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ABT launches ABT Crisis Relief Fund


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5 hours ago, Kathleen O'Connell said:

I think it's perfectly legit for performing arts companies to ask for a donation in exchange for access to material video content, especially full-length performance videos or "gala evenings" assembled from archival video footage not otherwise available. The companies need to raise money and they will also likely need to pay something to the various rights holders (and other stakeholders) out of their proceeds in any event. And, if they didn't secure the right array of digital and broadcast rights when they made the video, they're going to have to pay their lawyers to negotiate for them after the fact. A performing arts organization may secure the rights to make a video for archival / training purposes when they license a work, but not the rights to broadcast or otherwise disseminate the video. If they want to make that footage public, they need to get permission first.

Simply, yes to this. It's the world we live in.

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On 7/22/2020 at 6:03 PM, California said:

If you were looking for another incentive to donate to ABT's Crisis Relief fund, here it is, just announced: Donors will get access next week to a tape of the 2007 filming of ABT’s production of Manon . . . with Alessandra Ferri and Roberto Bolle, along with Herman Cornejo as Manon’s brother Lescaut, and Gillian Murphy as Lescaut’s Mistress.

Was it announced to existing donors only? I can't seem to find a public facing announcement. 

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1 hour ago, Kathleen O'Connell said:

Was it announced to existing donors only? I can't seem to find a public facing announcement. 

Every week I get an email with a lot of links to various interviews, etc. with dancers, choreographers, conductors, past dancers, etc. During a normal season, ABT has a complicated tier of benefits for different levels of support -- number of dress rehearsal, in-studio rehearsals, interviews with dancers, etc., etc. So I don't know if I'm getting the same email all friends get or if this is tailored to the particular level of support for me from last fall. If you can't find this on the public facing part of the site, I think they're missing a great opportunity to bring back lapsed Friends and perhaps bring in some new ones. I suppose it's tricky -- they can't "sell" admission. They're offering access as one of many perks of being a Friend. 

I'll  paste in the email, which doesn't say anything about level of support this went to or what level is needed to get access next week. I think people who are interested might write to their membership director and ask! The email that sent the message: membership@abt.org

Dear ABT Friend, 

We hope you are enjoying the content and ballet tidbits we have been delivering each week. Have you ever wondered how ABT’s dancers are keeping their tone and muscle strength during this pandemic? If so, you may be particularly fascinated by the link we have provided to the daily class led by ABT Ballet Master Carlos Lopez. On this one day, he decided to record the class and give us a window into what went on. So in addition to working through the movements for each combination, as he teaches, he spotlights a few dancers as they take the class.

Looking ahead, we are extremely pleased to be delivering a private link next Tuesday evening, July 28th, to a full-length video of ABT’s production of Manon. Filmed in 2007, this celebrated Kenneth MacMillan ballet features an all-star cast, led by Alessandra Ferri and Roberto Bolle, along with Herman Cornejo as Manon’s brother Lescaut, and Gillian Murphy as Lescaut’s Mistress. If you have not made an ABT donation yet this year,  you can still do so here and receive this private link with up to a week to view it!

 

Stay safe and healthy!

acc37fd8-805b-4d2b-8b4d-64716cb65fd4.png

Grey C. Johnson
Director of Membership

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Yeah, I don't see any reason why they couldn't advertise this pretty aggressively, at least in select forums. Many longtime fans of ABT, Ferri, Bolle, Cornejo and/or Murphy would be delighted to know about this and perhaps make a donation in order to get access to that video. That may not be "selling admission," but it's no different from any other performing arts institution making such access contingent on a donation.

There are so few opportunities to see ABT performances on video. I shouldn't be surprised anymore by anything ABT's marketing staff does (or, more often, doesn't do), but if they don't find a way to get the word out about this more broadly, I think it would be a sign of serious mismanagement.

Edited by nanushka
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Just got another email about Manon. This one says: 

As a thank you for your support, please enjoy this special performance of Manon. Kindly note that this video is exclusively for ABT donors . . . 

