How to make money on YouTube . . . with Broadway?

An interesting article appeared in the technology section of The Times this week about YouTube, and how Google expects their 1.65 billion dollar baby to be profitable this year.


Well, they made friends with the enemy.

The TV and film industries have been fighting with YouTube since the site came out.  As fast as videos of copyrighted material could go up, another lawsuit would be filed.  Google claimed innocence (!), but eventually agreed to police their backyard as much as possible.

Well, those bitter enemy industries are now the closest of friends.


Like just about everything else, it’s all about money.

The TV and movie producers realized that trying to stop the uploading of their content to a site like YouTube was pointless.  It was gonna keep happening anyway, so why pay those lawyers to keep fighting it.  They also realized that a lot of those clips were doing a lot more good than harm, by providing free media to promote their products.

And most importantly, Google started running ads on their copyrighted videos, and sharing the proceeds.

Suddenly, the lawsuits stopped.

Funny, how a little cash calms the nerves.

So, let’s recap:

Fans put up copyrighted videos.  They get pulled down.  Google pays owners of material, and all is ok.

Huh.  The first two-thirds of that three sentence story sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

Think YouTube would ever pay off the owners of the material of Broadway shows by sharing in ad revenue that appears on each clip?

And would that make it ok?

Unlike film or TV, we’ve got quality issues to deal with.  A performance of Mad Men is always the same, no matter how many times it is played.  A performance of Patti Lupone doing Gypsy . . . well, one performance might be HUGELY different from the next.

I don’t expect YouTube to open its purse to Broadway any time soon, but it would be nice, wouldn’t it?  Because as our costs escalate, it is becoming more and more essential that Broadway shows find ancillary forms of revenue to defray those rising expenses.

Read the article here.

Play the Virtual Broadway Investment game today! Win an iPhone!

Fantasy baseball, fantasy poker, fantasy stock market . . . why not fantasy Broadway!

We’re all going to play a simple game called Will It Recoup?, to give us all a chance to get in on the Broadway investing and Broadway producing game, without risking a dime.

And yep, we’re giving away another iPhone (rumors are that there may even be a new one coming out by the time this contest is up!)

Here’s how it works:

Clicking on the link below will take you to a survey asking you the simple question of whether or not a play that is opening between now and the ’09 Tony Awards cutoff will recoup or not (we’re only playing with the commercial plays because we’ll have a answer as to whether or not they recoup quicker than the musicals).

Before you answer, imagine that you are putting $10,000 into each show that you think will recoup.  Unfortunately we don’t have the budgets for you to look at, so you’re going to have to make your “will it” judgement based on the plays themselves, the casts, and your gut rather than the financials.  Think of it like an actual investment, and do as much research as you can.

Will you come out profitable?

(It would be super cool if we could see which shows end up being the MOST profitable, but unlike stock market and baseball scores, those statistics are pretty secret, whereas a show recouping is usually announced with the tact of Patti Lupone or Christian Bale when someone does something they don’t like.  And if it isn’t announced, I’ll find out – trust me.)

So pick the recoupers, and the person who picks the most wins the iPhone (there’s a tie-breaker question on the survey as well).

This is gonna be a longer contest, with a tentative end date of 9/1/09, but I’ll give updates as we go as shows open and go.

The game is open for 7 days!


Some more rules:

– All entrants must be email subscribers to the blog so I can validate your entry.  If you are not an email subscriber, please subscribe by putting your email in the box to the left of this entry.  And the email you subscribe with, must match the email you enter in the survey.
– One entry per reader
– Recoupment must occur during the Broadway run to count as a recouped show.

At the Broadway League Conference: Day 1/The Emotion of Broadway

Too often, as Producers, we focus on the flaws of marketing Broadway.  (Frankly, too often, as People, we focus on the flaws of everything!)

So this story from Sandy Block, Chief Creative Officer of Super Power Serino Coyne on the first day of the Broadway League conference, was a rare positive look at our assets, instead of our liabilities.

Once upon a time, while Sandy was teaching a marketing class at NYU, a student asked why, with the challenges of Broadway’s limited distribution channels, its high prices, the strangling costs of the NY Times, we even bothered trying to advertise The Fabulous Invalid.

Sandy stopped the class and, like all smart marketers do, did some testing and took a survey.

He asked the class to raise their hands if they remembered the first movie they ever saw.

A few hands were raised.

Then he asked the class to raise their hands if they remembered the first Broadway show they ever saw.

ALL of the hands went up.

There’s a highly emotional experience connected with Broadway; a passion that can be turned into profit . . . and that was the subject of today’s session speech by Alan Zorfas of BrandIformatics, a company that measures the emotion connected to industries and companies.

So thanks to Sandy and companies like BI, we know that Broadway is highly emotional.

Now the real question is, how can we capitalize on that?

Let’s all take Sandy’s poll:

Can you remember your first movie and your first show without spending too much time thinking about it?

Tell us below.

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Speaking of Broadway being emotional, click here to hear Patti Lupone get all emo on a unofficial photographer during her final performance of Gypsy.

If she got this mad at the photographer, imagine what she said when she found out the whole show was recorded by someone else . . . and put on YouTube!