livestream shows

Show recordings and livestreams: 
what future after the health crisis?

Show recordings and livestreams: 
what future after the health crisis?

Forced to remain closed, theatres compete creatively to offer satisfying alternatives to an audience longing for the emotion of the show. Captures, streaming, livestream, the initiatives are numerous. Are they momentary or are they a real topic for the future? Here's a brief overview of what's at stake.

Evolution of live capture, unprecedented development of livestream

What are we talking about? Let's start by differentiating between capture and livestream. While its development has accelerated in recent years and raises exciting technical and artistic questions (cf. The discreet charm of filmed theatre Le Monde), the capture format is far from being new. Fixed by recording and editing, it differs from livestream, which involves the real-time broadcasting of more spontaneous content. Other technical challenges, new interactive possibilities. Interesting temporal nuance: capture is often broadcast on a streaming platform and lives over a long period of time. The livestream is ephemeral and more likely to create the event.

A varied ecosystem with multiple actors

The recording show nourishes a composite ecosystem: 

- Capture specialist producers such as the Compagnie des Indes, Bonne Pioche, and a myriad of capture agencies. 

- TV channels and streaming platforms. In terms of novelties on this part of the ecosystem, we note the arrival of an actor who is positioned on the streaming of theatre recordings: But also the launch in February 2021 by France Télévisions of the ephemeral channel CultureBox.

Website of the ephemeral channel Culture Box

- Venues that innovate by developing their own tools. Initiatives that can be seen in both the public sector (the Paris Opera) and the private sector (the Apollo theatre, the Mogador theatre). 

- Social media are at the foundations for live streaming, whether they are well established (Instagram, Facebook and YouTube), or more emerging like TikTok and especially Twitch. Twitch is a livestream platform well known to gamers. Even public personalities such as presenter Samuel Etienne are stqrting to use it. 

- New players are developing livestream proposals outside social media with a real promise of technical quality. This is the case of InLive Stream, Omnilive or even

gigson stregigson streaming
Gigson live website, new player in livestream

A way to keep in touch with its audiences and rejuvenate its audience

Among the reasons for developing an alternative filmed offer, one obviously retains the imperative need to maintain a link with its audiences. A link that is sometimes distorted by the current context, but which certain scenes nevertheless maintain with brilliance. This is notably the case of the House of Poetry one of Arenametrix client. In October, Olivier Chaudenson, its director, launched an ambitious live program. Concerts, musical readings, conferences: a variety of artistic events are offered every evening at 7pm live on Facebook and YouTube. Filmed events, some of which are intended to be interactive, as in the case of the "ARTE Radio". Spectators are invited to react and can even ask questions to the speakers, which are transmitted live on stage. In terms of communication, every Sunday the House of Poetry announces the programme for the following week by newsletter thanks to Arenametrix's segmentation, targeting and mailing tools. A strategy that pays off: since the first live show on November 2nd, the 31 live shows offered by the Maison de la Poésie have been viewed more than 339,000 times!

Preview of a newsletter from the Maison de la Poésie

Economic models under construction

While free initiatives are still the most frequent model, more and more places and artists are betting on the development of paid offers.

Paris Opera thus launched its VOD platform "L'Opéra chez soi" (Opera at home) in December 2020 and successfully monetized the live broadcast of three ballets on Facebook in November 2020. The results of the operation: 8,000 upstream seat purchases (at 4.50 euros) and 5,000 connections on D-day.

livestream opera
Video on demand platform of the Paris Opera House

Is it necessary to have the profile of an institution such as the Paris Opera to monetize live contents ? Not so sure. The Apollo Theatre also went into the adventure from the first lockdown, using pre-existing equipment. Its shows are broadcasted live and offered at prices between 10 and 35 euros.

There are two other interesting initiatives in the private ecosystem. The Fridge Comedy Club created an event on January 30th with a line-up of comedians including Kev Adams, Gad Elmaleh, Roman Frayssinet and Maxime Gasteuil, with a paying entrance ticket. For its part, the Théâtre de la Michodière has chosen to join forces with Canal+ to try its hand at broadcasting the play "Friends" with Kad Merad, Claudia Tagbo and Lionel Abelanski. Offered for a fixed price of 11.99 euros per screen on 15 February at 8.30 pm, the play was only broadcasted live and thus not like the traditional recording format.

Apollo Theatre Live
Platform of the Apollo Theatre

A broader interest than just developing the turnover

In addition to the development of new revenues, the monetization of these formats allows to symbolically confirm their value but also to free up budget to take care of technical quality. A monetization that can also be accompanied by a reflection on experience and merchandising with differentiated pricing according to the offer (a premium pack with interaction possibilities or the addition of differentiating goodies). And if these operations do not always achieve financial equilibrium, their impact in terms of image and public loyalty is not negligible.

What future?

The actors are unanimous: as qualitative as it is, a livestream will never replace the emotion felt in a theater or an opera. Thinking a mixed model where the livestream is a complement to physical representation nevertheless seems promising in several respects. It makes it possible to propose new experiences that theatre performance does not allow (around interactivity or augmented reality for example). But above all developing new audiences away from theatres whether for reasons of accessibility, geography or cultural practices. What remains is to invent a relational strategy to develop the link with these new audiences and build their loyalty. A subject on which the Arenametrix teams have a lot of ideas (see also on this subject our article "The development of cultural audiences") !

Apolline Locquet

Apolline Locquet

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Solène Jimenez

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