“Hamilton” was a game-changer when it first came to Broadway. It featured a star-studded cast of performers who put a theatrical spin on America’s history. Now, the show is breaking through to the streaming scene. Disney+ purchased a filmed version of the musical, which you can now watch on its service. What does this mean for the future of Broadway, though? Will you be able to stream Broadway shows more often?
The Switch to Streaming
Before streaming services existed, some Broadway shows would have a movie adaptation or go to theaters or straight to home video for viewing. Other productions simply stayed on Broadway. Now, however, the streaming industry is changing things.
People want all the content they can get their hands on. You may have noticed the drastic rise in streaming service subscriptions over the past few years. This change is no accident — the present and future of entertainment are streaming.
Beginning in the summer of 2015, “Hamilton” was a few years before the streaming boom, and it’s been going strong ever since. Of course, platforms like Netflix were around, but even just five years ago, the streaming industry was not what it is today. However, since “Hamilton” is one of the most successful musicals of all time, its relevance has not faded.
Now, you can watch it on Disney+, which is a new streaming service from the media conglomerate. It premiered on the platform on July 3 of this year, and due to its high popularity, this transition looks like a smart one.
The Disney+ app saw over 750,000 downloads during the premiere weekend alone, which is a drastic increase from the platform’s previous numbers. That number only includes app downloads, meaning browser and smart TV usage only added to the total engagement.
As “Hamilton” boosts the popularity of Disney+, other platforms are likely to follow in an attempt to make theatrical content more widely available to audiences. The Disney+ and “Hamilton” deal comes at a smart time — Broadway will remain closed until at least January 3, 2021. To meet consumer needs and demands, more streaming services should focus on Broadway titles, just as Disney+ has.
Disney+ is not the only streaming service out there, but it’s one of the more popular ones. With over 50 million subscribers in just five months, the platform isn’t slowing down. However, it does have competition.
The streaming boom brought with it dozens of platforms. YouTube, Disney and Apple all hopped on the trend and started their own services for streaming. On these platforms, though, not many theatrical titles exist. Part of the reason “Hamilton” coming to Disney+ is so groundbreaking is that it’s not a common occurrence. People usually have to pay hundreds of dollars for Broadway tickets. Now, anyone can create a Disney+ account and watch “Hamilton.”
Streaming technology brings the titles to you. With a new app from Broadway, GalaPro, streaming goes a step further to provide accessibility.
Individuals with hearing loss can use this app to translate the entire program and add subtitles or audio descriptions. Since only 16% of adults between 20 and 69 who need hearing-aid technology use it, this accessibility is a powerful, easy step to take so everyone can enjoy the show.
With renewed accessibility and availability, platforms like Amazon Prime, Netflix, Marquee TV and Apple TV+ will try to get more theater content to compete with newer and quickly expanding services.
Broadway On Demand is a new streaming service that has potential. Since it’s just starting, the platform has some more growing to do — it must add groundbreaking and popular titles. BroadwayHD, on the other hand, has over 300 titles, including the hit “Kinky Boots,” which arrives on July 15. As a long-running show, this production is sure to draw people in.
Regardless, wherever you choose to stream Broadway shows, the competition will continue to heat up — courtesy of the “Hamilton” and Disney+ deal.
How to Watch
The success of “Hamilton” on Broadway pairs well with the rise of streaming platforms. The musical will continue its successful run on Disney+. What the producers decide to do after Broadway reopens is still unclear, but more productions are likely to join streaming in the meantime.
You can watch “Hamilton” by subscribing to Disney+. Since the platform got rid of its free trial period, you’ll need to purchase the $7-per-month plan, the $70-per-year plan or the $13-per-month package bundle with Hulu and ESPN. The showing features the original cast with Lin Manuel Miranda and Leslie Odom Jr.