Have you cut your electronic grass lately?

Websites used to be simple.

You put them up.  Period.

But you can’t get away with just erecting a site and walking away anymore.  Oh no.  Especially when you’ve got a long-running show.

You see, if the Internet is like the information superhighway, then websites are the houses along this electronic roadway.  And as consumers race by, you want a site that stands out and makes the driver say, “Oooh, look at that beautiful/interesting/unique ‘house’ . . . let’s pull over and see what’s inside.”

That’s why it’s important your initial design be something that can attract the consumer when they’re cruising by.

But that is not where your design job ends.

Too many shows (and businesses, for that matter) think that once they launch their mega site, they can move on to something else.  But that’s the equivalent of not cutting the grass in front of your house for months, or letting the paint peel, or not raking the leaves.  Who wants to stop at a house that looks like that?  In fact, when your site looks a little run-down, “drivers” will speed up instead of pulling over, and say, “Honey, we’re in a bad neighborhood, let’s get the eff out of here and quick!”

With that, you’ve lost them forever.

That’s why it’s not only important to freshen up your site with new content as often as you can get it, but it’s essential that you comb through your site at least once a month, looking for outdated content, stale information, and anything that makes it look like you’re letting the grass grow a little too high.

What’s great about the net is that it allows you to get the latest and greatest information on anything with the click of a button.  But that means anything BUT the latest and greatest information looks like someone doesn’t care.

And if you don’t care, how do you expect a customer to?

 

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Trivia Time: What’s the second largest search engine on the web?

Well?

Got an answer?

I guess we should start with the obvious . . . the #1 search engine on the web is the Google-meister.

But #2?

Yahoo?  Bing?  AOL?

Nope.  Wrong.  And BAHAHAHAHAHAHA.  Oh AOL, you’re like the Lindsay Lohan of ISPs.  At one point, there was so much promise.  Now you’re just a mess.

Anyway, back to the trivia.

The #2 search engine on the web is . . . YouTube.  (And yeah, if you’re keeping track – Google owns YouTube, so they’ve got the #1 and #2 spots locked up . . . don’t think they’re going to Lohan anytime soon.)

YouTube is no longer just a place to see funny cat videos or “people falling down.”  It’s a place to hear and see music, get fashion advice, and learn about how to do anything from getting six-pack abs to making a perfect putt to rocking your audition.

You see where I’m going with this, right?

If you’re not using video to market your show or yourself, you’re late to the party . . . and you’re in a t-shirt when it was black tie.

Get this: according to recent studies and projections, in 2017, video will account for 69% of all consumer Internet traffic.

So you gotta get there . . .

Your ad agency will tell you these same things . . . to justify why you need to advertise on YouTube.

But I’m talking more than that.  You don’t just want ads.  And you don’t just want clips from your show.  Anyone can do that.

You want content.  Unique content.  Content that gives people insight . . . content that gives people answers that they are looking for, because that’s why people go to search engines, right?

Why do you go to Google?  Because you need to know something.  An address, a review of a show, what the heck that rash way down below really is (sorry, that was a Lindsay Lohan searched phrase).

That’s a huge reason why people go to YouTube as well.  They just get the answers in a different form.  And they like that form . . . to the tune of that 69% of traffic.  And I expect it to grow beyond that in 2018 and beyond.

So make sure you and your show grow with it.

 

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Look, it’s a Playbill on your phone!

When I started attending Broadway shows in my mid-teens, I purposefully got to the theater early so I could devour the Playbill.  I read every word of every bio, read every name on the staff page, and tried to figure out what the people did to get listed in the Special Thanks (a little secret – on all of my shows, I list my parents in the special thanks).

And when I finished reading each one, I always wished there were more.

Now, thanks to the brand new Playbill app announced on Monday, there will be.

And this ain’t no ordinary app.

Get this . . . thanks to a partnership with digital development company Broadway Voice (founded by Broadway Producer Ken Mahoney), the app will know what theater you’re in, and when you’re in it, so it’ll push relevant content to you about your experience (and most certainly a “the show is about to begin, please turn off your phone now” message).  And when you’re inside the theater, a quick scan of your Playbill cover will unlock all sorts of premium content that would make the 16-year-old kid in me all tingly, including video content, enhanced profiles on the actors and creative teams (none of those “you can only have 30 words” restrictions online!) and a bunch more.

Pretty cool, right?  iPhoners can get it here.  Android users have to wait a bit (it’s coming in 2016).

This announcement did have me wondering a couple things:

First . . . with all this enhanced content, will shows sell fewer souvenir programs?  Those souvenir books are a big revenue stream for shows.  Or does Playbill have a paid version of a digital souvenir book in mind that people could “unlock” through this app?

Second . . . is this the first step toward an all-digital Playbill?  Could the environmental activists get their way and could we be on our way to a paperless Broadway theater?

Maybe.  But not anytime soon.

Just like direct mail will never go out of style, there is something very valuable about holding something in your hand.  That yellow logo has more gold in it than you think.  They are souvenirs in themselves, and I don’t think they’re going anywhere.

