One of the great things about theatre is that no two performances of the same play are identical. The audience and actors share a unique experience. Unfortunately, this memory fades with time.
Why not make a recording of each performance and sell it (or, even better, offer for free with admission) to fans as they are leaving the theatre?
Almost everyone has an iPod like device now, and it shouldn’t take more than 30 seconds to transfer the file. All you need is 1-2 cameras and 10-20 usb copying stations. You could do live editing of which camera feed is on, just like they do on live tv shows. You can even have quick 30 second interviews with key cast members and the director right after the show ends, with their thoughts on that specific show as a bonus track. The costs would be fairly minimal but the value add would be amazing.
– For directors and actors, immortality. The production lives on for forever, not just when the final curtain goes down
– For the production, free publicity. People will share it with friends, who will want to go see your show (if it were bad, nobody would want to transfer it to their iPod)
– For fans, reliving a great experience. Also, die hard fans can watch the same production on different nights and appreciate the differences
The technology exists and some concerts sell audio tracks of live shows minutes after the show ends. Let’s get this done.
Theatres can charge $5 – $10 a pop, maybe more. Most people who attend theatre tend to have a fairly high disposable income. Many fans would be willing to pay to keep the memory of an amazing show for forever.
Personally, I’d prefer to have this cost factored into my ticket, or be given an option on ticketmaster.com to pay a few dollars extra for this “VIP package” in advance. Behavioral economics has shown that splitting the time when costs occur to when you receive benefits makes you appreciate the benefits more (you’ve forgotten about the costs already).
Although I wouldn’t be a fan of this, theatres could employ Digital Rights Management (DRM) on these videos if they’re concerned about everyone seeing the show without paying for it. The fear being that most consumers would think, “I’ve already seen this on video, why do I want to see it live?” The solution would consist of advertising (in the video even) centered around how a live theatre experience and a video of it are two totally different things. (Ask anyone who’s gone to a concert and listened to the album of that same artist.) Theatres would probably come around in time as many companies haven’t accepted the idea that “giving away a non-core asset away for free actually increases your core business”.
Are there any drawbacks that I’m missing?