Friday, December 26, 2008

New Marketing for a Struggling Broadway

The NY Times has an interesting article today about how Broadway is turning to the Internet and new marketing as a way to try to survive and thrive in these times.

While they do cite some examples of truly innovative and creative uses of the medium, most notably by the creator/star of In the Heights, they also talk starry-eyed about some stuff that's just the same old tired marketing delivered via new web 2.0 tools.

That show's producer has it right when he says: "“Technology is the tool, not the destination,” Mr. McCollum said. “The destination is a live audience.”" He also opines: "His theory is that the more people gravitate toward technology, the more they will hunger for human interaction."

Exactly right.

And text messaging to enter a sweepstakes or contest may indeed use a new channel, but it's not delivering that promise of human interaction. Starting a walled garden social network attached to a Broadway show site is also using modern technology, but not embracing the modern concepts of distributing and participating all across the Internet where your audience is already hanging out, rather than trying to lure them to you.

When I started my Worker Bees consulting practice, I focused on local theatres because I thought blogging and other social media had tremendous promise to bring new and existing audience members backstage virtually and make them feel as much an integral part of any live performance as, in truth, they are.

Then, as now with BlogHer, I have a core belief that one size does not fit all in this new media world. I can't imagine why some of the ideas being tried, as described in the Times article, would actually bring people into the theatre, hearts racing as the lights dim.

But the creator of In the Heights using his own time and talents to develop something unique and share it with the world? Now, that could inspire a trip to the theatre next time I'm in NYC!

Cross-posted at the SF Bay Area Theatre Blog

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