Here’s Hoping Berlin Enjoys Some Success

Ever since the Berlin Philharmonic launched their digital concert hall feature last season, subscribers to the complete season of webcasts have been steadily growing. Adaptistration reader Michael Brewer provided a first-hand review of the Philharmonic’s initial offerings back in January, 2009 and based on that perspective it seems like the folks in Berlin might be on to something. It will be interesting to see how several months of planning have helped iron out technical wrinkles but I find myself wondering more about the business plan behind the venture…

big www lettersFor example:

  1. What sort of ancillary costs have they incurred since the initial project expenses (equipment, bandwidth, labor, etc.)?
  2. What are the 2009/10 revenue and subscriber benchmarks and what process did they use to identify them?
  3. Do they anticipate the project becoming a profitable revenue stream; if so, when?
  4. What sort of arrangements has been made with soloists for webcast fees?

I’ve been trying to contact the folks in Berlin for the past week to uncover some answers but German email gremlins have been preventing meaningful email exchanges (not to mention taking their website offline for hours at a time). Nonetheless, uncovering the answers to these questions and more will be enormously useful when it comes to seeing if the process used by Berlin can be adopted anywhere here in the US.

In the meantime, let’s measure the level of interest in Berlin’s Digital Concert Hall among Adaptistration readers:

[poll id=”11″]

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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