Organisations are continually looking for innovative and creative ways to engage with new audiences. This case study explores how the National Theatre reached new audiences outside of London through its NT Live project by broadcasting a series of plays in UK and international cinemas. It discusses the impact the project had on raising brand profile, the challenges in terms of promotional communication and customer relationship management, the importance of senior management buy-in and finally the opportunities that it brought for developing richer online web content.
They were overwhelmed by the feedback and how engaged people were: they weren’t just thank you emails but long engaged emails. It felt like the National Theatre meant something for the first time to lots of new people.
From an NT Live point of view, the challenges they have are that there are 350 venues in 20 countries round the world, and there is very little marketing budget to engage such a diverse base. The trailer is a key tool but getting the space can be tricky. They are very dependent on the individual cinemas to do the marketing themselves, and some are inevitably better and more active than others.
If you look on the NT Live website, you can see that they have started offering digital programmes – their first really digital commercial enterprise on the site – which are the same price as their traditional programmes, but offer a lot of extra digital content, so you get a podcast of Nick Hytner’s platform talk on Hamlet, and a behind the scenes pre-show video. This has just started to grow after positive responses: it’s a downloadable flash file with a text-only version that can be printed out and taken to the cinema.