Can video help theatres and theatrical production companies achieve bigger audiences?

These days, it is quite obvious that selling more tickets means you have to drive more traffic to your website and grow loyal online communities via social platforms. Less obvious is how.

Tracking what works and what doesn’t is critical. But it is so easy to reach the wrong conclusions.

Marketing directors know that online engagement relies on promotional content that is compelling and interesting to target audiences. This often has to be done on the tightest budgets. Over recent years, independent surveys continually show video to be the most persuasive connecting influencer to drive sales online. Not surprisingly, the theatre world has tried and tested video content- but with limited success. Trailers, teasers, cast or press-night interviews, exit interviews, life behind the scenes, rehearsal and performance clips have all been posted online to attract audiences.

The results have been mixed. Like any content, video has to be compelling and fresh to stir audience reactions. More often than not, content is dull, badly produced and simply fails to present the essence of a live experience. Today, many theatre marketeers think that video is not worth the costs or effort. Artistic directors often think that video gets in the way of meeting tough schedules to get shows ready on time.

But in the right hands and with clarity about what needs to be achieved, video does excite people about forthcoming shows- especially when it is clearly targeted at the right audience. It means drawing out what is genuinely appealing and different about a production. If you can’t get hold of the cast or access to the set, perhaps you can re-create a metaphorical image that poignantly presents the underlying dilemma of the storyline. Perhaps a short expressive and atmospheric vignette of a main character revealing a key insight to the show. Whatever the solution, creativity is more critical than budget. And the video must not misrepresent what an audience will see. It should present the essence of a play like no other tool of marketing can achieve.

So often, after all the trouble of making a video, audiences can’t find it online easily- either on theatre websites or that they haven’t been adequately targeted via social media strategies. Supposedly 85% of theatre-goers want to see more video to help them make choices- so why make it so difficult for them to find it?

Video is invaluable in giving a reason why audiences should sufficiently care about a theatre production. Marketeers must face the inevitable reality that in a world of so many competing opportunities for people’s time, theatre must rise to the creative challenge of how to make video work.

For over 5 years, 2020 Media International has been producing video to promote theatre productions for the West-End, leading external theatres and travelling shows. We will be pleased to show you the broad range and quality of our work.

Rob.potter@2020.media