Streaming Makes Pie Bigger

Social Media

© Marima - Broadway Producer Ken Davenport, in a very enjoyable blog post about Taylor Swift, reminds all of us of one simple truth: Live events simply cannot be replicated. Watching something streamed on a tablet, a computer, a flatscreen tv, or a mobile phone is still an event that happens without a venue and without the experience of being part of a live audience.

So why are people afraid of streaming—and in fact, why aren’t more organizations embracing it more quickly? I hear the naysayers suggesting that the unions won’t let us, but it’s our job to creatively get around that. I’m not saying to do anything illegal, but rather something creative. If you can’t stream your musical, stream an interview with the lead. If you can’t stream the symphony, I’ll bet you can stream a string quartet from the orchestra before the concert. Start streaming—it’s where the world is going. As Ken Davenport says:

So, rejoice and be glad! Because when you think (or blog) about it, we, in the theater, are the lucky ones. As more music and movies can be downloaded and streamed and seen through osmosis, the live event becomes more rare, more special and worth more money.

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Morning Productivity

Smart Idea!

© Ana Blazic Pavlovic - If your organization is anything like ours, there’s never enough time to do everything you need to do. So I try to pay attention to anything that can make me more productive, and I've read a lot of books on the subject. But this article makes a new point: It’s not about what you do as much as when you do it. If you’re a morning person, you’ll like this article in U.S. News & World Report, and if not, you might decide to become one. (Yes, the article says you can train yourself to become a morning person.)

Here’s to early morning productivity!
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2014 Wrap-up: Skating Toward the Puck


© igor - Each December since 2005 I’ve written a year-end review and made some predictions concerning technology as it intersects with audience development, marketing, and fundraising. I’ve just created a page with links to all of my previous wrap-ups, so if you’d like to go back and see how accurate my predictions were, click here.

One of the most interesting books I read this year was The Second Machine Age by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee. It explains how Moore’s Law — which roughly states that the capacity of the computer chips that power computers would double every 18 months — continues to hold true, and has been driving some of the most amazing things we experience today and will see in the next few years. The notion that I can talk into my iPhone and dictate a message with 99% accuracy, or ask Siri a question and most of the time get a reasonably good answer, would have been considered science fiction only five years ago. The naysayers complain that Siri misses a lot, but let’s think about what’s really going on here. You talk into your phone in a normal speaking voice, in the street in traffic, and with your very strong (you fill the blank: New York, Midwest, Canadian, Southern) accent, and in under a second you get a reasonably intelligent response. And then stop and think that we are only entering the “stone age” of machine understanding!

The book also argues that the rate of technological change is increasing. Your responsibility as a manager is not simply to keep up with that change but to anticipate it. You can no longer think only in terms of next season; you have to look out three or four years. The famous quote from Wayne Gretzky, the great hockey player, applies here: “I skate to where the puck is gonna be, not where it has been.”

Here’s where the puck has been this past year and where it’s going in the future. Some of these things are reason for excitement; others are cautionary. (click to read more...)

Let’s Get Real About Cell Phone Pictures

Smart Idea!, Social Media

© cunaplus - This week I went to a dance event in New York, and I cringed as I watched a man two rows ahead of me taking pictures of the dancers during the curtain calls. I wasn’t cringing at the fact that he was taking the pictures, rather, I was cringing watching the two ushers that were standing at the end of the row waving wildly at him to stop and then standing there looking like they were going to arrest him as the curtain finally came down.

It made him, his date, and everyone around us uncomfortable. I didn’t wait around to watch the aftermath. Did they ask him to actually delete those photos? And if so, to what end?

Rather than telling audience members when to turn off their phones, why don’t we do it in reverse? Why not announce something like this: “Owing to union rules, and so as not to interrupt the performers or distract your fellow audience members, taking pictures during the performance isn’t allowed. But as soon as the clapping starts, we encourage you to take as many pictures as you can and share them with us, and with everyone else you know, using hashtag #showname.” That way everyone is clear about what to do and there’s some logic to what’s going on. And if there’s a union rule that prohibits photos during the curtain calls, that’s a rule that’s worth trying to change.

You cannot police your entire audience, and your ushers should be there to usher, not to be the photo police. Let’s get real about how the world is changing and adapt to it, not against it.

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Big Data: Is your approach flat wrong? Or are you leading the pack?

Guest Blogger

© scandinaviastock - Today's guest blog post is written by Joe Tish, Senior Manager, Client Success, here at Patron Technology.

I was recently part of a panel at the FutureTix ticketing symposium discussing the value of data with my ticketing industry colleagues. On the agenda were the “who, what, when, where, and how” of using data to enhance your business and customer relationships. We asked questions such as these:

  • What data is useful?
  • Do I append existing data?
  • When and where do I get the data?
  • And most importantly, how do I make it relevant and useful to my organization?

Data is on everyone’s mind, no matter the size of the business, but are you capturing and leveraging that data? Or do you think you aren’t “big enough” to do that?

For some organizations this discussion brings to mind data warehouses, millions of records, and “is this really something I can do at my organization?” or “isn’t this just for large sports teams and arenas?” The answer is a resounding no. Every organization can improve the way it handles and gathers patron data.

What did I discover on the panel? (click to read more...)

End-of-Year Fundraising—If You Do It, Do It Better

Smart Idea!

© I’m not a big fan of end-of-year fundraising. Rather, I think fundraising should be timed to your patron’s interaction with your organization. If she attended a show, asking her to support your organization within a day or a week — when she is on a “cultural high” — is better than waiting until tax time. At tax season you’re competing with every other cause out there. It stands to reason that with more competition, you won’t do as well.

Having said that, here’s a very good post from the Evently Group that provides best practices for raising money at the end of the year. I don’t agree with all of these, but many are things that you should be getting right all year long.

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