Apparently, we've been telling the public TOO much about our shows...like the titles and descriptions. Seems the way to sell out a show is not to tell anybody anything. Those crazy Brits.
The truth is that no one
but Mike Leigh and his actors know what his first stage play for 12
years is about. But that has not hindered its performance at the box
office. The new production, which is currently going by the intuitive
title of A New Play by Mike Leigh, has already sold out after
theatregoers snapped up more than 16,000 advance tickets.
That call you just got on your cellphone could be a nearby billboard calling you. Advertisers have figured out how to let a billboard call bluetooth enabled phones that come within range. And they're claiming a 15% conversion rate!
Producing shows Off-Broadway is definitely not for the faint of heart. Variety reports on the optimism of the new Off-Broadway season, including a joint direct mail effort organized by Eliran Murphy Group.
Supersized Songs: Risky Business A slew of
Off B'way tuners flaunt fiscal rules with (relatively) big casts and
scope by Robert Hofler
Broadway's musicals trip all over themselves to open in the spring, right before
the Tony cutoff, then fall is the time of year for Off Broadway to sing. That
legit truism has never been truer than it is this season.
"It is so much tougher to open an Off Broadway show in spring, competing with
Broadway," says Jeffrey Richards, who partners with Jean Doumanian and others to
bring "The Great American Trailer Park Musical" to Dodger Stages.
Opening Sept. 15, the musical shares that preem date with the Alfred Kinsey
bio tuner "Dr. Sex," set to launch at the Peter Norton Space.
Together, they are the first in a batch of new fall 2005 tuners that includes
"Slut" (American Theater of Actors, Oct. 1), "A Woman of Will" (Daryl Roth, Oct.
2), "Five Course Love" (Minetta Lane, Oct. 16), "Bingo" (St. Luke's, Nov. 7) and
"The Ark" (37 Arts, Nov. 14), with "Adrift in Macao" ready to go Oct. 26 at the
Philadelphia Theater Company and circling for a 499-seater in Gotham if some of
the above should falter.
That's a helluva lotta singing and dancing onstage for any two-month period
on or off Broadway
TV viewership is down this summer, according to today's Variety. Here are a few excerpts:
of the dozen-plus reality skeins launched by broadcasters since
Memorial Day have flat-out flopped. Original dramas were ignored. And even repeatable warhorses are showing signs of age.
With three weeks left to go, the broadcast nets are down a
collective 10% among adults 18-49 vs. last summer -- and 15% in viewers
was too much reality, and most of it sucked," says one web wiseguy
who's had his own share of ratings disappointments this summer.
So movies are down this summer. TV is down this summer. But Broadway box office is stronger than ever (though it must be noted that attendance is down while receipts are up). Maybe discriminating taste is finally winning out?
One irritated customer meets one annoyed customer service rep and all hell breaks loose. It's amazing how far and wide this little incident has spread thanks to the internet. We all know how snarky box office folks can be. Are you just one rude moment away from your own customer relations nightmare?
From BizCommunity.com comes this advice from Sally Falkow for PR folks and those who hire them:
Traditional PR is dead - new content strategies
Amy Gahran, Editor of Contentious, recently threw out a
challenge to PR people: What if the press release were outlawed today? What if
you'd get burned at the stake if you wrote or transmitted another press release?
What other types of documents, channels, etc. would you use to get your
communication job done? I dare you to think creatively about this
The reason I feel PR people should take a long hard look at this challenge is
that there has been a marked shift in media consumption. The playing field has changed so much in the last five years
it's hardly recognizable. The majority of Americans in the 18 - 54 age group now
get their news and information online. Yahoo News has the largest online news
audience. That's more than CCN.com, the NYTimes.com or even the
A New Look At PR
To ignore these changes and keep
on doing PR the same old way doesn't make any sense to me. Of course people
still read print, but not like they used to.
It is a fact that your audiences have shifted. They are online.
two thirds of all purchases are first researched online and they are looking for
peer reviews, user comments or opinions from people they trust. You simply do
not have control of the conversation anymore. Just sending out press releases to
mainstream media is about as effective as an ostrich sticking his head in the
Here is my list of PR "do's" in response to Amy's
1. Figure out who your audiences really are, what they care
about and where they are online. A good example, Stonyfield Farms
2. Find out what key phrases they use when they search for
companies, products or issues like yours.
3. Keyword research for PR is
different - you need to know what keywords they search in the News Engines as
well as in the Search Engines.
4. Take a fresh look at your press
releases. Realize that with online news sites such as Yahoo News, Google News or
Topix, you reach your audience directly. Your release doesn't have to get the
attention of a reporter or an editor. Write your release like a news story that
the end user will read and respond to.
5. Optimize the press release
according to the search engine rules so it gets found.
6. Make sure you
have links from the release to your website. And that the page they land on
addresses the content you have put in the release, so you get the result you
7. Start a blog. If the thought of opening your blog to comments
from anyone and everyone, including porn spammers, makes you go pale and start
shaking, use an enterprise blogging platform like Blogsite from Myst Technology.
You can still allow the dialogue - just not in real time. And then you won't
have to hire a full time assistant to monitor the comments.
8. Make the
blog about news and issues, not just another sales pitch for your company.
Example: Jason Tremblay started the Time Share Owners blog earlier in the year.