Besides, if they did disappear, what would the 16-year-old Ken Davenport have to frame . . . Or what would 11-year-old Daisy Eagan sign when 19-year-old Ken Davenport asked her for her autograph?  #Awkward

Read about the app and forget what I just said by clicking here.

 

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How many people watched the Daddy Long Legs livestream? Full statistics REVEALED! (Updated 2018).

In case you hadn’t already guessed, I’m a guy who sets pretty high expectations for myself.  In my work, as a husband in my new marriage, in my golf game, etc.

So when I decided that Daddy Long Legs would be the first ever Broadway or Off Broadway show to be livestreamed around the country . . . I set some pretty high expectations for what it would look like, how many people would tune in, what the audience would think of the show, and more.

And, well, thanks to all of those passionate theatergoers out there in the world, we exceeded even my super high expectations.  (My favorite part was when we trended NATIONALLY on Twitter, even overtaking #GoldenGlobes.  Those movies think they are so cool.)

I’m a big believer that to be a big business, you have to behave like a big business.  And since television and film reveal their Nielsen-esque stats to the public, I wanted to do the same thing with the livestream of Daddy Long Legs.

Because this was the first time this has ever been done on or Off Broadway, we’re going to reveal much more than just the number of eyeballs.  Through the raw data provided by my tech and production partner, Livestream.com, combined with thousands of responses to a survey we gave our viewers, we found out all sorts of answers to the habits and the desires of the livestreaming theatrical audience . . . including where they came from, how they watched, and how much they’d pay for an experience like this in the future.

And, we put all of this and a whole lot more in the infographic below.

But, let me give you my quick top line “Executive Summary” before I let you dig into the infographic.

You ready?  Cuz after you read this, I think you’ll agree, that the theater can never go back . . .

First, the number you’ve been waiting for . . .

HOW MANY PEOPLE WATCHED THE LIVESTREAM?

150,055 people watched the livestream, which is the equivalent of 2.7 years of sold-out houses in our 130-seat theater, and 10.4 weeks of sold-out performances of Wicked at the Gershwin Theatre on Broadway.  And we got ’em all in one 24-hour period.  This is exactly the steroid shot of word-of-mouth that smaller and less brand-tastic shows need to get noticed by the traditional audience.

What makes this number even larger than it seems, is that we spent no money advertising the livestream!  All of the marketing that we did was grassroots guerrilla style.  We did press, we did pre-sign ups, we hit social media like crazy . . . and we got over 150,000 to watch.  Imagine how many people would tune in if we put dollars behind it?

WHERE WERE THEY FROM?

Our audience was from 135 countries around the world.  (I didn’t even know there were that many countries in the dang world!)  Yes, there are Broadway fans in Grenada, Belize, Ukraine, Fiji, Bulgaria . . . and yes, the Syrian Arab Republic.

But in addition to this awesome reach, drilling it down is even more interesting for its potential to drive ticket sales . . . as the largest percentage of views came from within driving distance to the Davenport Theatre, where Daddy Long Legs is currently playing.

WHY DID THEY TUNE IN?

Another stat that demonstrates the potential of future livestreams is that 40.3% of the audience had never heard of Daddy Long Legs before the livestream.  Yet they tuned in anyway.  That’s how much the theatergoers out there are craving this kind of experience.  They’re willing to watch something they know nothing about, simply because it’s theater from NYC.  And obviously for Daddy Long Legs, the positive exposure to all those people who know nothing about us is a tremendous marketing win, and one of the reasons I did this in the first place.

DO THEY WANT MORE?

A whopping 99.5% of our viewers want to see more Broadway and Off Broadway shows streamed in the future.  Let me say that again . . . 99.5%!

Think that’s good?  Wait for it . . . cuz 82.2% said they would PAY for the experience of livestreaming a Broadway or Off Broadway show (Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and the like have actually warmed audiences up to the idea of paying for streamed content).  We also asked the viewers how much they’d pay for future livestreams, and the answers are all in the infographic.  And here’s a spoiler, they’d pay more for a stream than they would a DVD.  See how much in the graphic below.

LIVESTREAMING AIN’T JUST FOR THE KIDS

The average age of our livestream viewer was 46.6 years old.  The average age of the Broadway theatergoing audience according to Broadway League demographics is 44 years old.

68.3% of the livestream audience was women.  68% of the Broadway theatergoing audience is women.

Pretty clear, right?  This was the typical theatergoing audience.  From an advertising perspective, this is a great way to capture an audience’s attention, for a heck of a lot longer and in a much more comprehensive way than a 30-second TV commercial.

LIVESTREAMING LIFTS ALL BOATS

After our livestream, ticket sales did increase . . . but honestly, I never expected sales to blow up our box office (which is something I wish some of the unions would understand).  That’s not why we did this.  We did it to accelerate word-of-mouth, for long-term gain, not short-term.

But I was very interested to see how it affected other show-related products that viewers could purchase with a click, like, oh, I don’t know, our cast album.

In the 10 days following the livestream, Daddy Long Legs cast album sales increased 484.0% over the same period before the livestream.

Pretty nifty stuff, right?

Well, there’s a lot more, and it’s all fascinating.

