The world has been going through a rough time with the pandemic. COVID has changed our way of life and put a lot of different industries at risk. And one in particular that is suffering is the theatre. It seems a lot of countries are abandoning the arts, and letting live theaters go down the drain.
But during the lockdown, we saw something incredible happen. Hamilton was released on Disney Plus. All the glitz and glamour of a Broadway show from the comfort of your home. But it raised some serious questions about the arts and elitism. And we want to examine that today as we ask, going forward, should all Live Theater be Live Streamed?
The magic of theatre is that it happens live. Seeing the character brought to life before our very eyes. Nothing separates us from the action. But there is also a lot of gatekeeping involved here. Theaters try to make themselves accessible for disabled customers, and they have done a good job of it. But even then the numbers that are allowed in for any show are limited. And going to the theatre is expensive for some people.
But despite all this, the theater community seemingly refuses to start putting their shows online, be through recording or live streaming. But why? Let us examine some of the issues the theaters are worried about.
The logic is that if all these shows are available online, will people still go to the theater. But this argument falls down the moment you examine it. This infographic by Compactclick shows up that 80% of people who currently attend the theater regularly will still go if the shows were also available online.
In fact, our studies have shown that if these shows were available online, theaters’ income would increase by almost triple what is currently is. The shows could be done on a pay-per-view basis, letting viewers still feel like they are in the theater as they watch it live.
Of course, this does open up these shows to more piracy than currently happens. Before people who wanted to record a show illegally were limited in the quality of it. But if the shows are being presented in a digital format already, it makes their job a lot easier.
But the sad truth of any media is there will always be those who seek to pirate the material. Movies, TV, Music. Theater is no different. But the important thing is to discount those people who are planning to pirate media when making decisions. By fighting agains piracy by restricting access, the only people you are hurting is actual customers.
Should It Be Done
Our opinion is: Yes. We have no idea how long this pandemic will go on for. And if theaters are to survive they need to adapt and change. By moving to a live streaming platform a theater could start putting on shows as soon as tommorow. While they might be performed to an empty theater, they will be packed out by online viewers.
It is also a great way to get people back into theater. If someone has more access to the shows, they could be encouraged to go in person when the oppertunity arises again. In terms of marketing, it is a solid strategy that will bring in hundreds of new customers. Whereas right now the gatekeeping attitude of the arts community is putting people off.