She Loves Me was a hit show that had always planned to only have a limited run, and indeed it closed on July 10th. BroadwayHD charged $9.99 to watch the show live on Thursday, June 30.
The economics behind the decision of the producers of She Loves Me to stream is fascinating. So what are the pros for a show choosing to live stream?
- It brings in extra immediate revenue (the $9.99*# of viewers)
- It brings in possible future revenue for the BroadwayHD site (which perhaps pays extra to She Loves Me for this?)
- It will likely be seen by hundreds of people who run high school, college, and community theatre musicals who might choose to this show. To use/perform a show, you must pay for the rights, which is a (sometimes significant) source of revenue for shows.
- It could bring in extra revenue to the show - if people seeing the show on the stream then want to see it in person. I.e., extra revenue if the live-stream and ticket sales are complements. (Although I don't think this is likely given its only open for a limited amount of time.)
What are the cons of choosing to live stream?
- Is watching a video of a Broadway show a substitute for seeing the show live? If so, then the live-stream could hurt ticket sales on Broadway. Similar to point four above - this doesn't seem to matter as much when the show only has a handful of performances left.
- Would showing a live-stream hurt the sales of a show that is hoping to tour?
- How expensive is it to produce the broadcast?
Overall, it seems like the optimal decision here from a theatre producer's perspective is to live-stream but only at the very end of a run - and only if they think it is unlikely to do a national tour.