And it’s all in the infographic below.

If you are interested in the livestreaming of theater, read it and share it, because we’ve got to get more people on this e-bandwagon.

The biggest takeaway from the livestream is that our audience wants this.  Badly.  They’re begging us to share what we’re doing here with all of those who can’t get here for whatever reason.  Maybe that’s the mother of two young kids from San Diego who emailed me and told me she can barely get out of her house, never mind to New York City to see a new show.  Or the kid from Indonesia who wants to study theater in the States someday.  Or the 85-year-old woman who just can’t make it out to the theater anymore, so she was overjoyed that we could bring it to her.

They want it.  And now it’s up to all of us, Producers, Unions, Artists, etc. to figure out how we give it to them on a more regular basis . . . because I’m convinced if we do, they’ll repay us for it ten times over.  Maybe not in dollars, but in the development of tomorrow’s audience.

As I said before and as I’ll say again until this is more commonplace, the digital distribution of our theatrical content is the biggest audience development tool that we are NOT using.

It’s time to figure out how to take that tool out of the box.

Enjoy the infographic, and thank you to everyone who tuned in for supporting this endeavor, including my partner-in-producing on Daddy Long Legs, Michael Jackowitz, and all my co-producers including Hunter Arnold, Peg McFeeley Golden, Tres Rosas, Ben Bailey, David Bryant, Caiola Productions, Carl Daikeler, Jeffrey Grove, and Marguerite Hoffman, who supported this “crazy” idea, as well as my courageous actors, Megan McGinnis and Adam Halpin, the authors John Caird and Paul Gordon, our musical supervisor Brad Haak, our design team of David Farley, Paul Toben and Peter Fitzgerald, and everyone at the Davenport Theatre.

Click here to share the infographic on Facebook.

Click here to share the infographic on Twitter.

 

Daddy Long Legs Livestream

 

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Did you enjoy the Daddy Long Legs live stream, or the post live stream fantastic stats? Then head over to my post Why I’m producing Daddy Long Legs Off Broadway, to read my initial thoughts on producing this show.

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Yesiree, I’m livestreaming Daddy Long Legs . . . for free.

Normally Monday blogs are reserved for my latest podcast.

But we had some breaking news last night, as reported by the New York Times, so I’m breaking my OCD ways and pushing the podcast ’til tomorrow.  Also, I’m just so excited about this latest endeavor that I can’t keep my mouth shut/fingers off the keyboard any longer.

If you’ve been reading this blog for a bit, then you know I’ve been championing the cause for distributing our theatrical content in new and internet-y ways.

And now, I’m putting my money where my mouthy blog is.

On December 10th at 8 PM ET, Daddy Long Legsthe gorgeous new musical by Les Misérables Director John Caird and Jane Eyre Composer Paul Gordon and now starring the husband and wife team of Megan McGinnis and Adam Halpin, will be streamed live, to anyone and everyone in the world . . . for free.

Audiences e-tuning-in will see the performance as it happens from the Davenport Theatre on 45th Street.  And, to accommodate the rest of the theatrical world, replays will occur at 8 PM Los Angeles time, 8 PM London time and 8 PM Tokyo time.  You can also expect some unique “Making of Daddy Long Legs” content, and some fun intermission chatter with the cast, and a talk back as well.

It’s the first time this has been done for a Broadway or Off Broadway show and I’m pretty stoked (mostly because I love the show so much, and I just want more and more people to get a chance to see it and hear it).

Like many things I’ve done throughout my career, a lot of people told me NOT to do this.  But, like many things I’ve done throughout my career, I’m doing it anyway.

Because if we’re going to keep up with all of the new and mobile ways people have to consume entertainment these days, then I believe we’re going to need to push the electronic boundaries of how our content is distributed.  And we have to remember that exposing our content to the world, doesn’t mean people won’t come see it live.  In fact, it is my belief that livestreaming content, showing currently-running musicals in movie theaters, will put more butts in seats, than take them away.  And certainly it has to help our industry as a whole.

I’ve been wanting to do this for a Broadway show for years, and have run numbers on it at least a dozen times.  At the moment, the Broadway model is too inflexible for it to make sense (never mind make “cents”).  Off Broadway isn’t that much easier (some unions get it more than others), but since I run the theater and since Daddy is a smaller scale show, it’s worth the experiment.

And if you don’t experiment in this business, and if you don’t experiment in life, then you’re failing to live up to your potential.  And I hate unrealized potential.

If you are excited about the possibility of livestreaming Broadway and Off Broadway shows, then I hope you’ll tune in to our experiment on December 10th at 8 PM ET (or for any of the replays).  The more viewers we have, the more there’s a chance of more shows streaming in the future.

Plus, you’re going to just love the show.

And then, wait until you see it live!

Click here to register for the livestream at www.DaddyLongLegsMusical.com/livestream.

And if you like this concept, like or share this blog on Facebook.  Because it’s the first time you and you friends can see a show together, even if you are in separate countries.

Register for the livestream today.

 

(Got a comment? I love ‘em, so comment below! Email Subscribers, click here then scroll down to say what’s on your mind!)

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