>>conclude that fulldome theaters are four times more successful? I'd be
>>hesitant to draw *that* conclusion from the data accumulation I have.
>
>Hmmm. How many fulldome theaters report *actual* attendance? Can you say
>that X fulldome theaters report attendance of x million people annually?

Well, given your previous beans, "actual" has to be somewhat relative.
:-o Again, I welcome more data points, official or quasi.

However, yes, I can say that 34 fulldome-capable planetaria have non-blank
attendance figures in my database. Summing those, I get 5.5 million.

Now, as for which year a theater's attendance report applies, again, I
haven't kept track of that. Let's say I have a figure from a theater
submitted before a fulldome renovation. That's the figure I'm still using
today, if they haven't reported anything since. Well, what can I
do? That's part and parcel of relying on volunteered (and
non-incentivized!) data.

I should say that Griffith's entry is arguable. I have them as a fulldome
capable theater (which they are, in their temporary dome, and will be when
they're done reconstructing). But I also have their seating at 609, and
attendance of 200,000 -- which is from their old theater, now
closed. Perhaps someone from there can update me more officially.

So, what can one conclude from all this, I wonder?

Note to Joyce Towne -- I'd be happy to include annual attendance figures
for those China and Mexico theaters, if someone could provide them. Of
course, they need to be open at least a full year in order to accumulate an
annual figure <g>.

>> Mark

______________________________________________
Mark C. Petersen mark@...
Loch Ness Productions http://www.lochness.com
__________________________ GEODESIUM _________
• ... Hello All! Another issue that needs to be factored in (as retail stores do) is the bubble created by the attendance during the first year of operation
Message 2 of 17 , Dec 31, 2004
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"Mark C. Petersen" <mark@...> writes:
>However, yes, I can say that 34 fulldome-capable planetaria have
>non-blank attendance figures in my database. Summing those,
>I get 5.5 million.

>Now, as for which year a theater's attendance report applies, again, I
>haven't kept track of that. Let's say I have a figure from a theater
>submitted before a fulldome renovation.

Hello All!

Another issue that needs to be factored in (as retail stores do) is the
"bubble" created by the attendance during the first year of operation (or
renovation), which is often the largest. It would be great if both an
average attendance and peak year attendance could be included (sorry,
Mark!), so that we could get a better estimate of what real continuing
attendance would be.

Happy Holidays!
Larry
***************************************
Larry A. Ciupik
Astronomer
1300 S. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, Illinois 60605
Email: ciupik@...
• ... Well, how s this for a New Year s resolution, then? I will add another field in my database to keep track of the year an attendance report is submitted.
Message 3 of 17 , Dec 31, 2004
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At 12:08 PM 12/31/2004, Larry Ciupik <lciupik@...> chimed in with:

>Another issue that needs to be factored in (as retail stores do) is the
>"bubble" created by the attendance during the first year of operation (or
>renovation), which is often the largest. It would be great if both an
>average attendance and peak year attendance could be included (sorry,
>Mark!), so that we could get a better estimate of what real continuing
>attendance would be.

Well, how's this for a New Year's resolution, then? I will add another
field in my database to keep track of the year an attendance report is
submitted. Then, when the figure shows up in the LNP Planetarium
Compendium, it could say "Attendance: 123,456 (2004)" instead of the
current "123,456 annual visitors".

Potentially, this would also allow for filtering to be applied, such as
limiting counts to facilities with recently supplied data.

However, what you're asking for (peak year attendance) can't really be
figured unless one keeps track *over the years* of a facility's
performance. That's pretty much beyond the scope of what Loch Ness
Productions can do.

"honeymoon" period was, and how the inevitable "sophomore slump" numbers
compared. In order for me to provide the data you requested, everyone else
would have to provide those sorts of figures too, out of the goodness of
their hearts. And for it all to be meaningful, one would desire a
side-by-side comparison of those theaters, so one could see, for instance,
how well or poorly one's own theater compares with others. What do you
suppose are the chances that every theater would post their own accumulated
yearly attendance figures on their Web sites?

Yeah, I kinda think so too :-)

Happy New Year, all!

