Introducing the phenomenon of ‘livecasting’, this chapter recalls its history, and the range of contributory forces which shaped its emergence. Originally known only under its industry name, ‘Alternative Content’, the idea of beaming live performance events into cinemas had been conceived some years earlier, but primarily as a means of promoting the sale of expensive new digital projection systems. The first successful events were in 2006, when the New York Metropolitan Opera, driven by difficult financial circumstances, took things in an unexpected direction. The surprise success of these events led other arts organisations to develop the format, and to begin to create institutional infrastructures for these events. But the issue of a public ‘name’ for them remains unsettled.
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- Introduction: The Success Story with No Name
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