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re: We don’t understand the model that works
Posted by: JereNYC (JereNYC@aol.com) 12:22 pm EDT 04/01/21
In reply to: re: We don’t understand the model that works - ryhog 11:38 am EDT 04/01/21

I totally get what you're saying, but from a pure business perspective, the objective is to make money. And, if a production needs to run 3-5 years to recoup the investment or could run 1 year and sell a filmed version of the show to a streaming service, it seems to me that the version of events that includes the streaming service is the better bet. I write this knowing that actual numbers are going to vary from production to production. And running for year, even six months, on Broadway isn't nothing and it's a big leap to "why bother opening on Broadway at all," although, of course, we already have productions produced for television that have never played on Broadway. And any production that was a big enough hit would certainly run for as long as the audiences are there for it, so you'd probably still get some shows with multi-year runs.

And I absolutely get that watching a stage production on video is not your personal thing. And I agree that it's not the same. But a lot of people would disagree with you and would happily watch shows on Netflix or wherever. If I lived in some part of the world that was not convenient to New York, I would absolutely treasure the opportunity to watch professionally shot videos of some of the new work from a season that I was not able to get to New York and see anything live in person.

I also agree that the reason people who make theatre do that, rather than making money in some easier way, is that they LOVE live theatre. Yep, I don't think that's even a question. But they'd still be making live theatre. It's not an "or," it's an "and." (As the Baker's Wife might say.)

The potential fly in the ointment here is that production that is planning a year's run and has a video deal in place and then opens to terrible reviews and dismal ticket sales. Does the video production still happen or would that be contingent on a certainly level of business? If the production closes prematurely, perhaps the entire investment would be lost, but that would also be the case without the video deal. If the video production still went forward, at least whatever is earned from that could be returned to investors, but they'd likely still lose money, but maybe they'd lose less? I don't know. That's why I'm so interested in new business models for Broadway...the only way to see what works is to give it a go and see what happens.
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