The idea of viewers watching Broadway shows for free on their computer was unheard of, but on December 10th, this will now become a reality. For the first time, a Broadway show will be broadcast live online free of charge. The inaugural show is the musical Daddy Long Legs.
The show’s producers, Ken Davenport and Michael Jackowitz have partnered up with Live Stream to present the show. Davenport is a Tony Award-winning producer and also produced the hit musical Kinky Boots.
“The mission is to get more and more theater out into the world,” says Davenport who is viewing this primarily as a marketing opportunity and a way for the theater industry to stay ahead of the game.
As accessing a Broadway show is difficult if you don’t live in New York City, Davenport stresses that this live stream is crucial for not only the national audience, but also international viewers. The goal of the livestream is to promote interest in Broadway shows, and ultimately increase attendance.
Attendance at Broadway shows took a hit from 2011 to 2013, but have recovered since. Hurricane Sandy in October 2012 forced many shows to cancel viewings and attendance was weak afterwards. The average ticket price of a Broadway show has increased steadily since 2010, with the prices ringing in at $104.18 for 2014 and 2015.
And even though ticket sales may take a hit in the short term if viewers choose to stay home and watch, the long term benefits will outweigh a potential brief decline in ticket sales, according to Davenport.
He compares the livestream option to how Hollywood has converted numerous Broadway shows to films. “Every time a movie has come out where a musical is still playing, the box office grows.”