Italy pilots its own ‘Netflix for culture’ for art exhibitions and performances, hoping to help struggling institutions stay afloat

A new platform dubbed “Netflix for Italian Culture” was launched in Europe this week, broadcasting content ranging from live operas and documentaries to virtual tours and museum exhibits. The initiative aims to promote Italian culture around the world while exploring new sources of income for cultural institutions struggling amid the pandemic.

Supported by the Italian Ministry of Culture, the ITsART online platform was launched on November 23 and is now available in 26 countries in Europe as a first step before rolling out a global expansion next year in the United States and China. .

The platform’s library has more than 1,275 titles divided into three sections: a “stage” for performing arts shows, “sites” for virtual tours of historic places and museums, and a section called “ stories ”where you can watch films and documentaries.

Much of its content is taken from its partnership with over 100 cultural institutions in Italy. There is no shortage of leading contributors, including the Uffizi Galleries, Galleria Borghese and alleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Roma, as well as the Peggy Guggenheim Foundation and Fondazione Prada. The public will also be able to attend performances such as Teatro alla Scala and Teatro dell’Opera di Roma. The platform also signed an agreement with Cinecittà, the iconic Italian film studio, as well as a range of film companies and film festivals.

“Our goal was to provide a common platform that can reach a growing audience of Italian art and culture consumers across the world, while supporting the performing and visual arts sector,” said Guido Casali, CEO of ‘ITsART, to the meida. A 51 percent controlling stake in the organization is owned by Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, the Italian government investment bank. The remaining stake is held by Chile, its technology partner headquartered in Milan.

Free registration is required, but some titles are available for free with ads. Others are available a la carte, with prices ranging from € 2.90 ($ 3.25) for a movie to € 9.90 ($ 11) for a live opera.

Like most places in the world, the country famous for its food, culture and landscapes has been hit hard by the pandemic, losing 121 billion euros ($ 161 billion) in 2020 due to travel restrictions. Cultural institutions have lost millions of visitors due to the lockdown.

Although tourism to Italy rebounded this summer as infection rates declined, the industry has yet to return to pre-Covid levels. There are also fears of uncertainties about another cycle of lockdowns in Europe amid a recent spate of Covid-19 cases. Establishments in Austria and the German state of Saxony were forced to close this week.

The hope is that the platform will help bring audiences back, even just virtually. To help develop new sources of income for cultural institutions in Italy, ITsART operates on a benefit-sharing basis with partner institutions that provide content.

The platform will grow further with more original content, and a possible international deployment in the United States and China is planned, although it is not certain that the platform would partner with local institutions in these. country.

ITsART can be viewed on most digital devices and its content is available with subtitles in Italian, English, French, German and Spanish.

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