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Making Mobile Money
By Rebecca Schmid
May 30, 2013
Keeping up with Patrons on the Move
As arts patrons grow increasingly hip to the mobile phenomenon and move away from their lap- and desk-top computers, their behavioral patterns for making purchases and donating funds are changing. Here are a few pointers for making mobile money.
Just the ticket
Lisa Middleton, director of marketing and audience development at the Stratford Festival in Canada, explains that, while the group’s main web site has vast amounts of content—from the online store to biographies, production shots, and so forth—the mobile site, launched last year, is limited to certain functions. “We had to ask ourselves, what would they be doing?” she says. The mobile site enables users to look up shows, accommodations, and restaurants, as well as buy tickets and share seat locations through Facebook and Twitter.
New York Philharmonic Director of Digital Media Vince Ford indicates that mobile traffic to the organization’s web site is up 14% from three years ago and is coming mostly from new visitors. Ticket sales via mobile are only about three percent of online sales, but Ford predicts that number will grow over time. (The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, reports that 21% of its web traffic is from mobile devices). The Philharmonic is in the process of launching a responsive web site to make sales more flexible and fluid on all devices.
“The shift toward the last-minute single-ticket purchase and away from the traditional purchase-in-advance subscription package over the past years is aided by the mobile consumer,” confirms Kristin Tigart, vice president of Tessitura, which provides integrated web packages for over 400 cultural organizations. Client Berkeley Repertory Theater launched a new mobile application a year ago and has seen sales from it reach almost $24,000.
[See also Ticketing Is Getting Personal from Musical America’s Special Report on Ticketing.]
Enlist the experts
The New York Philharmonic has been able to maintain an App via InstantEncore since 2009 that mostly serves as a platform for audio and video streaming but will also include a ticket purchasing feature next season—all at a negligible cost. “The app is part of a distribution strategy,” explains Ford. “We’re not a tech company. We need to keep our strengths where they lie and use these technologies creatively.”
Give Them a Reason to Enter Y our World
Invite Them Backstage
The most recent Cecilia Bartoli album, Mission, was accompanied shortly after its release late last year on Decca by a murder mystery game app exploring the mysterious life of the composer Agostino Steffani and his travels from Italy into Northern Europe. “It added something else for the audience to play with but also was a really nice story to back up the rest of the album marketing,” says Jenkins.
Raising Funds on the Fly
The Southbank Center in London, one of Scheme’s partners, is currently raising the remaining £100,000 of the £2.3 million needed to restore the Royal Festival Hall organ. A display near the hall’s ticket counter lays out background information, showcases pipes, and includes a poster with a QR code that leads directly to the campaign’s web site. Rebecca Preston, director of development, says that although the campaign aims to bring in new supporters, it could potentially entice old donors to contribute through a different route. “Mobile is just another way of giving. If it’s more convenient for them, that’s no bad thing either.”
“Mobile seems to be moving forward in a lot of areas,” says Ford, “even in fundraising. I’m optimistic about it.”
Rebecca Schmid is a correspondent to MusicalAmerica.com and freelance journalist based in Berlin. She contributes to publications such as American Record Guide, Gramophone, International Piano Magazine, neue musikzeitung, and Opera News.
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