In June the first hurricanes hit and his coverage of the effect on vacationing
and time share shot him to the top of the search results. This case study with
stats and results will be presented at Search Engine Strategies next week. Page
one search results translate to visibility and brand value.
other influential blogs in your industry. Link to them, mention them, get to
know the bloggers. Comment on their content. One mention of the Digital Camera
Shoot Out on Engadget did more for Samy's Camera than any mainstream media
mentions have done in the past. When I met Jason Calacanis of Engadget at the
PRSA Blog event, I thanked him for the mention. He was enthusiastic about Samys
and now I have an opportunity to get more coverage on Engadget. Young, tech
savvy males are one of the hardest audiences to reach and influence today. Jason
10. Put your press releases on your website and put them into
an RSS feed to broaden your online distribution. "Even if it's something as
simple as putting press releases in an RSS feed, marketers will benefit from
early exposure to distributing information via RSS — and receive valuable
feedback from key constituents on what types of content they would like to
have," says Charlene Li, Forrester Research, Using RSS As A Marketing Tool.
PRESSfeed was developed to aid PR people to do this very thing.
Monitor your online footprint. Mentions in blogs - good or bad - can spread like
wildfire. Blog Pulse is a handy tool to help you. The RSS Intelligence channels
in a Blogsite make it a breeze.
PR today is a very different animal than
it was five years ago. A press release can still be a very effective PR tool -
if you do it according to the new rules of engagement.
Media Relations is
still a major part of good PR - but you have to look beyond mainstream print and
find out how to be effective online.
For a reasonable fee ($35 - $60 depending on the team), women get up
to four hours of education in football which includes meeting the
players, touring the locker room, trying on equipment, getting a team
playbook, learning what all the terminology means, refreshments, and
tickets to a future game.
Not only has this been successful in attracting fans, it builds
strong fans who feel connected with the players that they have met.
There are plenty of businesses where the intimidation factor is
huge. By helping customers become part of
the in-the-know group, you can build a better experience and loyalty.
From iMedia Connection, here are some thoughts from a 4-part series based on a recent speech by Jeff Minsky, director of emerging media platforms, U.S. OMD:
The technology is already in place to allow a huge, almost unlimited amount of bandwidth to come into your home. (Think videophones...think advertising on videophones.)
Video on Demand (VOD): Comcast made it an investment in MGM and Sony film libraries. So they can give up to 200 films a month for free -- not pay-per-view, but for free -- to the consumers to watch. So a couple of weeks ago, I couldn't find anything to watch on traditional television, and I went on the VOD and I saw "Brian's Song." There's two hours of my time that is no longer in the universe of a potential sea of commercial television. I'm now in a separate universe altogether, still on the TV device.
TiVo and DVR's: The consumer is in control. They do not have to watch what's being pushed down to them. It's not about three networks, five networks, 50 cable channels, saying, "Here's what you can watch." It's about taking the ability to get content from anywhere and putting it on your screen. Technology is there to help and enable them, but it's only really the beginning.
DVR owners skip commercials 80 percent of the time when viewing recorded programming.Now, some of the Forrester and Jupiter studies that have come out have reinforced the fact that people aren't skipping the commercials because they don't like commercials. They're skipping commercials because they want their time back. We've taken up too much of the consumers' time with advertising.
Home theater: I believe the home theater environment, the fact that you're spending $2,000, $3,000 for a 57-inch high def, plasma, LCD or DLP, with a Dolby 5.1 surround sound system, is going to change the actual viewing habits within the household. I believe that with a low-cost entry of being able to watch videos, either through NetFlix to your TiVo, through pay-per-view, or through buying a DVD for less than $10, $12, more cinema theatrical viewing is going to occur in this environment.
New Technologies: There are various providers that are bringing technology to the market that will allow users to click on a :30 commercial and telescope into a long form video or jump page. There are also technologies that will increase the interactivity that a TV viewer has with the programming they are watching; whether its real time score updates or voting opportunities during debates/Sunday Morning News Programming.
Direct TV is going to have the mosaic -- the ability to watch six football games on NFL Sunday Ticket, watch them simultaneously. Each game will be coded. So as someone is about to score, the skin around the game will be coded red so then you'll be able to switch the audio and go full screen to that game. After someone scores or doesn't score, you'll be able to flip back to the mosaic, watch the six games that are currently running, and then wait for the next team that's about to score.
I'm going to take a minute and try to use whatever influence I may have with you folks (I can dream, can't I?) and tell you that you really should get yourselves down to see Oedipus at Palm Springs at New York Theatre Workshop. Now I had heard all about the full frontal lesbian nudity, which is SO not anything I'd ever be interested in in a million years. And I had seen the Five Lesbian Brothers' last show at New York Theatre Workshop 6 or 7 years back and didn't really love it or connect with it in any way. But this show is different. So it was with less than great expectations that I found myself in the theater tonight, prepared to not be engaged by a play about lesbians. Boy was I wrong. Absolutely loved it and can't wait to go back and see it again! It's not one hundred percent perfect and I have a few minor little quibbles here and there, but overall it is extremely powerful. And funny. And smart. And it's one act with no intermission (the best kind of theater there is!). So please do yourself a favor and go see it. There is talk of a commercial transfer, which I suspect would be quite a challenge given the subject matter. But do go see it. Really. And don't be surprised if you see me there again, too. Did I mention that it was powerful? And funny? GO!
P.S. Oh yeah, forgot to mention...New York Theatre Workshop is a client of mine. But if I didn't love the show, I would not be telling you that you have to go see it.