As Internet/New Media Groups Vie For Bway Recognition, A Name Is Often The Game

News   As Internet/New Media Groups Vie For Bway Recognition, A Name Is Often The Game On Broadway, which is rich with content and just beginning to realize the scope of its worldwide market potential, the bustle to develop internet markets and new media outlets for theatre product has turned new business names, identities and alliances into closely-guarded, often hotly contested commodities.

On Broadway, which is rich with content and just beginning to realize the scope of its worldwide market potential, the bustle to develop internet markets and new media outlets for theatre product has turned new business names, identities and alliances into closely-guarded, often hotly contested commodities.

In fact, the plethora of new media names and the competition between them for public recognition has become so intense it can be confusing. It is already challenging to keep track of the theatre-related websites, with some being distinguished only by the transposition of a letter, as with theater.com and theatre.com.

Another example involves a recent misperception in the race to establish a successful broadcast model for Broadway.

On Feb. 16, Broadway Digital Entertainment's Broadway Tonight announced that its services would be available in fall 2001. Headed by former HBO executive Michael Fuchs, Broadway Tonight indicated it had ties to the Nederlanders, naming The Nederlander Theatre Group and, specifically, Robert and Harry Nederlander.

Playbill On-Line reported that Broadway Tonight included The Nederlander Theatre Group in its investor group. Shortly thereafter, the Broadway Television Network (BTN), Broadway Tonight's nearest competitor, issued a release quoting James M. Nederlander, Sr. and James L. Nederlander, Jr. of The Nederlander Organization stating that their organization was "in no way associated with Broadway Digital Entertainment or its affiliates Broadway Theatre Archive or Broadway Tonight." This announcement also reaffirmed The Nederlander Organization's previous commitment to BTN.

For the record, both statements are accurate, and each organization appears to have its own distinct and credible link to the Nederlander theatre family as they continue to pursue their respective goals to provide theatre for the broadcast market.

-- By Murdoch McBride