For questions or concerns please contact ABT Special Events at specialevents@abt.org

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I am not an ABT donor or subscriber, but I am on the emailing list. I received a pitch for the Manon stream on July 15th. 

Quote

We cannot wait to share with you our 2007 production of Manon, starring Alessandra Ferri, Roberto Bolle, Gillian Murphy and Herman Cornejo! Only a limited number of donors will be able to experience ABT's enthralling production from the comfort of their home while the actual theater doors are still shut!

Become a member today and not only will you be able to enjoy Manon, but your dollars of support will fuel the innovation for ABT to create a virtual Fall Season, in place of the one that we would have performed at Lincoln Center in October! PLUS, you will receive other exclusive and early access to ABT ballets and virtual content in 2020 as well as in-person benefits in 2021, and to show our thanks we will also give you 80 extra days to your membership year in honor of ABT’s 80th Anniversary...

I took it to mean that a minimum donation of $100 is required. The message has more than a whiff of exclusivity to it, which is why it isn't front and center on the ABT site. It's also possible that the video has less than stupendous picture quality, which could disappoint viewers outside the hardcore ABT fan base that might be invested in seeing Ferri, Bolle, Cornejo and Murphy regardless of how the video looks.

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"Only a limited number of donors will be able to experience ABT's enthralling production from the comfort of their home while the actual theater doors are still shut!"

That "whiff of exclusivity" sounds totally out of step with the modern world. Not that they can't solicit donations in exchange for seeing the video, but their language and tone are still in the last century. 

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38 minutes ago, volcanohunter said:

I am not an ABT donor or subscriber, but I am on the emailing list. I received a pitch for the Manon stream on July 15th. 

I took it to mean that a minimum donation of $100 is required. The message has more than a whiff of exclusivity to it, which is why it isn't front and center on the ABT site. It's also possible that the video has less than stupendous picture quality, which could disappoint viewers outside the hardcore ABT fan base that might be invested in seeing Ferri, Bolle, Cornejo and Murphy regardless of how the video looks.

I'm guessing that everybody who bought a ticket with a working e-mail address got that message. Well, at least people know what to do if they want to see it. 

Puzzled by the "limited number" although some streaming services do have limits. The Royal's Sleeping Beauty had 9K viewers on-line. 

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57 minutes ago, cobweb said:

That "whiff of exclusivity" sounds totally out of step with the modern world.

Seriously, what the $&*%? Totally out of step, and totally oblivious to the potential power of digital content. It's as if the modern world has been twisting their arm and they're saying, "Well, ok, but we're only going to do the new way if we can do it the old way."

Just, why?

(I know, I know, one answer could be: they "couldn't" get all stakeholders to agree otherwise. To which I say: they didn't make it happen, as so many others now have.)

Edited by nanushka
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44 minutes ago, California said:

I'm guessing that everybody who bought a ticket with a working e-mail address got that message.

Nope.

I don't subscribe, but I do buy at least a ticket or two for most NYC seasons — and that's usually full-price orchestra tickets for the Met and first ring tickets for The Theater Formerly Known as State. 

If they can't figure out that I'd be a likely target for some Crisis Relief Fund digital content they need to bring some new talent into their marketing and development departments.  Oh, and get a few board members and / or a foundation to fund a targeted engagement of a law firm specializing in digital rights negotiation and management. 

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I would have gladly donated to watch that performance.  Sadly,  it appears I'm not exclusive enough.  Huge mistake.  I am happy to pay for a virtual performance given the opportunity.    Sorry ABT dancers.  

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For what it’s worth, I received the same email that was pasted above by California, but I haven’t been a member or a subscriber for quite some time. I was last a member in 2017, haven’t had a proper subscription since 2014 (?), though have purchased single tickets every Met season since then. The donation link doesn’t specify an amount or that one needs to join as a member to get access to Manon, so I would assume a nominal donation should be enough to see the recording.

My guess is that their email list isn’t particularly well organized and may have been compiled from various sources over the years, so there may be cracks where some ticket buyers/subscribers are slipping through.

