Pin this! Pinterest takes off – can you benefit?


You don’t know what Pinterest is?  Hmmmm, what’s the best way to describe it.

How about this:

Pinterest is . . . the 16th highest trafficked website in the US.

Got your attention yet?

And, just like I bet that Twitter would take off back in 2008 (for fun, read that post – I liked to say the word “twit” instead of “tweet” – hey it was 2008!), I’m predicting that Pinterest will move up that list a few more notches before this year is up.

Just check out this hockey stick of a growth curve over the last six months.  Talk about a tipping point!

So seriously, what is Pinterest and how can you use it for your show?

Pinterest is . . . an electronic bulletin board.  It’s e-scrapbooking. Or the inside of an e-locker.

It’s a place where you e.jpgn pictures of things you love.

You grab photos from anywhere on the web of anything on the web, and you just put them up on your page. And then other people cruise your pages, comment on them, repin your pix, and . . . that’s it.

And, here’s why it’s something that theatrical marketers need to pay attention to . . . the primary user of Pinterest is (and I’d almost say “only” user of Pinterest) . . . is female.

It’s loved by women, lots and lots of women.  Users are younger than the traditional theatergoer, of course, but give it some time.

Lots of wedding pages, lots of fashion pages, food pages, and more.

So Pinterest is gonna be huge(r).

But the concept of why it’s going to be even bigger is even more interesting.  Follow this path of our consumption of content.

We started with articles . . . then we went to blogs, which were a bit shorter . . . then we went to even shorter tweets . . . and now, it seems, that we’re going to simply . . . images.  We don’t even want to read a thing to understand who/what we’re looking at it. We just want to get it. Instantly.

Shocking, isn’t it?  A little scary, maybe.  I mean what comes next?

Check out Pinterest here.  In typical early adopter fashion, you need to “apply” for a page.  But soon enough everyone will be able to get one.  And then Pinterest’s traffic will really take off (and I’d imagine Facebook is already figuring out to how to incorporate the concept of image-only into their network).

How do you use Pinterst for your show?

Check out tomorrow’s post.

But before that . . . let’s take a little poll?  Comment below if you already knew about Pinterest before this post?  And let us all know if you have a page!


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A Postmortem on a Project.

At the end of the life cycle of any project, whether it’s a success, or a, well, not-so-success (we don’t use the “F” word here), it’s vital that you sit down, and take stock of what went right and what went not-so-right.

We’ve made it a priority here at DTE to make sure we do this on every thing we do, big or small, show or marketing initiative, because we learn from what works, and we learn even more from what doesn’t.

I thought I’d give you an example of a PM in today’s blog:

4 years ago, at the start of the social network craze, I launched a brand new social networking website called BroadwaySpace, built on an “off-the-shelf” Ning platform.  The site took off, powered by great content like “Broadway’s 50 Most Powerful People” and “30 Under 30” as well as contests like “Broadway’s Next Big Star”.  The site was even featured in Social Media Marketing for Dummies!  (which is another great primer for those looking to learn more about this subject, by the way)

But a year or so ago, we started seeing traffic fall.  We tried a bunch of things to keep the traffic up in the air, but nothing seemed to take root.  So, recently we had to make the difficult decision to transition the site to something else.  It’s always hard to see something you’ve worked on sputter, but as Seth Godin wrote about in this fantastic read, as a business person (which includes all of us Producers), you’ve got to know when to move on to something else.

So what happened?  Well, that’s what Postmortems are all about, and here are four of the reasons my team and I came up with this AM when we discussed why BroadwaySpace didn’t become what we wanted it to become.

1.  What’s in a name?

MySpace was the rage in 2007.  And now it’s the butt of business jokes.  We made the mistake of trying to attach ourselves to someone else’s brand instead of creating our own when we named our site BroadwaySpace.  Going forward I know that I’d rather fail by being myself, then fail trying to be someone else.  We never anticipated that MySpace wouldn’t even be relevant X years later. Ironically, a lot of people don’t even understand why we called it BroadwaySpace.  So what we thought would help is now irrelevant, or even hurting our brand.

2.  Facebook blew the F up.

Niche social networks like ours were supposed to be the next big thing, or so I thought anyway.  Why go to a department store for your social networking, when you can go to a boutique, right?  Well, that’s what a whole bunch of us in this space believed . . . but one company crushed those dreams.  Facebook got so good at what it did, and kept expanding and adding features, that people didn’t leave like they left MySpace and Friendster and the other social networking predecessors.  Obviously this was beyond our control, but it had a major impact.  People just didn’t want to interact with friends and “walls” in more than one place.

3.  You’re only as good as your foundation.

As I said, our site was built on the Ning platform, which was placing a multi-million dollar bet on the niche networking future.  I was friendly with the CEO (who loved Broadway musicals and is no longer with the company), we were in a group of preferred developers who helped advise them on what we wanted from the platform, we even did a testimonial.  Well, they couldn’t advance as fast as Facebook, so our features were quickly outdated.  Pricing changed.  Response time changed.  And, well, the “feel” of the company changed.  The site was penetrated by spammers from all over the world, and Ning couldn’t keep them out.  And because of the spam problem, Google never really gave it too much credit in their search engines.  And organic search is a huge part of what makes a website work.  Something tells me Ning may be having their own PM in a not-so-short period of time.

