Five ways organisers can get best value from hybrid festivals

by | Nov 17, 2021

Hybrid events are transforming the industry, creating bigger audiences and opportunities for organisers.

In a value-packed article Chichester Festival Theatre’s Audience Insight Manager Caroline Aston outlines her five top tips for organisers to maximise hybrid festivals. Discover how to upscale ticket sales, accessibility and audience engagement via Caroline’s insights.

Chichester Festival Theatre recently hosted multiple performances of South Pacific at its 1,300-capacity venue in Sussex. Viewers could choose to attend shows either in person or watch from home via TicketCo Media Services’ HD quality pay-per-view streaming platform.

1. Understand hybrid

Firstly, let’s define what a hybrid festival is. A hybrid festival grants ticket buyers the option to attend a specific event either in-person or digitally via live streaming or on-demand online broadcasting.

For the physical customer, nothing changes. But those who tune in digitally will be able to access any performance taking place at any time in any location, providing they have an internet connection. This provides event organisers with the means to increase accessibility and monetise a secondary market.

“Hybrid festivals mean anyone in the world with an internet connection can access performances,” said Caroline. “It makes shows accessible to everyone. By broadcasting live performances online, you can reach new audiences, generate extra revenue and break down barriers that previously prevented people from attending.”

2. Make your event secure

Streaming performances online not only helps you to grow audiences globally, but it is also financially viable too.
However, to achieve this, you must make your event secure by broadcasting it behind a restricted paywall. This means only one ticket will be assigned to each device.

In simpler terms, if streaming passes are shared, the user sharing their unique code will be unable to access the performance.

“It is essential to protect the work of the creators by ensuring video content cannot appear in areas where it can be copied or watched for free,” said Caroline. “This could jeopardise the future of other streamed content. This is why our partnership with TicketCo was so important. It meant performances were broadcast securely with flexibility around viewing times where no streaming passes could be shared.”

3. Establish a database

Selling tickets digitally makes it easy for event organisers to develop a list of customers who may be interested in attending future performances. A solid online database helps boost future ticket sales via targeted digital marketing. It can enable organisers to identify who is engaging with their event, if they are new customers, what country users live in and more.

“As the platform is fully integrated with Spektrix, we are able to record multiple pieces of data to help us better understand our audiences,” added Caroline. “When people buy tickets customers’ information is securely sent to our booking system so we can identify trends which we can turn into reports.”

4. Maximise revenue

When you attend a festival physically, you are likely to select one of several payment options.

So, why should this change online? You might be surprised by the number of people who are happy to pay extra to support the work of an organisation they have a strong connection with.

Caroline said: “We introduced a number of streaming payment options so people could choose to support Chichester Festival Theatre’s work if they wished. Regardless of how much digital customers paid, they all received the same streaming experience. We were pleasantly surprised by the number of viewers who selected the higher priced option, and we were of course extremely grateful for their support.”

5. Make it accessible to everyone

By taking your festival online, you are making your performances accessible to everyone.

Health, travel or financial implications now no longer prevent people from listening to their favourite band, artist, poet or actor due to the power of hybrid. But before you broadcast online, consider how you can make your festival accessible to those suffering with sight and hearing impairments. This can take your festival and its accessibility to the next level.

Caroline added: “There have been some lovely stories of people watching South Pacific which wouldn’t be told without the power of streaming. People really appreciate being able to tune in at home. But equally, everyone is excited to be back attending events physically too. We’ve catered for everyone’s preferences. It’s great to make shows accessible to our local and international community. Hybrid events are a huge success.”

The definitive guide for theatres to live stream shows

The absolute best, most up-to-date, definitive guide for theatres to learn how to live stream theatre productions to their audience.

THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE FOR THEATRES TO LIVE STREAM SHOWS

The goal of this guide is to provide the absolute best, most up-to-date, definitive guide for theatres and production companies to learn how to live stream shows to their audience as part of their integrated approach to sales and marketing.

Written by Greig Box Turnbull

Experienced communications and strategic PR advisor, with a strong background in journalism and public relations. Founder of Fortitude Communications, director of Oxford City ice hockey club and Vice Chair of Oxford United in the Community. A former Daily Mirror journalist and Oxford United FC managing director.

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