• Two thirds of performance venues have lost over 70% of revenues, our survey shows
• Government help covers less than 30% of those losses, 87% of venue leaders say
It is clear that the UK is about to suffer a severe recession. But some industries will be hit much harder than others. We have conducted a survey of CEO’s and leaders of theatres and performing arts businesses, and the results are shocking.
Over the last few weeks we have had the opportunity to talk to hundreds of business leaders to understand how they are adapting to the current crisis. These range from global corporates to early stage start-ups across media, information, technology and entertainment – or MITE. Even with such a broad range of organisations, there’s a common thread that unites them.
It sort of works as an equation – and though it may not offer a panacea, it may be a predictive shorthand for which companies will come out of the crisis strongest.
We think you can boil it down to this: Community + Content + Delivery = Habit.
(Reductive, we know: but this is a blog, not a book, and we only have a thousand words.)
First, let’s start with the right-hand side of the equation: the answer.
All MITE businesses depend on habit. We need people to have
If you’re not a fan of Drake… well, bad luck, because you can’t get away from him. In an overly-zealous attempt to promote his new album, Scorpion, Spotify chose to include Drake in every single one of its discover playlists over the launch period. This sparked a backlash from music fans, the likes of which haven’t been seen since iTunes snuck a copy of U2’s Songs of Innocence into its users libraries, with Spotify users demanding refunds for the sudden omnipresence of Drake in their lives.
As the BBC pointed out, Spotify’s promotion of Scorpion was undeniably over-egged, with songs from the Canadian-born musician appearing on playlists titled ‘Best of British’ and every genre known to man. As a result some subscribers to the paid-for Spotify Premium, which boasts a lack of ads as a feature, considered that they were being served advertisements for a single artist with the relentlessness of the T-1000.
While the controversy is perhaps overblown – unlike the Songs of Innocence debacle, which necessitated bespoke software to be developed to remove the album from users’ libraries – it actually reveals quite a lot about Spotify’s business model and, in turn, the business models of the artists whose oeuvre appears on the platform.
Earlier this year The Stage reported on an arts council report which stated “BAME and disabled staff still ‘significantly underrepresented’ in theatre.” In 2016 The Guardian reported on another arts council report with the headline ‘Number of BAME arts workers must improve.’
So why is this still a problem?
Theatre has a history of pushing boundaries and opening doors. Broadway’s hit musical Hamilton casts black, rapping performers into the role of one of America’s founding fathers, the white Alexander Hamilton. Graeae Theatre Company champion the inclusion
Another week, another print closure. Or, to put it in the euphemistic terms of the press releases: Another week, another refocusing on digital strengths.
The New Musical Express (NME) is shuttering its print operation after a much-publicised move to a free distribution model in summer 2015 which was designed to boost the magazine’s attractiveness to advertisers through an increase in circulation. In the announcement,
In a recent blog, we looked at the threat Brexit represents to the future of the UK creative industries, focusing mainly on the games industry – and for a very good reason: the UK games retail market is now a £3.35bn industry, its sales now almost equal to that of home sales for music and video combined.
But this blog perhaps missed the wider, refreshingly positive story about the state of the entertainment market as a whole. For many years, reports have suggested
Viagogo’s decision this week to snub the culture committee’s hearing into secondary ticketing was misguided and likely to imperil efforts at self-regulation.
The secondary ticketing market, which includes online marketplace sites like Viagogo and GetMeIn!, is worth an estimated $8bn a year.
While useful to genuine fans, these sites also make it very easy for touts to sell tickets at hugely inflated prices – and that, in part, is one of reasons why the committee was keen to take a look at the industry.
Last year was a busy 12 months in terms of tech business manoeuvring. The big moves, however, were takeovers, mergers, launches and collapses – there didn’t seem to be that many public offerings.
Much of the movement in 2016 was established businesses buying content firms or platforms that provided a link to sizeable audience. Verizon bought Yahoo for $4.8bn, Microsoft paid $26bn for LinkedIn, and we also looked at telco convergence generally. Yet, other than flagging up the expected IPO of Snapchat, Tech IPOs didn’t seem to impact the media world in 2016 to such a degree.
Now, thanks to a study from PwC, the reasons for that have become somewhat clearer – as 2016 marked the decade’s low point for global tech IPOs.
Predictable scorn has been poured on the choice of Bob Dylan as this year’s winner of the Nobel prize laureate for literature.
One high-profile critic of the decision was writer Irving Welsh (a Dylan fan). He said he considered it an ‘ill conceived nostalgia award’ for someone whose best work is long behind them. Really? Doris Lessing and Harold Pinter, the most recent British winners, both won many decades after their masterworks. Like Dylan, both had continued to plough their own idiosyncratic furrows, but their major works were behind them by the time they were recognised.
It is too easy to say that a lack of a coherent digital startegy is what killed HMV, Comet and Jessops. Too easy, but at least partly true. As this article by Philip Beeching on Guardian.co.uk shows, the senior management at HMV refused to understand the inevitable, even when it was presented to them in 2002. He claims that, at an advertising pitch he made:
The relevant chart went up and I said: “The three greatest threats to HMV are, online retailers, downloadable music and supermarkets discounting loss leader product.”
Suddenly I realised the MD had stopped the meeting and was visibly angry. “I have never heard such rubbish”, he said, “I accept that supermarkets are a thorn in our side but not for the serious music, games or film buyer and as for the other two, I don’t ever see them being a real threat, downloadable music is just a fad and people will always want the atmosphere and experience of a music store rather than online shopping.”