When the Met Opera in New York started its live videocasts in 2006 to 64 countries around the world, it was seen as a fool’s errand. With the opera audience so tiny, the Met would be lucky just recouping the huge start-up costs, let alone the $1 million required to shoot and transmit each opera performance to some three million viewers in individual cinemas.
But in a Reuters interview, Met general manager Peter Gelb says those videocasts are paying off — handsomely. In fact, they’re keeping the Met’s doors open:
The business plan I had for it is that it would make a modest profit so from a financial point of view it has exceeded those expectations significantly. But, at the same time, we were very fortunate that it did because if it hadn’t we would be in trouble right now, and in fact we’re always in trouble financially because the cost structure of opera is ridiculously challenging and so the fact that we have quadrupled our paying audience with all the attendees around the world who are seeing the Met in movie theatres has been a huge help.
As we reported in 2011, the Arts Magnet High School in Dallas became the only campus outside of New York City to receive the opera-casts. Booker T bring in some 400 students throughout DISD — from fourth-graders to high-school seniors — to watch the high-def satellite transmissions.