3 years after its launch, Christopher Widauer talks about Staatsoperlive streaming offer

The Wiener Staatsoper officially launched 3 years ago an offer that surprised a lot of opera fans! While all major opera houses in the world focus their live effort on movie theatres, Wiener Staatsoper launched a brand new live service called staatsoperlive.com, available on any kind of screens.

StaatsOperLive is available for every kind of screens

Staatsoperlive.com is available for every kind of screens

Opera-digital.com (now official blog of Sonic Solveig) had a chance to interview the “brain” behind this exciting digital offer: Christopher WIDAUER (who is by the way also a professional puppetist !!) and his assistant Hugo have given us insights and new projects related to staatsoperlive.com streaming offer !

Mr WIDAUER presenting the companion app of the opera live streaming offer of Vienna State Opera

Mr WIDAUER presenting the companion app of the opera live streaming offer of Vienna State Opera
photo: © leadersnet.at; Fotograf: M. Buchwald

Interview with Christopher WIDAUER who’s been managing the Staatsoperlive streaming offer

Opera-digital.com : Hello Christopher and Hugo ! Thank you so much. For me it’s a dream coming true to make an interview in the large meeting room of Wiener Staatsoper! Can you rapidly remind us about the short (but already full of events) life of StaatsOperlive ?

Christopher Widauer: Hello Ramzi, hello opera-digital and Sonic Solveig, hello fellow readers ! Yes, of course. We have officially launched our programme in October 2013 and we have learnt a lot since since that. First we’ve spent a couple of months in an observation period. Up to the beginning of the season 2014/15 it was essentially a test process during which we broadcasted only a dozen of live performances. After our first full 2014/15 has been the first full season with 45 live performances published in advance and marketed as a true opera season, we went back again and adjusted our customer proposal.

Opera-digital.com : You mentioned how difficult it was to find the right business model. Could you say more about this?

Christopher Widauer : It was difficult to find the business model, but now we are on a good track. Staatsoperlive has both a B2C and a B2B business proposal. It is not easy to develop B2C because you have to assign unspecific subscription revenues to single and the involved rightholders such as solists, chorists, musicians, the Staatsoper and its coproducers, our business unit, and to find a transparent and fair reporting and sharing of revenu streams.. So we have ended up offering a mixture of live performances and of VOD titles presented in the Videothèque section of our website. In 2015, we’ve made the decision to offer a subcription-based model. Now we mainly promote this subcription model even if it still possible for an online viewer to buy single tickets for live broadcasts or VOD titles.

Staatsoperlive offers a large choice of subscriptions

Staatsoperlive streaming offers a large choice of purchases options

Opera-digital.com : So a strong focus on subscription ?
Christopher Widauer: Yes. It has several advantages : First, the subscription is much easier to use for the viewers. Indeed at each time you buy a single broadcast, you have to go through a purchase procedure, which is bothersome. A second advantage for the customer is, of course, that it is less expensive if you consider the price per unit. And third, if you use the subscription through an Apple TV or Amazon fire or even a telecom set-up box such as A1TV in Austria (picture below), it’s even easier as the owners of these devices are using accounts with a payment function in the backgroud. So subscription brings true comfort.

staatsoperlive-is available-on several cable and telecom-set-up-boxes

staatsoperlive is available on several cable and telecom set-up-boxes

Opera-digital.com: What about competition ?I guess they try to promote also subscription models ?
Christopher Widauer: Competition often doesn’t really offer fresh content, they offer a lot of opera performances on demand, but no or very few live performances.The singular advantage of Staatsoperlive is to focus on the live and original experience and to provide a true live season! By the way, we work on enlarging our scope and have started to offer live and on-demand streams from other houses. Indeed, it’s absolutely relevant for our subscribers to be able to see premium productions for all over the place, even if the opera is broadcast elsewhere such as for example on Spanish National TV (as a Traviata live from Teatro Real Madrid or at the same time on a free platform such as theoperaplatform.eu (for Pique Dame or Nozze di Figaro from Amsterdam Opera). During the season 2016/17, we plan to offer 60 live events and for 2017/18, we head for 100 live events including performances from prestigious festivals during the summer! Always more and more fresh content !

Staatsoperlive provides a summer programme

Staatsoperlive.com streaming provides a summer programme

Opera-digital.com : So staatsoperlive.com opens itself to other opera houses ?
Christopher Widauer : Indeed staatsoperlive.com also offers liveprogram which doesn’t come from the Wiener Staatsoper. During the Summer when the Vienna State Opera is closed, we also have to offer live content to our subscribers. So including live broadcast from other venues is a lever to propose new content. We want to provide exceptional and original opera and ballet programmes. Premium content providing exceptional experience for our subscribers because of the repertoire, the quality of the staging, or the originality: we will propose for instance operas composed by a Chinese composer performed in Beijing and Shanghai.

Opera-digital.com : So what about the B2B sides of your business model ?
Christopher Widauer : Staatsoperlive provides a ready-to-use and white-labelled opera live streaming solution to opera houses around the world. For instance, in Europe, we collaborate with Warsaw Opera, Helsinki opera, Staatoper Berlin or Copenhagen opera house. By the way, to foster this B2B offer, we will be launching a new private company with Austrian and international partners! Staatsoperlive provides also cultural institutions with consulting, training, expertise and how to set-up the workflows for capturing and streaming live performances! Stay tuned!

Opera-digital.com : Thank you so much for your time ! Bis bald
Christopher Widauer and Hugo: Au revoir !

Licence Creative Commons “3 years after its launch, Christopher Widauer gives us news about staatsoperlive.com” by Ramzi SAIDANI & Christopher WIDAUER is under terms and conditions of the licence Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 France

About Ramzi SAIDANI

Ramzi SAIDANI is fond of classical music (abooove all opera) and new technologies. He particularly likes digital, the web, Puccini, Massenet, Domingo, Alagna, Netrebko & Gruberova (Grubi for the closest friends :). He has been working as digital marketer and strategy consultant for 15 years. He has funded Lanoramax a consulting company focused on cultural industries that helps the start-ups (of which Sonic Solveig) and the incumbent musical institutions to achieve their digital transformation and strategies. He has created and animated the Meet-up Music and Digital (#MusikNum) in the CentQuatre Paris since septembre 2016. Ramzi is a also a tenor. He has studied lyric singing with Pierre VANHOENACKERE in Tourcoing Conservatory and Robert Expert and Sonia Morgavi in Bobigny. He is also president of the Association Cavatine et Rondo (dedicated to lyrical music promotion) and he wrote a book of short stories ”Nouvelles Russes”, in which of course music play a major role :)

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