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Theaters seek breakthrough with online paid streaming service

Amid the spread of COVID-19, theaters are actively introducing paid online streaming services for their theatrical performances to find a breakthrough.

The moves are coming as theater companies have been hit hard by the fallout from the pandemic. Sales from the theatrical sector in the first half of this year were 95.9 billion won ($80.8 million), an 85 percent decrease compared to last year, according to data from the Korea Performing Arts Box Office Information system. Sales for August were 15.9 billion won, an 11.1 billion won decline compared to last year. So far, many production companies have been releasing their performances online for free.

The Seoul Performing Arts Company (SPAC) will stream online "Lost Face 1895," one of its most famous original musical repertories, on Sept. 28-29. It is the first such service of the state-funded company.

The piece retraces the last queen of Joseon Dynasty, Empress Myeongseong, who never left behind any pictures of herself.

To create the quality online content, the company filmed its July live performances of the musical with nine cameras in 4K resolution and 5.1 surround sound. It will be streamed on Naver for those who bought the streaming-only ticket which is worth 20,000 won ($16.80). The price is equivalent to 22.2 percent of the highest price of an offline ticket, or 90,000 won.

The company is also planning to follow up this performance by releasing other performances online. "Along with the Gods: The Afterworld," a comic book-based musical, will be streamed on Oct. 8-9 for 15,000 won.

"It is a test run and to make the standard of share distribution for creators and performers," Kim Duc-ky, team leader of the SPAC, was quoted as saying in an interview with SBS.

The Korea National Opera is also scheduled to release "Manon," one of its opera repertoires, which was performed in June, on Naver on Sept. 25. A ticket is 20,000 won. The opera is a French opera-comique, which describes a young woman's love and desire, and the consequences. The streaming service is part of "Opera-tique," its project aiming to stream performances online. It plans to release "Fidelio" on Oct. 23-24 and "La Boheme" on Dec. 10-13.

"Sonata of a Flame," a musical based on Kim Dong-in's novel "Sonata Appassionato," will be livestreamed to some Asian countries including Japan, as well as the United States. Shinswave, the production company, joined hands with Asahi TV to launch the online service.

"Mozart!" an Austrian musical which celebrates its 10th year in Korea, will be released online on Oct. 3-4, through Naver's V Live, an online streaming platform used mostly by K-pop singers. Tickets cost 33,000 won. It costs almost 100 million won to make one performance, according to officials.

However, it is uncertain whether online streaming can be applied for all theatrical performances because it costs a huge amount of money to run the shows.

"Those performances with huge fandoms, performances of K-pop idols or musicals starring A-list actors, for example, can survive. But small production companies cannot make ends meet because it costs a lot of money to make quality online content," an industry official said on condition of anonymity.







There's an "Along With The Gods" musical?!?



source: The Korea Times
Tags: musical
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