Symphony halls around the world have one thing in common: they’re all designed to be “acoustically wonderful,” says Christine Wood, Vice President of Marketing & Communications at the Seattle Symphony.
So when the Seattle Symphony had to shut down operations and cancel their shows when COVID-19 hit (just like every other performing arts organization), the live music stopped … temporarily.
“We always wanted to go online and have a more digital presence, and we were on our way to do that,” says Wood. “But we weren't prepared to bring our whole business online.” That’s when Christine and her team reached out to Brightcove to help catapult the Seattle Symphony to a video-first model.
Christine recently joined us for a live panel discussion, where she shared six benefits the Seattle Symphony team discovered by pivoting to video.
GETTING UP AND RUNNING IN JUST 5 WEEKS
The Seattle Symphony reached out to Brightcove to help build an online video platform for two main reasons: to quickly reconnect with their audience and to sell subscriptions and pay-per-view shows. “When the pandemic hit, it was the first time we went to some of the material we have in our vault. We thankfully had recordings of different concerts that we were able to piece together for the rest of the season and stream,” says Wood. “We were really excited that we were able to pivot so quickly and to launch on the platform in five weeks.” The organization has live-streamed 20 concerts since launching, with plans to do even more in 2021.
STAYING CONNECTED TO A LOYAL FAN BASE
In the beginning, the Seattle Symphony wanted to make sure their subscribers were still able to “see the symphony” and offered some free broadcasts. “They're our family,” says Wood. “We wanted to make sure that we were still able to perform for our patrons and to give them something that we've promised them.” With video, the Seattle Symphony made good on that promise.
REACHING NEW AUDIENCES AROUND THE WORLD
With the Symphony on Brightcove’s platform, people don’t have to be in downtown Seattle to see them perform. “We really have been able to expand our footprint,” says Wood. “We have audience members now in Texas, California. We have people watching in Norway. We're excited about where it's going to take us and the reach its given us outside of Seattle.”
CREATING OPPORTUNITIES FOR RICHER CONTENT EXPERIENCES
The musical content is compelling enough, but the Seattle Symphony isn't stopping there. “We just finished interviewing videographers so that we could build more behind-the-scenes content,” says Wood. “We're looking at what next season looks like, what can go live, and how we can maybe piece together some of those programs and have them on the platform longer.”
GETTING MORE MILEAGE OUT OF EVERY PERFORMANCE
Not too long ago, if you couldn’t get a ticket to the symphony, you were out of luck. Now, the only limitation is deciding if you prefer to watch a performance live or on-demand. “We have 2,500 seats in Benaroya Hall,” says Wood. “But now, on our Brightcove video platform, we have almost 4,000 people watching the live broadcast, and then we're getting another 3,000 people on the replays within the first seven days.”
TAKING ADVANTAGE OF A HYBRID APPROACH
The Seattle Symphony is currently working through their five-year plan around a hybrid strategy to continue to offer in-person and virtual performances. “The great thing about being digital right now is you go to one performance, and if you really want to see it again, you can on the platform,” says Wood. “Brightcove has just helped us open so many doors and to so many new fans. We're really excited to continue to explore how much further we can push it – the sky's the limit!”
Nick Iuliano is Brightcove's Senior Director of Content, helping to tell our best brand, product, customer, and partner stories across global marketing channels.