The 400-year-old London theatre has recently launched a video-on-demand service, which allows its users access to more than 50 of its productions. 

According to The Globe, it’s the first theatre in the world to offer its own productions through online streaming on its own platform.

Lets take a look at the platform and see how it compares to the other video streaming services available for other media.

Productions are in high definition and are available for rent or purchase. One-week rental costs £3.99 or the ability to stream a production freely costs £7.99.

The Globe Player currently offers its main summer season productions from 2009 through to 2012.

Also available is every play performed in the theatre’s 2012 Globe to Globe season, a showcase of foreign language productions.

Sign-up just requires a mere email and password, then when it comes to streaming a video you click on one of the giant red call-to-actions, here I’ll be watching Twelfth Night starring Stephen Fry…

Then you just type in your card number, expiry and CVC.

That’s it. You don’t need any other extraneous info like name and address, it’s simple and hassle free. Also you can choose to save your payment details making further purchases an incredibly one-click process.

Streaming itself is smooth and glitch free (although this my depend on your broadband speed), controls are very simple and do not obscure the action on screen, and because it’s in high definition the video looks fantastic in full screen.

Navigation is very straightforward. This is probably because Shakespeare plays are easily categorised into three genres. However the search box is superb, offering predictive text results for actors and available productions.

In the left navigation menu you can also find a link to free content.

Here you can find more than 100 interviews with highly distinguished directors and actors (and Ewan McGregor) on the topic of performing Shakespeare.

It’s great to keep the free content separate from the paid-for videos, this way there are no nasty surprises when it comes to playing a video that takes your fancy.

As for mobile devices, The Globe Player does operate an adaptive site for the smaller screen. It’s easy to navigate and explore with minimum need for fiddily text entry.

Not that I would imagine ever needing to stream a three hour long play on my mobile phone, however the videos do work just as well as they do on the desktop. Happily there’s no restrictive software that stops you from viewing like some video players require.

All in all this is a very simple, easy-to-use experience. Great to navigate, sign-up to, stream on multiple devices and enjoy. Many other platforms could learn a lot from this experience.

For more on the blog about video on demand, check out these comparisons of IPlayer, 4oD and ITV Player and LOVEFiLM and NOW TV and Netflix.

Christopher Ratcliff

Published 11 November, 2014 by Christopher Ratcliff

Christopher Ratcliff is the editor of Methods Unsound. He was the Deputy Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

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Comments (2)

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Dale Cadle

It's a great idea - but the primary reason these services fall down for me is not integrating a download facility. The only reason I would watch something on a tablet or mobile would be if I am traveling (as I do frequently). Unfortunately, even with TV channel players the only ones that currently offer this is BBC iPlayer and (to a limited degree) Channel 4's 4OD.

over 3 years ago

Pete Austin

Pete Austin, CINO at Fresh Relevance

Very good Website, but the theater is actually a reconstruction of the 1599 original. I lived in the City of London at the time and watched it being built.

From a marketing viewpoint, I wish they had made one play available for free so people could try watching a full-length work, and that they had allowed downloading. The times when I might like to watch a film or play are often when I don't have reliable streaming, for example when traveling by train.

over 3 years ago

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