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National Theatre Live Broadcasts - costs and audience numbers, food for thought for ballet transmissions


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There is an article inthe Sunday Times of 3 November all about the costs of live cinema broadcasts of productions, the audiences the NT is able to reach, and the financial implications. It is behind the paywall, if you have paid-for access it is worth a look.

 

I thought it might be of interest from a ballet perspective since the costs of broadcasting might be in some way similar, or a least give us a broad idea about the economics of the process.  

 

Since the first "NT Live" broadcast (Helen Mirren in Phedre), NT Live has reached 2M viewers worldwide.  NT Live has not yet equalled the audiences for performances in the actual theatre building.  In 2012/3 500,000 people watched plays via NT Live vs. 760,000 live in the building.  But the view is that it is only a matter of time before broadcast viewing exceeds the in-Theatre viewers. It already has for some popular productions (Alan Bennet's People had marginally more viewers in the cinema than in house).  (NT Live also covers some productions in other theatres, not just the NT).

 

According to the NT it costs about £250,000 to stage a broadcast, maybe up to £300,000 for a complicated one (plus satellite costs).  However, it is pointed out that the screening of The Audience (Helen Mirren again) earned £590,000 in Australia alone.   Not all productions might be as popular as this however.

 

I assume the costs for recording and transmitting ballet might well be greater because of the larger number of performers and musicians involved, but it is interesting to have a point of comparison.

 

Moderators - please move this into a more appropriate thread if there is one.

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Gosh, I'd no idea that it was so expensive to broadcast a theatre production. I wonder how many broadcasts actually make money. Is income for the theatre related to ticket sales in the cinemas or to the number of cinemas showing the broadcasts?

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I've opted to move this topic into 'General Discussions' as I feel it touches on something that seems sure to become more and more significant as regards theatre-going of all kinds.  Kasper Holten, the Royal Opera's Director, raised it in an article for the New York Times on 30 October (in Links that day) and he too believes that the streaming audience will soon be larger than that in the house itself:

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/30/arts/international/a-different-grandness-for-covent-garden.html?_r=5&pagewanted=all&

 

The use of 'encore' screenings will certainly increase audiences for popular shows and, presumably, the revenues of the house concerned - I've seen both Hamlet and The Audience in these in the last few weeks.  And it would be interesting to hear something of the NY Met's experience, as I think it started this trend.

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To stray somewhat from the title of this thread, did anyone see last night's live broadcast of the RSC's Richard II from Stratford-on-Avon, with David Tennant as Richard? I saw it at the Vue in Westfield, and was duly stunned. Lack of any knowledge of this particular  play made the first act virtually impenetrable for me, but Act II required no former knowledge to bring it into blazing life, thanks to David Tennant's amazing performance. It was an extraordinary achievement, funny, sad and fierce by turns - I felt fortunate to have seen it.  Fascinating too to see the set and lighting designers explain how they achieved their striking and elegant effects; stage design, it seems owes less than we think to technology.

 

More than well worth a visit if and when the recorded re-play is shown in the usual cinemas.

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To stray somewhat from the title of this thread, did anyone see last night's live broadcast of the RSC's Richard II from Stratford-on-Avon, with David Tennant as Richard? I saw it at the Vue in Westfield, and was duly stunned. Lack of any knowledge of this particular  play made the first act virtually impenetrable for me, but Act II required no former knowledge to bring it into blazing life, thanks to David Tennant's amazing performance. It was an extraordinary achievement, funny, sad and fierce by turns - I felt fortunate to have seen it.  Fascinating too to see the set and lighting designers explain how they achieved their striking and elegant effects; stage design, it seems owes less than we think to technology.

 

More than well worth a visit if and when the recorded re-play is shown in the usual cinemas.

 

I'm going to see it in January at the Barbican, just hoping and praying the weather and train situation will be okay, there's so much on in January!

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To stray somewhat from the title of this thread, did anyone see last night's live broadcast of the RSC's Richard II from Stratford-on-Avon, with David Tennant as Richard? I saw it at the Vue in Westfield, and was duly stunned. Lack of any knowledge of this particular  play made the first act virtually impenetrable for me, but Act II required no former knowledge to bring it into blazing life, thanks to David Tennant's amazing performance. It was an extraordinary achievement, funny, sad and fierce by turns - I felt fortunate to have seen it.  Fascinating too to see the set and lighting designers explain how they achieved their striking and elegant effects; stage design, it seems owes less than we think to technology.

 

More than well worth a visit if and when the recorded re-play is shown in the usual cinemas.

 

Didn't know it was on, but then what's new with the Odeon (especially since I can't get on their newly-redesigned site anyway).

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