October 21, 2019

BroadwayHD’s Bonnie Comley on Being a Streaming “Upstart”

Improved streaming technology and ubiquitous OTT/CTV platforms are enabling a host of entrants to craft completely new streaming alternatives to legacy TV channels. One of these is BroadwayHD, which presents live performances of hit Broadway shows. Co-Founder Bonnie Comley, who’ll be on the “Upstarts” panel at NYC Television Week’s Streaming TV track, talks about what it takes to be a disruptive streaming brand in today’s marketplace. To hear more about Upstarts, register now for the full NYC TV Week experience.


Give us a quick update of what BroadwayHD is doing in the streaming space. How many shows are currently available? Who’s watching?


On BroadwayHD we have we have over 300 full length shows. Broadway is a luxury brand recognized around the world, but many people will never set foot inside a Broadway theater, so BroadwayHD brings the theater to them. BroadwayHD attracts the traditional Broadway ticket buyer, the next generation of Broadway ticket buyers and the Broadway fans that just can’t get to the theater. While the average price of a Broadway musical is $125, an annual subscription to BroadwayHD is $100 and includes all 300 shows. BroadwayHD is making Broadway accessible by eliminating the barriers of geography, economics and physical limitations. Who’s watching? everyone! 


What’s the biggest challenge that ‘upstart’ streaming services like yours face in terms of establishing a foothold in the marketplace? 


The biggest challenge for BroadwayHD is to stay focused on our clearly defined niche - BroadwayHD is Broadway.  We only offer full length stage plays and musicals. BroadwayHD is thriving because we are the 24/7 destination for anyone who loves Broadway. 


As you’ve build BroadwayHD as a brand, what’s been the biggest surprise in terms of its acceptance? How passionate are your fans?


The professionals who work in theater, and the amateurs who want to work in the theater, are the biggest surprise to me, but it seems so obvious when you look at the big picture. When people are working in theater, they don’t have time to see other shows. So in addition to being a streaming entertainment service for theater fans, BroadwayHD is a resource for professional development and continuing education for theater pros! As for passion of the fans, our retention rate speaks volumes on that subject; it’s comparable to some of the larger players in the space.


Can you give us a brief preview of any key points, soundbites or showstoppers you plan on unveiling during this panel? If I were Ben Brantley (The New York Times theatre critic), what kind of review will I write? 


BroadwayHD has subscribers all over the world, new apps are continuing to roll out, and we’re adding new content every week. I’m sure Ben Brantley would say that BroadwayHD is the most exciting thing to come out of Times Square since Hamilton!


Don’t miss a deeper discussion of this and many more topics concerning Streaming TV Advanced Advertising, TV Data and Hispanic TV at NYC Television Week!