Whenever I visit a city around the country or around the world, I take a look at the theatrical landscape . . . especially online. I spend some time surfing for sites where I can get information on all the shows/theaters in town.
And as you can imagine, if I'm not in one of the major cities, these sites either don't exist, or they aren't too consumer friendly. This isn't anyone's fault. There just isn't enough of a revenue model for a plain directory in a smaller city that could keep these sites looking like Broadway.com.
So the city ends up with a very fractured online market . . . which doesn't help anybody, and leaves the entire market vulnerable to a 3rd party discount site or broker site that has a business model producers may be trying to avoid.
What can be done?
Well here's a move that is not for the weak at heart, and perhaps only for the strong of subscription.
I posed the following query to a leading non-profit in a medium-sized city recently. What if, Mr. Non-Profit, you listed every theatrical offering in town on your site, instead of just yours. That's right, instead of just your shows, you list them all, big to small and everything in between. Why, says Mr. NP?
Well . . .
- You'd position your institution as the authority in your market – the go to place for theater info.
- Your organic search traffic would increase based on the new content
- It'd be an altruisitic play that would make you look good to your consumers and the other theaters.
- There's money to be made if you established an affiliate program
- You'd defend your market against an incoming site that offers consumers something you don't want to offer them (discounts, etc.)
- And more, I'm sure.
It seems antithetical to put your competition in the same place as your product, doesn't it? And honestly, I'm not 100% sure it would be worth it. But I'm not talking about putting your competition and your shows on the same shelf. I'm just talking about putting them in the same store (the SEO play could be worth it alone). Remember when Amazon.com started listing other sellers besides Amazon for their products . . . even at cheaper prices? And last I heard they are doing fine.
Google's mission statement is to "organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful."
People find Google pretty dang useful. I'd wager some money that they'd find your theater pretty useful if it had all of your market's information.
By the way . . . I full expect that no theater in the country will ever do this. But it's fun to talk about.
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