We Got ‘Hamilton.’ Why Can’t We Stream Every Broadway Show?

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MTI has also partnered with the ticketing company ShowTix4U and Broadway Media Distribution to bundle licensing, ticketing, streaming and collecting royalties — making the process easier for schools, for example.

There are three basic types of streaming. Livestreaming is the closest you get to an appointment theatrical experience: you watch a show as it unfolds live, usually by purchasing a ticket or making a donation ahead of time.

With scheduled streaming, audience members watch a recording of a show at a specific time. Finally there is streaming on demand, which is either a subscription model à la Netflix or timed access where customers buy a ticket and have, say, 48 hours to watch the show.

“Each show we license might have different options,” Prignano said. “Some only offer livestreaming, others only offer live and scheduled streaming, etc. If a show has a movie deal or an impending movie deal, it’s more difficult to get streaming rights, and it’ll be really difficult to get on-demand.”

“We have enough in the pipeline to take us well into next year, when we can start shooting again,” said Bonnie Comley, the co-founder and co-CEO Broadway HD — which adds about four titles (older and newer, with a heavy preponderance of British productions) to its roster per month.

Producers are also looking at ways to capture shows performed in front of empty or socially distanced houses. Actors’ Equity Association is in the process of reviewing pandemic-prompted agreements, including for Zoom shows, that were released in March.

“One was to allow theaters to exhibit online archives of their productions, another to allow producers to do remote work,” said Lawrence Lorczak, a senior business representative for the union. “We’re in the middle of reviewing the terms for those two to make them more accessible for the producers and theaters.”



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