Northwest Wine Night’s COVID Pivot was Actually a Dream Come True
How Live Oak AV’s Livestream Studio was used to turn a COVID nightmare into a success story
Did you know that there are over 1200 wineries and vineyards in the Pacific Northwest?
We didn’t either until we worked with Northwest Wine Night, an online show that focuses on introducing its audience to good, locally produced wine. The show consists of sharing two new wines every episode through a blind taste test and a short game. We’ve worked with Northwest Wine Night over the past 10 years providing audio equipment for their on-location filming. That all changed when COVID hit.
COVID was devastating for Northwest Wine Night
When COVID first started, Northwest Wine Night was hit hard. They rely on venue partnerships to film their show and advertisers to fund their programming. They went from having 18 stable advertisers to only 2 in about 2 weeks. The pandemic also ended their filming relationships since their venue partners could no longer host group events. Not only did Northwest Wine Night no longer have the budget to create their programming, they didn’t have space to do their work.
Enter Live Oak’s Livestream Studio and services
At the beginning of the pandemic, Live Oak built their Livestream Studio to better serve the community. When Northwest Wine Night lost their venue sponsors, Jennifer O’Neal, Live Oak’s CEO, recommended to Brian Calvert, the Executive Producer and Host of Northwest Wine Night, that they consider filming at the Livestream Studio. Since the studio is COVID-compliant and cost-effective, it was a great fit.
They decided to film a mini-season of 10 episodes as a test pilot. For the first time, the episodes were filmed without a live audience. Each panelist was divided by a plexiglass panel and Live Oak provided hand sanitizer, temperature stations, and microphone covers to ensure a safe filming environment.
Quality production provides amazing returns
The real surprise for Northwest Wine Night came when they posted their 10-episode “Quarantine Edition” on their website. The 10 episodes edition garnered more views than the previous well-sponsored, on-site 20-episode season! Their audience was hungry for new material, and by filming at Live Oak AV’s Livestream Studio, they were able to produce a higher picture and sound quality than ever before.
“This thing looked like something you’d see on TV!” said Brian.
Ultimately, Northwest Wine Night decided to keep filming at the studio for additional episodes.
“Why mess with added success?” said Brian.
New episodes, this time with a live audience
They held the first of the new tapings this summer but this time with a live audience, who also enjoyed the new space. They plan to film a full 20-episode season this year as well as their other popular show, Northwest Bar Night. They also have plans to bring Seattle’s own game show, Northwest Game Night, to the Live Oak studio which would make all of their programming filmed exclusively at Live Oak.
Shifting to a studio is more than just a pivot
“It’s always been our dream to produce our shows in a real studio. Live Oak’s studio is FOR REAL. Our game has never been better,” exclaimed Brian.
He plans on sticking with the Live Oak studio for as long as he can (and we’re happy to have him)! They’ve already locked down filming dates for their next seasons in 2022 (with a surprise special guest).