Plan to screen regional productions in cinemas ‘could earn theatres up to £30k per broadcast’

The Quantum Digital film crew setting up to broadcast a theatre event in Leicester Square
The Quantum Digital film crew setting up to broadcast a theatre event in Leicester Square
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Regional theatres are being targeted by a new live broadcasting scheme that will transmit shows from outside London to cinemas across the UK.

Set up by cinema broadcast distributor Quantum Digital, which specialises in live event transmissions, the Regional Live programme aims to create new audiences and income streams for shows produced outside the capital.

Quantum Digital founder Marc John hopes to launch the scheme by the end of the year, with each transmission being broadcast in up to 150 cinemas at one time.

He estimates that venues taking part in the programme could expect to earn up to £30,000 per broadcast, based on taking up to 30% of Quantum Digital’s share of the total cinema box office.

He also expects some cinemas to show repeat screenings, which would lead to further income for theatres.

“The British public have taken to National Theatre Live, and I think they will take to some high-quality regional shows too. Anything the big London theatre companies can do, the regions can do as well,” he said.

John said the scheme presented no risk for theatres, which would not have to contribute any money towards filming their shows or provide Quantum Digital with a share of the venue’s box office.

He added he did not want to “cannibalise” theatre audiences by driving them away from live shows to screened ones. He said Regional Live would transmit broadcasts of a show only to locations where that particular production was not touring.

John said he plans to broadcast abroad and include opera, ballet and other dance shows.

2 Comments

  1. Great idea, it’s about time. Theatre screened n cinemas seems to work really well, so why should regional companies miss out? I hope they take this person up on the offer, if the deal really is that good? And indeed why should we the audience be limited to just London shows in cinemas? Smacks of elitism and naivety on the cinema owner side. London doesn’t have a monopoly on talent! The very best regional productions are just as good, sometimes better. I’ll definitely be buying a cinema ticket for me and the wife, curious to see if they can break new ground actually, it could really stand apart (and above?) the London stuff. Bravo to this Quantum Digital the Regional Live idea, I hope it really takes off and brings the big London boys back down to earth a bit.

  2. Absolutely brilliant idea. Regional theatres produce brilliant work year in and year out on the same artistic level as London – so why should they be excluded? Especially with the majority of funding being pumped into the capital. I think the key thing here is this: “He said Regional Live would transmit broadcasts of a show only to locations where that particular production was not touring.” If they stick to this rule I don’t see how it could fail with correct marketing and funding, and regional theatres will still get bums on seats for their live showings for their local audience. This will be an excellent growth for theatres such as Hull Truck, who, although get a great attendance from Hull and East Yorkshire residents, may suffer due to their geographical positioning, (unlike the more central West Yorkshire Playhouse for example). Looking forward to seeing this develop.

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