Technology has affected nearly all aspects of our lives. We are more connected and have access to more information than ever before. It is the solution to many of our problems, and the cause of many others. The question we keep asking ourselves is: how does an opera company adjust to this current reality and use technology to serve our audiences better?
At Against the Grain Theatre (AtG), we believe that technology is key to reaching new audiences and enriching the experience for existing audiences. Our company was formed on the idea that opera can be produced anywhere, including a dimly-lit pub, a remote grotto and shiny TV studio. Presenting opera online is our next challenge.
Over the past several months, we’ve been serious about exploring livestreamed performances. We’ve been speaking with experts from around the world and, more importantly, asking opera audiences for their opinions on livestreams. With the generous support of the Canada Council for the Arts, we’ve engaged digital consultant Michael Morreale to lead a comprehensive research project. The project is called the Digital Opera Research and Intelligence Study. We like to call it DORIS for short.
Our big takeaways:
- 35.7% of respondents have watched a livestreamed performance; however, 72.8% say they are at least somewhat interested in doing so.
- The majority of respondents say they would pay to watch a livestream. In fact, almost a quarter of respondents would pay $10 or more.
- 31.9% of respondents say they are more likely to donate to an opera company after it has streamed an opera.
- Only 55.2% of respondents report watching online video at least one per week. This is significantly lower than the Canadian video consumption rate of 85% across all demographics.*
Of course, it is impossible to generalise the views of all opera-goers. Some expressed complete disinterest toward experiencing opera in this way. It is clear that livestreaming isn’t for everyone. But others see livestreaming as the best way to get their opera fix between the performances they are able to attend in person. Time and money are the top barriers stopping opera fans from attending more performances, and free or cheap livestreaming is one solution to this problem. But neither group sees watching a livestream as a replacement for the live experience.
We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.
Nous remercions le Conseil des arts du Canada de son soutien.
* IAB Canadian Media Usage Trends Study 2018