UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The impact of "The Met : Live in HD" on local opera attendance van Eeden, Stephan


Live-streamed movie theatre broadcasts are a new phenomenon in opera. In 2006-2007, the Metropolitan Opera in New York began transmitting select live Met performances into cinemas across Canada, the U.S. and Europe. The program was entitled The Met: Live in HD and since its inception, has expanded in audience reach, content and mandate. Many local live opera companies speculate that Live in HD is a threat to their business. This study identifies and assesses the impact of The Met: Live in HD on local opera attendance. A survey was conducted in a major North American city with a resident midsize professional opera company and a midsize amateur opera company. We surveyed HD-attendees at Live in HD performances as well as at amateur and professional live opera performances. The study investigates whether Live in HD actually exposes new audiences to opera, how attendees compare HD and live opera, and whether viewers are more likely to see a live local production or simply more likely to view another broadcast. The results show that Live in HD does not at present cannibalize the local live opera audience, but it does establish an audience for itself. Live in HD is not viewed as an inferior product to live opera. There is evidence that the program is so successful that it builds a loyal following –audiences attend because they enjoy the experience, some decide to subscribe, others begin to prefer the format. Live in HD attendees are very likely to reattend HD but not necessarily live opera. There is no evidence that Live in HD generates more live opera attendance or brings new audiences into local opera houses.

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