Live streaming has become a popular marketing mechanism for many industries, and AMT Lab has covered this topic extensively to understand how arts organizations are taking advantage of its benefits. Earlier this year, I gave readers a summary of what Facebook Live is and how to use it, and in April, AMT Lab published Sofia Stucchi's white paper about how it is being leveraged by museums.
A graduate of Appalachian State University's undergraduate dance program myself and appreciator of many forms of dance, I reached out to organizations across the country to find out how the art form is using live streaming to increase audience engagement and expand organizational reach. I heard back about its benefits from two renowned dance companies, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and the Pacific Northwest Ballet, as well as Cennarium Americas LLC, an online platform offering high-definition streaming access to performing arts productions from around the world.
Over the next few weeks, I will share the interviews I conducted with each organization who felt live streaming has something to offer for dance. You can read last week's interview with Sofia Gomez of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago here. Next up is my interview with Themis Gomes, the Executive Director at Cennarium Americas LLC.
Jane Bowers: What was the motivation behind creating Cennarium? Do you see yourselves as pioneers in the arts streaming space?
Themis Gomes: The overwhelming majority of the population does not have access to the performing arts and 95 percent of large productions are restricted to major cities. Cennarium licenses performing arts content for online distribution, enabling subscribers to view performances no matter where they live and expanding the audience for performing arts productions. The platform also creates new monetization channels for theater companies and producers through a digital distribution revenue share model. Movies, television shows and music are readily available online; the mission of Cennarium is to make the performing arts just as accessible. Cennarium is a pioneer in that we are leading the way in bringing the performing arts to the most efficient and cost-effective form of distribution.
JB: How many viewers typically watch your organization’s content? Can you describe Cennarium’s core audience demographics?
TB: Our core audience is simply people who enjoy performing arts; this encompasses people of all ages, genders and ethnicities. Much of our audience are people who live in areas where the performing arts are not accessible and Cennarium is the only way to access these types of performances. A large portion of our audience are people who need a more affordable way to access the arts.
JB: What resources, financial or other, are necessary to produce high-quality digital content?
TB: Relationships with performing arts producers and content owners, the financial means to film those productions as well as license the content and a high-quality and secure platform on which to provide the content to consumers.
JB: What challenges have you faced while streaming the performing arts, and how have you overcome them?
TB: There is an incredible amount of amazing performing arts content available; much of the challenge is prioritizing what will be of greatest interest to audiences as well as having the expertise to curate content that will be successful on a digital platform.
JB: What advice can you offer to performing arts organizations who want to incorporate video streaming into their digital strategy?
TB: Do it now. You will generate incremental income you can put back into your organization as well as exponentially increase your audience and exposure for your content.
JB: Any final thoughts that you would like to share with the AMT Lab audience?
TB: All other forms of entertainment are readily available on digital platforms; the performing arts are the last piece of the digital entertainment puzzle. There is an enormous demand for this content and the revenue potential is huge. To be successful, we must work closely with the performing arts community to build their business and support their work. This is all about increasing audiences and bringing great quality content to people who otherwise would not have access.