Classical music streaming to a new video home


Bach, Beethoven, Brahms and friends have become all but extinct on commercial radio, but an audio/visual platform called Classical TV is giving them a home in the internet. And it says it’s pulling in a surprisingly young audience.

The service has been streaming for over a year, and says Microsoft Analytics show that 20.6% of its audience falls into the 18-to-24 year-old demo; 51.2% are 18-to-34; and 79.6% are 18-to-49.

Classical TV says that these results are consistent with a poll it commissioned from Rasmussen in 2009, which found that the potential online audience skewed young. 68% of those saying they would stream such programming fell into the 18-49 demo, broken down as follows:  26% were 18–29; 27% were 30–39; and 15% were 40–49.

“We’ve made it easier for everyone, including younger people, to engage with classical performances,” said Stephen Greco, Classical TV’s Director of Content. “Others are starting to do the same thing: Peter Gelb at the Metropolitan Opera, Alan Gilbert at the New York Philharmonic– people who are thinking in new ways about reaching new ears and eyes, and reshaping the demographic of classical audiences.  Of course, we have a secure base of mature culture lovers, but we’re delighted that many younger viewers are watching, say, La Boheme, here for the first time and then coming back for more.”

RBR-TVBR observation: Certain types of programming are prone to lose the critical mass necessary to be offered as a purely local service. But that critical mass can be found on the internet. The flip side, of course, is that you are going from a limited local competitive marketplace to a worldwide marketplace.

Think of the true dawn of cable, after they figured out they could do more than pipe in broadcast TV to out-of-DMA households. Many new channels were offered; many did not survive.

Right may well be where the internet is now, with many program niches out there to be filled, and with many trying to do the filling. A few years down the road, we’ll know who the winners are.