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Even if they were going to hold firm on the minimum $100 donation to become a member — why not spread the word on that?

Surely there are some current non-members out there who could be motivated to donate in part by the opportunity to see Ferri, Bolle, Cornejo and Murphy in that video.

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2 hours ago, nanushka said:

Even if they were going to hold firm on the minimum $100 donation to become a member — why not spread the word on that?

I also think that it would be perfectly legit for ABT to reserve the video to those donors who elected to give at some specified level, e.g., the member minimum of $100. There aren't very many perks they can offer their members right now, and offering a special video as a thank-you isn't on the face of it out of line. 

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I would understand if they wanted to give long-time subscribers and/or donors an extra for their loyalty.  But given the number of snafus that have been happening with systems and communications and linking the pieces together for access that I've seen in different organizations, who are generally working with limited staff and new technology partners, I'm not sure any interpretations can be relied upon.  If  they don't come outright and say something, I'm not sure we really know what they intended.

I do know that when San Francisco Opera offered on demand access to the videos they've been making accessible for one weekend for a certain level of donor, I jumped on it, and they delivered.

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11 hours ago, Helene said:

I do know that when San Francisco Opera offered on demand access to the videos they've been making accessible for one weekend for a certain level of donor, I jumped on it, and they delivered.

I found this prominently displayed at the bottom of SFO's page for today's The Makropulos Case stream, which suggests that they secured buy-in from every union involved in making opera seasons happen, including the Box Office and Front of House Employees Union:

San Francisco Opera extends its gratitude and appreciation to the following labor organizations whose members, artists, craftsmen, and craftswomen greatly contribute to our performances:

American Federation of Musicians, Local 6
American Guild of Musical Artists, Inc.
International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Local 16
Theatrical Wardrobe Union, Local 784, I.A.T.S.E.
Make-up Artists and Hair Stylists Union, Local 706, I.A.T.S.E.
The Art Directors Guild & Scenic, Title and Graphics Artists, Local 800
United Scenic Artists Local USA – 829, I.A.T.S.E.
Box Office and Front of House Employees Union, Local B-18

In addition to the text above, they've also included three of the unions' logos, much as arts nonprofits often prominently display the logos of the foundations and governmental agencies that support them. Good for SFO. 

Their pitch for making a membership-level donation to gain access to their past streams is clear and persuasive.

The Makropulos Case is one of my favorite operas, so I'm definitely tuning in.

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Seattle Opera has been re-airing old broadcasts through KING-FM, but only once, at 10am on Saturday mornings (extended through 2020, although the schedule isn't set yet).  While they list the unions that have made it possible, they haven't made the "on-demand" model available to donors.  I'm not sure if they can't, or if they haven't, but it's also audio, not video, like Lyric Opera of Chicago's on WFMT, which run at the same time.  This morning it's Rigoletto from Seattle vs. I Puritani from Chicago.

I saw Makropulos Case for the first time about two decades ago when I didn't know it well.  It was at the Liceu, and it was in Czech with supertitles in Catala.  My high school French helped a small amount :)

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1 minute ago, canbelto said:

I'm sort of confused. I'll make a donation but if I do does that mean I'll get emailed the link? 

The email @volcanohunter quoted above makes it sound like you’d need to become a member (lowest level is Friend, $100) in order to get access. But it’s definitely a confusing setup.

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2 minutes ago, canbelto said:

I'm sort of confused. I'll make a donation but if I do does that mean I'll get emailed the link? 

They'll send you an email receipt. I'd suggest keeping it in your in box and forwarding to them if you don't get the link: membership@abt.org and specialevents@abt.org

It will be on-line for seven days, so there will be time. Given the disorganized confusion we're seeing on the announcement, it's possible they'll send it out in batches of random order.

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The letter California posted included a link to the ABT Crisis Relief Fund and didn't specify a donation amount. The letter I got included a link to the membership page, where the basic level is $100. Perhaps that's an upsell. 

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