4.  Consistency is the name of the game.

We had some great content, for sure, but it was a bit sporadic. We could never find a routine of proving great content every day, week, month, whatever it was.  It wasn’t scheduled.  I should have learned from my blog (which as you know is published at the same time, every day, seven days a week), that people want to set their watch by what you do.  Be consistent, and they will come.

So we learn, we adapt, and we move on to the next project, but the postmortem is a necessary element in that process.

Because if you can’t admit you made a mistake, you can never be truly ready for success.

What’s happening to BroadwaySpace?  Well, despite the way I’ve made it sound, the site still gets a great deal of traffic.  And last year, we started a partnership with one of Broadway’s most popular tweeters, BroadwaySpotted, who we’ve been learning a great deal from.  So, since BroadwaySpotted needed to expand, and we needed to morph, is becoming, or as we like to call it, Broadway’s Star Magazine.

Even though we’re excusing ourselves from what we were doing before, we’re making sure that picks up a lot of the content that we know people love, including ‘Broadway’s 50 Most Powerful People’, one of our most popular articles.  (The new Power List went live with the debut of the new site yesterday! Check it out!)


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The next advancement in scenery . . . none.

A friend of mine who stays up on the latest in all sorts of technology sent me a link the other day for a projection-like company called ViXen, which is marketing a “visual performance system”.  Check it out here.

My favorite part of their non-fancy website for such a fancy tech company is this quote:  “We invite any requests or ideas and we will work with our extended community of colleagues to source and/or develop a solution that can accomplish almost any design.”

In other words . . . “tell us what you want to do and we’re pretty confident we can deliver it.”

My early adopter friend suggested to me that there might be theatrical applications for their technology.  “Sure,” I said.  There aren’t many new shows that open up without a “Projection Designer” on the title page of the Playbill these days. (And we wonder why costs are escalating, we keep coming up with new types of professionals needed on shows, but we’re not getting rid of any in the process!)

Remember last year’s Tony Awards?  There weren’t many sets.  Most shows used a sort of projection/LED combo on a light wall to get their bright-lite-like point across.  And it worked, looking great and saving lots of bucks (not to mention lumber) in the process.

Do you think that we could be on our way to sets being entirely replaced by electronic representations?  In 20 years will it all be projections?  Will every theater come with screens, for you to light up as you wish?

And, will this make it possible for many, many, many shows to share the same space?

Oooooh, now there’s the most compelling reason for the adoption of this type of tech in some theaters.  With the flip of a drive, you could have an entirely different “set” of projections for a 2nd or 3rd show that split the rent.

While I don’t think sets will ever disappear (nor should they), in the same way that I don’t think orchestras will ever disappear (nor should they) no matter how much technology we come up with that simulates the same experience, I do think we’ll see a bunch of shows that rely solely on projections in the next 10-20 years.

Seeing a set might be rare.

But if that’s what it takes to keep people seeing shows, I’m fine with it.



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I spy a new . . .!

It’s been talked about for years, and it looks like the new is almost here!  And it features 3-D seat maps, video content, and a whole bunch more.

It’s in Beta now, so it’s not done yet, but the Ticketing Gods over at Telecharge are allowing the public to poke around the new system to see what they think . . . and to get feedback (which I’m counting on all of you to provide in the comments below – I’ll then pass it on to them in an effort to make the great work they’ve already done even better).

Ticketing and accessibility were talked about a great deal at last week’s TEDxBroadway, so the t-t-timing of this launch couldn’t be better.

Ready to see it?  Are you ready?


Then come back and comment on what you think.

Oh, and while you’re there . . . buy a ticket to something.


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Playbill goes Boffo with its brand.


The battle of the Broadway websites just got real, yo. could sit back and stay fat on its yellow striped cover and trademarked font and still have more traffic than the 405 in LA.

But no . . . ever since young Turk-ish Blake Ross took the reins years ago, Playbill has been operatin’ like a startup, adding new features left and right and all the way ’round.

And two of those features are turning a lot of heads.

Less than two months ago, Playbill released The Playbill Vault, an online database of every Broadway show and everyone associated with those shows since 1930.  And, what’s cool about it is that it combines the stats with other material from their database (photos, articles, actual playbill listings, etc.)  Look at my listing to see an example here.  It’s pretty awesome, and has already become my go to .com when I’m researching . . . anything (Sorry, IBDB).

And, not resting on its e-laurels, last week Playbill announced the acquisition of Boffo Box, now named Playbill Professional, an online “theatrical index” with Broadway grosses, charts, an online rolodex for Broadway personnel, and more.  Unlike the Playbill you get when you walk in a theater, Playbill Pro ain’t free.  But time is money, and this system looks like it’ll save some folks hours.

The mission statement at Google is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

Well, we here in the theater industry have never been good at doing anything with our information.  Thankfully, has stepped up, adopted the Google plan, and given a lot of people a lot of info.

And a lot of info makes us a lot smarter.

(Oh, and yeah, they’re probably going to make money with it.  But that’s what great companies do.  They find out what people want/need that they aren’t getting elsewhere and give it to them.  And they make some money.  And the really great companies then use that money to find new things that people want/need that they aren’t getting elsewhere and give that to them.  And rinse and repeat and growth for all.)



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