Live streaming of shows is not a new concept, but so far the practice has not been a meaningful alternative to the economy of live entertainment in Jamaica and the global entertainment industry in the sense large.
Several key players in the music and theater arts community including FAME 95FM with its Fame Frequency party series, Reggae Sumfest, comedians Christopher ‘Johnny’ Daley and Dufton ‘Duffy’ Shepherd, among others, artists from recording and vloggers ventured into the virtual realm to create an experience for their audience – which was no easy task, says Daley.
When the popular media personality and frontman of Johnny Live Productions decided to launch the live comedy bar series, the goal was to use the physical space where people would pay at the door or buy tickets and support the bar, a- he explained in a recent JaRIA Reggae. Open University’s online forum on the opportunities and pitfalls of “Live Stream Monetization in the Age of COVID.” Daley said it ended up being a reinvestment as more and more people chose to self-isolate, then, with the entertainment industry in lockdown.
Talk to The gleaner about his reinvestment he said: “I had to reinvest in the space as a studio, not only for my shows, but to provide the space for people who wanted to explore the idea of doing virtual shows. . It was either we go to bed and die, as the mark fades, or do something to maintain our presence and hope things get better sooner rather than later.
He says he can produce the show with reasonable quality, but part of the challenge is in marketing the show and then monetizing the live broadcasts.
“To open up the revenue stream opportunities, we have to record shows or go live and link with other companies, but we don’t have enough marketing; while we can muster a budget, there is not enough funding to promote a wide range, locally and abroad, because we really have to look at the diaspora who are used to spending online ”, did he declare.
“Less than 100 people in the diaspora can provide support at any given time, and you need to reach a large audience before you collect these numbers. Locally now there is the problem that only a limited number have access to credit cards, so you start to treat the audience personally, giving them access to banking information, trying to find a way to sell tickets and sharing information. links to them, to watch the show. “
NOT AN OPTION
For larger shows, “treating the audience personally” is not a feasible or practical option. Other elements that play a role in the success of the live virtual shows, shared by other panelists on the online forum hosted by JaRIA, such as Walshy Fire of Major Lazer, artistic manager and events producer Carleene Samuels and marketing and public relations specialist Tara Playfair-Scott was internet accessibility even before tackling access to secure payment media, building audience and in doing so understanding audience behavior by gender, country and time of consumption of online content.
One of Hennessy Artistry’s curators, Ewan Campbell, said not all events are virtually well-received enough to be economically viable for a brand. “Most of the virtual shows that we’ve seen from our side have been done on a donation basis, and the money that comes in is often going to charity, which is more of a brand marketing exercise.” He says online models don’t provide convenient income.
“If I were to be brutally honest, when the production of profitable virtual shows is possible, it won’t happen sooner, but later, when we have developed the right model and the right relationships with the artists that people pay for. see. Access to them and the cost of their reservation also play a major role, ”he added.
As a member of the Reggae Sumfest team, Cordel ‘Skatta’ Burrell gave a preview of the free virtual staging of the event which replaced the original ticketed version, noting that “It was mainly to fill a gap; to provide entertainment and employment to industry professionals, not to generate income. “
The music producer and marketing strategist said The gleaner, “There isn’t a lot of experience to be had sitting in front of a screen,” adding that marketing that attracts large audiences “increases investment and expense and limits the possibility of earning, but if it does The alternative we are left with is something worth exploring.
Burrell added, “When it comes to monetizing virtual shows, especially live concerts, in Jamaica’s current cultural landscape, there has to be some other reach to get the local diaspora to spend $ 15, $ 10 or even $ 5 because it’s all about the experience.
The estimated views of “A Taste of Reggae Sumfest” between July 24-26 were 3.5 million on social media platforms and YouTube. “The idea of virtual shows can work well if it’s properly packaged and placed on platforms like Netflix or on a pay-per-view basis,” Burrell explained.
Adding monetary value to live performances in a virtual space, when that was not necessarily the norm when it comes to ticket sales, is another hurdle that local promoters will have to overcome.
“I’m sure we’ll find some creative ways to make it work to take it to the next level, depending on how 2021 evolves, but for now, any production of a virtual concert is an investment that doesn’t [have a] back for the producers, ”he said.