×

BroadwayHD: The Netflix for theater performances

When it comes to streaming film and television, the internet's got it covered. But, what about when it comes to Broadway shows?

Enter BroadwayHD; an on-demand internet streaming platform which hopes to bridge the gap between onstage Broadway performances and digital devices.

Theatre District
Getty Images
Theatre District

Having launched this week, the online service is already flaunting over 100 of the world's finest productions, from Shakespearean masterpieces to contemporary musicals like "Memphis".

BroadwayHD's library will feature performances from a whole host of actors – such as Helen Mirren, Daniel Craig, Anthony Hopkins – whose original content will be provided by the likes of BBC Worldwide North America, Broadway Worldwide and WNET (New York).

The shows will be available to stream on several devices including computers, mobile devices and TVs (with the use of Apple TV and Google Chromecast) and come with a monthly subscription of $14.99 ($169.99 for a whole year).

While this may seem steep compared to Netflix – who announced recently rates would rise to $9.99 a month – the most successful shows on Broadway are averaging around $110 per seat, but can go into the several hundreds.

Of course watching theater shows offstage is nothing new. Cinemas worldwide, including U.S. and U.K. chains screen a variety of shows outside of hit blockbusters throughout the year, including ballet, opera and Broadway.

The Tony award-winning producers, Bonnie Comley and Stewart F. Lane, founded the company and hope to bring high-definition online, like they've done previously for performances showing in domestic U.S. cinemas.

"Given advances in streaming technology and the increasing trend of readily available content, we knew that a digital platform that allowed people to experience a theatrical show – a medium that historically is not available beyond the stage – would be monumental," said Lane in a statement Monday.

While streaming platforms may impact the TV and film industry, Richard Broughton, research director at Ampere Analysis, told CNBC over the phone that providing live streams wouldn't be "overly detrimental to the attendance" of live theater performance, as many fans buy Broadway tickets for the experience element.

"It's effectively a way of pulling in audiences who just can't make the theater – whether it's sold out or they're in the wrong cities. I think it's expanding the opportunities for revenue generating, beyond the theater itself," he said.

"Ultimately, some of these productions run on thin margins so this could be the boost that they need to keep going," Broughton added, describing the service as a "promotional exercise" for the industry.

"Even if theaters do suffer some cannibalization of ticket sales, they're hitting audiences across the country who just wouldn't have made it in the first place. I see it as a win-win for the industry right now."

BroadwayHD itself doesn't want to detract consumers from the "magic of live theater", but rather provide a service that everyone can enjoy.

"It's our vision that one day every play, musical and alternative performance that comes to a professional stage will be captured for people to continue to experience the magic for years to come," Comley said in the statement Monday.

By CNBC's Alexandra Gibbs, follow her on Twitter @AlexGibbsy.