So if you know me well you know that I’m a dancer.  I love to dance and I love to go to any type of performing arts show so I was really interested in learning more about how different performing arts companies are using social media to promote their performances and  to create interactions with their cast and crew members.

After searching around for a little bit I found a Mashable article about How Broadway Talks to its Audiences Using Social Media by Ken Davenport.  Davenport is Broadway and Off Broadway producer and founder of the social networking site BroadwaySpotted.com.  BroadwaySpotted originally  BroadwaySpace is a social media site made for and by Broadway performers and enthusiasts.  There are links to reviews of shows, performer biographies, ticket purchasing options and links to their Twitter page for live streaming news about everything #broadwaybaby.

Davenport is also the author of the blog TheProducersPerspective.com that covers everything you think of about producing a broadway musical.

Broadway is one of the largest businesses in New York City with an average of $1 Billion a year in sales alone so it provides a large amount of the economic fuel of the city drawing tourists from all around the world to the city.  However, even though Broadway is a hugely popular and profitable industry they are way behind the times as far as their use of online technology such as social media according to Davenport.  One of the main reasons is that the quintessential musical fan is the “55 Year Old Woman” who was born before the computer era and well before the social media era.  However, since the future fan’s are avid online users it is time for Broadway to engage customers on social media platforms like never before.

Another problem for Broadway producers is that they don’t sell their productions directly to customers.  They go through 3rd party ticket sellers like Ticketmaster so producers do not get the customer data needed to better meet customer needs but with interactions on social media producers can finally communicate with their customers.

There are some shows that are using their own individually branded social media sites like Rock of Ages.

And using their lists of followers on Twitter as a direct response tool.  Rock of Ages also plays 80s themed games with their followers to keep them engaged in the show and more likely to talk about it online or with friends in the near future.

Theater goers normally attend shows in groups of people with similar interests so producers can target groups of people similar to the themes of the shows to get them to come to the show and bring their friends.  Producers are using social media sites targeted towards people with certain similarities to promote their new shows with deals and prizes.

So in conclusion I have learned that Broadway may be a little behind in their adoption of social media but there is so much potential for its success that more and more shows will have their own sites and users.  Because though people may argue with me about this I think that a Les Miserables fan is just as passionate about the new rendition of Les Miserables on Broadway as a Boston Red Sox Fan is about the new baseball season.

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2 responses »

  1. shawnlwong says:

    Great insight into an industry and how they use social media! Its great that your analysis included consideration of the age group watching broadway and this likely the reason for the low social media usage thus far. I think that it is likely that although younger age groups do attend Broadway shows, they do not go with enough frequency or with enough passion to Tweet about it or talk about it with their friends. So while one might be a sports fan and Tweet about a team they follow, it is unlikely that one would follow a production.

    Another interesting point you brought up was the lack of understanding of the audience that the theaters had since they sold tickets to third party sellers. i thought this was particularly interesting because…why dont they want to know??? Most producers of a product want to best please their consumers and thus recognize that they must know their consumers to know how. But then again this is an arts industry where creativity is only hampered by the voices of the many. I suspect that Broadway artists have little interest in hearing what social media has to say. Though in the end I agree in that it would be in their best interest to listen and participate in the conversation.

  2. amandayam says:

    Great post! I’m surprised that Broadway hasn’t been that big with social media yet. I agree with your comment about the “55 Year Old Woman” who doesn’t engage in social media but is engaged with Broadway, and how that could be a reason for a low social media usage. Also, people are now tweeting along or posting on Facebook during sporting events or television shows about what’s going on. In Broadway, people tend to focus on the performance and it’s almost unacceptable or improper to be on your cell phone tweeting during a performance. Therefore, the hype around a performance may not be as big as football game. I feel like the culture surrounding Broadway is very different from other forms of entertainment, so the approach towards social media is different.

    I definitely see the potential with Broadway and social media. As you mentioned there are sites like Broadwayspotted.com where there’s a community of Broadway lovers to communicate. Also, the fact that shows like Rock of Ages are hitting social media is another step towards Broadway becoming bigger with social media. You probably know more on this than I do, but I am curious about how many of the Broadway starts actually engage with their audience via Twitter or a site like Broadwayspotted.com. People love being able to engage with their favorite stars, and I think that could contribute to making more people excited about shows. For example, people love the Voice because they can tweet at the judges and the contestants. I also think focusing on the niche group of Broadway lovers is important and getting them excited before and after the shows.

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