The hybrid presenting model: part two

January 11, 2021

By Gena T. Buhler, Head of New Business Development, North America

Part one of this series discussed at a high level why presenters need to look towards building long-term hybrid presenting models and strategy. You should not be afraid of offering streaming content—it will help you reach new audiences, continue relationships with loyal supporters, and increase revenues that will make your organization more sustainable. But just as not every show is right for every audience, there’s also no “one size fits all” model for all presenters, so we offer a few considerations to help you develop your own, tailored hybrid model.

  • Quality Production Elements: Quality is key—a lesson that all programmers know well. Engaging virtually allows us to see and hear elements in a less forgiving way. You’ll need to evaluate what your production team needs to ensure content is produced at a quality that supports your brand and audience expectations. And, if streamed content is being produced in tandem with a live event, you’ll need to assess how new production elements, like cameras, avoid having a negative impact on the in-person experience. Do you have a local director that can direct a live multi-camera broadcast, or should you outsource this? Consider how many cameras you will need for your size venue, too.
  • Resources: Are you limited with your ability to produce, so need to rely on outsourcing content that allows you to share in the revenue but doesn’t require you to produce locally? One option is to collaborate with a local film and media college program to supply the necessary broadcast equipment and labor. Consult with your marketing team find out how easily they can support a dual marketing plan for in-person and virtual sales, or whether you will need to split focus between which shows are produced for in-person sales and which shows are presented virtually.
  • Technology: Can you invest in technology upgrades, such as fixed point PTZ cameras, which will allow for an elegant application of the technology, requiring little to no extra labor costs once installed? If so, consider if they will be controlled and directed by an internal or external source—and make sure you have adequate bandwidth to support a live event broadcast. Now’s also a great time to check if your ticketing system can integrate with an online platform, and whether that platform allows for integration of other revenue streams, too.
  • Experience: Consider what experience you want for your audience. Will they want to stream the same live show that can also be experienced in-venue, or would they prefer to engage virtually with unique content—such as a concert version of a musical or opera, or a dress rehearsal with artist-audience interaction? You’ll need to work with artists to design an experience that will engage and connect with the virtual audience, while also appealing to both performers and viewers.
  • Brand: You may now reach audiences on a national and international scale. We recommend finding ways to educate your audience and support your brand as a part of the experience—perhaps using pre-recorded video content that “sets the stage” for their experience across the world.

Expanding audiences

A hybrid presenting model allows you to break through the typical barriers to entry and reach new audiences. Who might these new audience members be?

  • Under-served Populations:Barriers exist that can be both logistical and financial for a community that wants to engage in your programming but has never been allowed the opportunity in the past. Others may just simply not feel comfortable in the venue setting. From work schedules, to drive times and traffic, babysitters, and homework, streaming your show breaks those “excuse” barriers, while the average price to engage through streaming is much more affordable for many with financial barriers, especially families.
  • Senior & Disabled Community: This is a community that was most likely very engaged in your programming earlier in their lives. Now, they’re no longer able to attend in person but would benefit greatly from the experience. The positive impacts of music therapy and cultural activity engagement in the senior care setting have been proven to be great, and it is also beneficial to those who are disabled or have mobility challenges living on their own but who have a barrier to attending in person.  Streaming content to senior living facilities also allows you to continue to connect with audience members who may support you in planned giving. Contact local care homes to ask if they’d allow you to stream your programming directly to their residents—or consider collaborating with a streaming partner that has already incorporated this into their services nationally.
  • Youth: Budget cuts and differing school district priorities have impacted the traditional “bus-in” educational programs. Can you inspire and connect with the next generation of artists and audiences in a better and more consistent way by offering online and streaming programs to schools, after-school programs, programs for students with learning disabilities, and other community programs? Streaming allows the content to reach them and can also be interactive in a way that the in-venue programs struggled to do based on logistical and timing constraints. Streaming can also bring programming into a more accessible classroom setting.
  • Global reach: Organizations can struggle to adequately sell mission-based programming in a sustainable way. Can you reach a more targeted audience outside of your local region and, in turn, support your mission-based programming and artists?

Streaming Platforms

In selecting your streaming platform partner, consider which elements need to be seamlessly integrated to support your revenue goals across the organization:

  • Fundraising: Making an emotional connection with your streaming audience can lead to easy grassroots-level support through one or two easy clicks. Consider a platform with an integrated “donate now” panel or button that allows the viewer to make an easy and quick donation before, during, or after a streamed event.
  • Sponsorship:Inevitably, people will be waiting for your livestream to start. Instead of having a blank or static welcome screen, use this as an opportunity to sell sponsorship ads and activations.
  • Merchandise: Consider this when making deals with artists and agencies to support additional revenue for both your organization and the tour. Be sure to review who will be responsible for inventory, shipping, and customer service if you are selling merchandise on behalf of an artist/show.
  • Ease of Access: Be sure that your platform of choice can integrate with your ticketing system, CRM, and website so that long term you are maintaining one central database, owning your data, and can track your audience across all experiences.
  • Resources: If you have limited resources, find a streaming partner that can support you—from local camera crews, off site director services, to ticket sales. Remember that you are providing content for their platform, so don’t be afraid to ask for their help when it makes sense for you.

The hybrid presenting model: part two
Credit: Jagged Live in NYC
The hybrid presenting model: part two
Credit: MainStage Irving Las Colinas