>> Mark

______________________________________________
Mark C. Petersen mark@...
Loch Ness Productions http://www.lochness.com
__________________________ GEODESIUM _________
• ... I can t speak to since fulldome s introduction (and just exactly when was that, exactly, anyway? :-)) But actually, David, sizewize, I d say your
Message 4 of 17 , Jan 2, 2005
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At 09:33 AM 12/31/2004, David Beining relayed:

>any antecodotals on dome size to seat count ratios since
>fulldome's introduction? I designed L* specifically for fulldome and
>felt (and feel) you can't put seats too close to the springline. So,
>we're way below Mark's standards with a 55-ft (17M) dome with 150 seats
>(our mini-pit occupies 6 seats for a utilitarian single-channel
>projector).

I can't speak to "since fulldome's introduction" (and just exactly when was
that, exactly, anyway? :-)) But actually, David, sizewize, I'd say your
theater's "exceedingly average" :-) -- although the last update form I'd
received from L* said 135 as the seating capacity; I'll revise
accordingly. 100,000 annual attendance still good?

Non-anecdotally, here's the physics I was referring to: the average number
of seats under various dome diameters (in meters). The columns should line
up if you're viewing this message with a fixed-width font.

U.S. Avg Fulldome only
------ --- -------------
21-up: 348 427
18-21: 206 179
15-18: 140 159
12-15: 102 95
9-12: 66 70
6-9: 46 27
3-6: 24 8

Int'l. Avg Fulldome only
------ --- -------------
21-up: 286 337
18-21: 234 186
15-18: 175 121
12-15: 114 109
9-12: 73 71
6-9: 42 ?
3-6: 17 ?

One could deduce that the really big fulldome theaters are squeezing 'em in
tighter.

In my previous message, I'd said the average 18-21m dome had 280 seats;
what I should have said <g> was "18m and up"; I'd set the filter to
"Domesize >= 18". The breakdown listed above refines the split point a bit.

>> Mark

______________________________________________
Mark C. Petersen mark@...
Loch Ness Productions http://www.lochness.com
__________________________ GEODESIUM _________
• Sorry this is coming back so late, but perhaps I can contribute. We track this (calling it Occupancy Rate) for both of our theaters. Historically Planetarium
Message 5 of 17 , Jan 28, 2005
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Sorry this is coming back so late, but perhaps I can contribute. We track this (calling it Occupancy Rate) for both of our theaters. Historically

Planetarium is at about 38% Occupancy rate with an annual attendance of about 80,000
IMAX is at 45% Occupancy rate with an annual attendance of about 170,000

So I'd say your numbers are really right on line.

Clear Skies,

Todd

Todd K. Slisher
Director of Science Programs
Detroit Science Center
5020 John R Street
Detroit, MI 48202
Tslisher@...

=====

I've been asked by our new Deputy Director for Marketing for what capacity our planetarium is current operating at. [...] I'm afraid if I just tell him we're running at 43% capacity without any context, that it will reflect poorly on the planetarium. So my question is what capacity does your theater run at and how does this compare to other similar theaters (i.e. Imax) - how does this compare to the capacity of movie theaters? (I've recently read that movie theaters may run at as little as 12-15% due to an overenthusiastic building boom).
• ... Thanks Todd, from what little info I ve been able to gether, it seems that planetariums and large format theater seems to operate roughly in the 25-35%
Message 6 of 17 , Jan 28, 2005
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> So I'd say your numbers are really right on line.

Thanks Todd, from what little info I've been able to gether, it seems that planetariums and large format theater seems to operate roughly in the 25-35% range, so ours is not unusual.

=====
Kevin Conod
kdconod@...
• My understanding is that a 40% average of capacity is a good planning bench mark to ensure that you can handle the peaks. It may look like inefficient use of
Message 7 of 17 , Jan 28, 2005
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My understanding is that a 40% average of capacity is a good planning bench mark to ensure that you can handle the peaks. It may look like inefficient use of seats but if you end up turning away lots of motivated customers at peak periods that translates into a real loss of potential revenue.

Tom Clarke
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