There are more than 200 streaming services in the marketplace that caters to audiences showing various entertainment and news channels. However, there is no streaming of theatre performances in the country. Now, for the first time, there is going to be one dedicated streaming network for theatre performances, launching late this summer. Stage, the live streaming of theatre performances will launch in August. The first version will be a free version for the viewers and slowly once the model is set, the company will launch a subscription-based version in October. The live streaming will feature Broadway shows, scripted shows, reality and variety series, talk shows, documentaries, concerts, and like theatre for the audiences.
What Is Stage?
The free subscription will show a preview of original programs that are in production, documentaries, and some licensed films. The subscription launch will include a total of 500 hours of programs. The price for subscription has not been disclosed yet.
Initially, the audiences in America will be able to access Stage. For international subscriptions, the audiences need to wait until 2019. The company has not announced any partnerships with the leading streaming gateways such as Chromecast, Apple, and Roku.
The networks chairperson, CEO, and co-founder, Rich Affannato said that the team was working on Stage for nearly two years. He said that all this time the team was busy building the talent and developing the platform, while also acquiring existing contents and coming up with new and exclusive programs.
According to the CEO, the mission of Stage is to make theatre accessible remotely to all. The idea is to utilize technology and the live streaming services for spreading theatre works among the masses. Until recently, the streaming services were limited to popular programs and scripted series.
Stage wants to change all that now. It wants to bring the entertainment of stage-productions into the devices of the users. If successful, Stage will start a new phase of revolution in the theatre business. It will bring a fresh perspective to the theatre industry and offer a streamlined version of theatre performances for the theatre fans.
The Sample of Programs
Here is a sample of programs that will be available through the stage.
- Studio sessions: This program is all about celebrating musical theater composition. It is shot at the New York City recording studio called The Power Station. It takes place in front of a live studio audience and every episode explores the composer’s history and his work. The performance is acoustic, performed by Broadway stars including Chita Rivera, Heidi Blickenstaff, and Mandy Gonzalez.
- CrossOvers: This is a half-hour talk show, which is recorded in front of a live audience. The program features a one-on-one interview with an actor who has switched from theatre to some other sort of media (or vice versa). There is also a part where audiences can ask questions. It will explore topics such as difficulties faced by performers in the industry, tools of the trade, and much more.
- The Next Great American Musical: This is a reality competition program where audiences will experience new musicals presented for winning a Broadway production. Every week, the participating teams will select singers and dancers who will perform parts of the musicals in front of judges. After first stage elimination round, there will be four finalists. In the finals, the judge’s panel and the online audience will vote to select the winner of The Next Great American Musical.
- Films, licensed content, and documentaries are the other live programs included in Stage. The licensed content will include “ the standbys”, “showing up”, “Broadway Idiot”, “artists lounge live”, (this will feature the life of solo artists in the field of musical theatre and honoring catalogs of great songs from their production).
Others in this field
The Stage has come at the right time when live streaming of theatre performances was required. This is an untapped industry for live streaming purposes. The only other prominent player in this field is BroadwayHD. It too provides stage-to-streaming programs for its users. It has a library of recordings of live theatre performances.
As far as business goes, no one knows how well BroadwayHD, which is privately held, is doing in this industry. However, there is no dearth of content, as the company constantly adds recordings of new Broadway shows. There are other programs from around the country also included in its offering.
As of now the details of the programming at Stage is murky. However, the information that the company has put out is enough for any theatre enthusiast at least to try the free subscription model, before purchasing the full version. No one can predict how well or how bad this business will do, but it is a great step indeed.