Say Hello to Live Performances Online: The Opera House Launches Its Own Streaming Service

In an era of peak TV where streaming services are locked in a constant battle for eyeballs, a familiar institution is putting its hat into the ring.

The Sydney Opera House has launched “Stream” — in an effort to compete with Netflix, Stan, Disney+ and all of the other platforms today’s viewers have to choose from.

The move seems only natural after pandemic induced closures forced entertainment venues to begin offering audiences virtual performances and online content — with the Opera House being no different. The iconic venue launched a digital season in 2020, called From Our House To Yours with 200 digital works resulting in more than 6.7 million views and downloads.

Excitingly, after seeing success with the digital program among international audiences, the landmark is globally licensing all of its content which provides a fabulous opportunity to showcase local talent on a world stage.

Stream is available across TV, mobile, desktop and tablet devices, with 30 hours of programming across more than 45 performances and events available to watch on-demand. Every month will see new content land on the service with the cost of a subscription currently costing nothing, but with ticketed performances and events available to rent.

Upcoming performances include live streams of Australian musicians Jack Ladder and Ziggy Ramo, along with panels from the All About Women festival, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, and Bell Shakespeare.

The move not only follows the shift to virtual events due to COVID-19 restrictions but the success that fellow streamer Disney+ saw in 2020 with the release of the original Hamilton stage show starring creator Lin-Manuel Miranda and ongoing conversations around making the arts accessible to all — no matter their financial standing or geographical location.

Additionally, Stuart Buchanan — head of digital programming at the Opera House — told Business Insider Australia that according to their research 75% of viewers “wanted to try something new by watching it online before they would commit to seeing it in-person.”

“There’s a risk for those who might not be regular Opera House visitors, in both time and money, in attending a live performance,” Buchanan said. “There’s a little bit of ‘try before you buy’ in terms of that democratisation of access. Having both options is something people said they wanted.”

Given that it was recently announced that the historic Sydney venue will be home to The Phantom of the Opera come September, it might be some consolation to those who cannot attend in person to know that they won’t have to miss out entirely.

The production will mark the first time Australian audiences will have access to the long-running production since 2007, with the cast and orchestra of 65  making it one of the largest musical productions in Australian history.

The Opera House is not the only iconic cultural institution to make the move to virtual offerings — in late March it was announced that the Louvre in Paris was making its complete collection of art, sculpture and historical artefacts available to be viewed virtually, for free.

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