Broadway Television Network president Bruce Brandwen says that a BTN sampling of audience members who saw BTN’s digital cinema presentation of “Jekyll & Hyde: The Musical” on March 10 showed that BTN’s HDTV version of the Broadway show met with “enthusiastic audience approval.”
With three shows taped, Smokey Joe’s Cafe, Putting It Together, and Jekyll and Hyde, BTN is seeking to establish the first viable broadcast model for Broadway. The company’s strategy is to deliver high quality digital audio and visual tapings of original Broadway productions in a pay-per-view format. There have been questions about the results achieved by the one-year-old company; this information void forms a context for the release of the informal survey results and the absence of PPV ratings or financial results for other broadcasts.
BTN’s BroadwayCinema debut of “Jekyll & Hyde: The Musical” starred David Hasselhoff and was broadcast nationally in seven “digital cinemas.”
"The responses to the audience surveys were well beyond anything we could have expected," Brandwen said in a prepared statement. "Our presentation of ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ was rated ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ by 99 percent of the respondents and 99 percent indicated they would come back and see more Broadway shows presented live-in-performance using BroadwayDigitalTM High Definition and BroadwaySurroundTM technology." Citing what he described as a “formidable new revenue stream for motion picture theatres, " Brandwen said that since “83 percent of the attendees never saw Jekyll and Hyde as a live stage show, it also indicates a new way for Broadway to reach audiences across the country."
Directed by three-time Emmy winner Don Roy King, the production had the participation of the Broadway creative team and BTN's creative director for stage, four-time Tony Award winner Jerry Zaks. As reported, exposing its upscale product in theatres across the country (average price $19.95), is part of BTN’s plan to demonstrate that consumers are ready to shell out PPV rates for BTN's product — that being legitimate Broadway product with high definition television (HDTV) picture quality and state of the art, five-channel surround sound. BTN's cinema bookings at various domestic venues can be interpreted as a move to develop and accelerate initial demand for digital Broadway product.