Case Study: Act I of a Turnaround at the MetI have listened to the Saturday radio broadcasts of the Metropolitan Opera since I was in college. It was an enormous comfort to me that I could learn opera basics from the radio intermission features in the privacy of my dorm room, where no one would know how ignorant I was of the standard repertoire and the musical features of the genre.
I've continued to follow the Met (though scarcely with the intensity of a genuine aficionado), and am now among the growing numbers who are marveling at how satisfying it is to watch Met general manager Peter Gelb's transmission of high-definition performance broadcasts to movie theaters. When I talk about the broadcasts with friends, one of the things we wonder about is whether the broadcasts are actually making money for the Met.
Apparently, the answer is "not yet," but prospects are good for a positive contribution to the bottom line as early as next season, the third for the broadcasts.
You can read more about the broadcasts, and the other marketing initiatives the Met has undertaken since Gelb arrived, in an illuminating blog post by Ben Rosen, a past Met board member.
A complementary essay by Ann Patchett, in which she describes her response to the Met's high-definition broadcasts, was published in today's edition of the Wall Street Journal.