Dataxis held a new virtual panel on Wednesday, October 29th, called ‘Teatrix ‘boom’ in Latin America: evolution of OTT services, challenges and opportunities’. The panel was sponsored by Verizon Media, and featured Mirta Romay, CEO at Teatrix; Jossi Fresco Benaim, Regional Head of Sales Latin America at Verizon Media Platform; and Alejandro Lacalle, CMO at Teatrix. Lacalle anticipated that Teatrix is focusing on its expansion throughout Latin America, and will be launched in Mexico next week.
‘We offer Teatrix one of the platforms used by the most important brands in the world, such as Disney, Discovery, Fox Sports, ESPN and others. We started working with Teatrix in 2017. The innovation they proposed to bring theater via OTT, and to do it in a very different way, much more linked to cinema, adds a lot of value to plays and expands the delivery windows of that content. Teatrix is a case where it is possible to show how an innovative OTT service can be launched, and leave all the complexities involved in launching it in charge of a company that knows how to do it, and has done it for many years’, said Fresco Benaim.
Regarding the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on theaters, Romay stated that ‘the entire industry has been hit. But I also want to emphasize that theater is like a very fast regenerative cell. When the pandemic began, we started a joint project with the ‘Paseo La Plaza’ theater complex (Buenos Aires, Argentina), where we had a very special success, because they were the first days of social distancing period, and we were able to offer this possibility of entertainment with plays made there, delivered for free. From there, the platforms began to multiply, because public spaces were closed. Everything was moved to the private atmosphere, and the only accessibility we had was through devices.
‘The impact of the pandemic and the quarantine period in Argentina coincided with the fifth anniversary of Teatrix. The platform started its operations in 2015, with a fairly limited catalog, and with a disruptive and totally new idea, which consisted of showing the Buenos Aires theater on its best version; with a cinematic language. At the beginning of March, we had five years of experiencing an interesting growth for us, at a rate of around 5% per month. But, from that moment on, we had greater growth, as a result of people’s search for original content, which had to remain locked up. We are a vertical platform, which is in the niche of the theater’, Lacalle described. ‘Beyond the growth in subscribers, we also saw a growth in consumption by each subscriber; in the amount of hours and plays that it consumed’, added the executive.
Regarding the appearance of new platforms by ticket companies due to the pandemic, Romay stated that ‘the issue arises from a critical situation. Viewers found two tools available when they had to face a social distancing period: the ticket companies, who had to endure a critical situation together with the artists, who had to work; and Teatrix, with a team of five years working. In any case, the two situations cannot be compared, because Teatrix was a platform designed to grow. We knew where we were going; with a complex infrastructure. This pandemic found us fully equipped from the point of view of infrastructure and available plays (160 plays). The great evolution of Teatrix took place in 2017, with Verizon and with the advent of applications for mobile devices. We also correct usability and content delivery problems’.
‘Ticket sales platforms faced a totally different situation. We are talking about a crisis answer, against a more thoughtful and organized one, like the one we had’, added the executive. In addition, she reported that ‘there was enormous visibility for this consumption way and this cultural change, as well as a threat: this business is vertical. An internationalization brought us in a few months; and the danger I see is the atomization and pulverization of the content. As soon as the pandemic began, we discovered that there are other platforms that offer and request content from us. There is a complexity that is starting to take place, where the platforms multiply, and we must define where we are going’, said Romay.
According to Fresco, ‘Teatrix grew without having to make a large investment. They were able to launch very quickly and had a lot of subscribers. They had a vision of something very innovative, with the challenges that this means and the ability they had to make a more TV production, which has innovated in the way of doing theater. This does not end here, but constitutes a new world, where the scenic ways are transferred to a digital format, with added values’. In turn, he highlighted that Verizon Media offered Teatrix ‘all the coding, storage, delivery and all the complex part of taking the content and delivering it on the platform. That has allowed them to launch the platform, focus on innovation, and leave all technical problems in our hands’.
‘When we launched Teatrix, there were a lot of objections about whether theater should be filmed. That created a great challenge for me. When I started working on the theater world, it had a pretty serious blow from cinema, TV, series and on demand formats. Theater remained in a niche, which could not be expanded. We managed to break a very important barrier. When actors realized that their work was showing off, they began to trust us more. In March 2020, we have a very large stock to finish editing. Until October, we were able to show three new plays per month’, said Romay. Lacalle added that the hours of consumption were multiplied by 10, and the average time in which each subscriber remained on Teatrix was multiplied by three.
‘We have been working on the internationalization of the company for a long time’, said Lacalle. ‘We contacted the world of theater in CDMX and Spain, and we tried to develop those relationships, looking for partners who could invest in a multidimensional project like this; and that could incorporate local content. In Mexico we will launch the OTT next week, with a partner closely linked to the world of theater, and with the ability to incorporate good content, with great plays, great Mexican artists and filmed with a quality that we establish with certain guidelines to achieve a language which, in any case, does not replace the face-to-face event, but it is designed so that whoever watches it has an immersive experience. Contents filmed by Teatrix have an audience watching them’, said Lacalle.
Romay also expressed herself on rights and technology investment, and explained that ‘I do not have the model for rights acquisition that other platforms have, and my model allowed me to grow, because I did not have to make large investments in content. It is very dangerous to buy content, because there are few productions that feature good results. In our case, of the 160 plays, some of them are ‘top’, and the rest are more minimized ‘.
‘We think that, with the post-pandemic period, the multiplicity of PPV offers will gradually decline, and we want to be able to continue offering a high-value catalog. Consumers will continue to be mobilized by those actors they follow, which are available on theaters and on TV, but we also visualize a much more dynamic interaction of plays that, due to the topic they are about or their leading actors, generate interest in other markets and new businesses’, Lacalle concluded.