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Thursday July 31, 2014

Broadway Takes a Cue from Opera’s Live HD Broadcasts

The Broadway Theatre, showing the musical The ...

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Using the Metropolitan Opera’s HD broadcasts as a model, a new company, Broadway Near You, plans to produce three to five theater broadcasts this year. Brooklyn-based BY Experience is also creating on three U.S. theater productions. The company distributes broadcasts for the Met and the National Theatre in London.

While some feared that broadcasts would deter people from going to the theater, producers and unions are starting to like the idea, seeing the enormous potential for worldwide audiences and additional revenues.

In 2006, the Met beamed broadcasts in fewer than 200 theatres. But live transmission has exploded since then, with more cinemas, museums and art centers adopting digital technology. Now the Met broadcasts are seen in 1,600 venues in 54 countries. The Wall Street Journal reported that during the 2010-11 season, the program sold 2.6 million tickets, making $11 million.

The Wall Street Journal (subscription required)