In a surprise move, it was announced in August that the new Broadway show Diana, a musical about the life of Princess Diana will be filmed live without an audience present and released on Netflix. The writers of Diana, Joe DiPietro and David Bryan, are no strangers to filmed live musicals. Their earlier Tony Award winning musical Memphis was filmed live and released in cinemas, and is now available on BroadwayHD. Although the recent London revival of Miss Saigon had a limited run in cinemas before it opened on Broadway, it is entirely unusual for a Broadway show to be filmed and released before it opens.
Streaming was already growing in popularity before the pandemic gave it a huge boost, and recent research suggests it’s here to stay. A recent Hub Entertainment Research report showed that live TV viewership has seen a rapid decline over the past 4 years, and video tech company Grabyo noted in August that spending on streaming services in the US has increased by over $1billion per month since March. Hub Entertainment Research found that 50% of US consumers now use online TV platforms as their primary mode of watching TV and Leichtman Research Group have found that 82% now have at least 1 subscription video on demand service, with the vast majority subscribing to Netflix, Amazon Prime, and/or Hulu. Importantly, Grabyo have also found that 85% of customers say they will keep their new subscriptions even when social distancing restrictions are lifted.
Until theatre can resume business as “normal,” it is likely that more artists and theatres will film shows live in the theatre without an audience. This weekend, two new musicals will stream live from the UK. Production company Wise Children (Wise Children), will stream a new Christopher Dimond and Michael Kooman musical, Romantics Anonymous, and Southwark Playhouse (Wasted), will stream a new musical by Stuart Matthew Price and Timothy Knapman, Before After.
What will you be streaming? Let me know in the comments, or on Twitter or Facebook!