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The Future of the Printed Newspaper

Newspaper still have a vital role in the arts industry marketing. I would like to start this entry with a scene from Orsen Wells’ Citizen Kane. The newspaper has an expansive history, from the penny daily of the 1800s to the prestigious broadsheet that brought down a U.S. President in the 1970s. The printed newspaper, like the Wells’ New York Inquirer in the clip, has the power to set the agenda in society. I will explore the dynamic charging role of the newspaper. It will examine the place of the newspaper as an important agenda-framing implement in society. I will look at this from a global perspective before narrowing in on Australian press issues. I will explore the role of the printed newspaper as an advertising and publicity source for the Arts Enterprise. Finally, I will look at the changing nature of the media in terms of a possible digital future.

gatekeeping-1The gate keeper theory relates to the way the media controls the flow of news to the audience. As can be seen in this image, there is a number of possible stories the media can report on, and the newspapers control which event they are to cover and deliver to their audience. They set the agenda by leading the news with detailed local stories and agenda-setting opinion polls. The Australian print media is an influential body as it still has a large control of the news cycle. The radio and television networks comment on the newspaper stories of the day in their morning news programs and in weekly review programs, such as in “What the Papers Say” The newspaper can be found in all types of locations: cafés, medical offices, and many others.

The agenda is still, to a large extent, controlled by the print media, and this will work forward into the future. This agenda-setting nature is celebrated in the newspaper industry’s publicity as it states, “The early morning consumption of newspapers puts them in a unique position to determine what is the key news on any given day”. The newspaper is repositioning itself to set the agenda rather than just responding to it. As the print media suffers from time lag to produce stories compared to online media, it relies on agenda-setting opinion and in-depth coverage. Like in the media regulations issue, the print media can set the agenda. For the Arts organisation, these newspapers can be a valuable source of publicity. The newspaper has gate keeping guides to local artistic events, gallery openings, and theatre events. This is especially true for the weekend papers, and artistic enterprisers needs to exploit the opportunity in printed papers into the future.

Although the printed newspaper still has a powerful position in society, its circulation and revenues are falling. The printed newspaper readership has been in decline for 30 years. A study in the UK found that people aged 15 to 24 read the newspaper 30% less once they discovered the Internet.

The younger the potential readers, the less likely they are to be newspaper readers. These younger people are ignoring the printed newspaper as a source of information. They are the key audience for the Arts. The key audiences for movie goers are the 18 – 39 year olds, but they make up a smaller percentage of newspaper readership. This means that Arts enterprises’ key markets may not be readers of newspapers and that energy expended in gaining publicity from this source may be wasted. The major Performing Arts companies have been stagnating in recent years. Even though theatre audience figures might not directly relate to the declining readership figures of newspapers, they do display that both audiences are seeking entertainment and information in different ways. Arts organisations need to respond to a changing audience if they are going have an impact in both an economic and social sense.

Little-Brown-Book-Group-JK-Rowling-pre-order-post-it-newspaperWhile the printed newspaper form has had circulation and revenue problems, it does have its advantages as a media form. The newspaper has a resilient nature as it has been under attack from other media forms since the 1930s. In the 1950s, while pessimists rallied in favor of television as the dominate form, Lester Markel (1956) revealed newspapers advantages. These advantages included print’s ability to get into depth in a story with multiple-page spreads, its portability and flexibility as a news delivery medium, and its ability to explore an issue over time. The newspaper still leads the agenda, and the tactical and portable nature of the paper means it will be an agenda-setting tool into the future. This tactile nature makes it a relatively cheap object that people can own, and this means promoters can use post-its to grab the attention of the reader. The readers can take the stick-on with them and purchase the product. The fiction writer J K Rowling’s publishers used the stick-on to advertise her new book. This approach is unique to the printed press and is a creative and practical form of advertising for the Arts entrepreneur.

GOMAsurrealismTshapedThe printed newspaper has a number of features that have value to the Arts industry. Being able to insert color advertisement into the flow of the newsprint immerses the reader in the subject matter. People get absorbed into that more than when they take in information over other forms of media. This absorption means a higher retention rate of stories. The immersion of the surrealism image into the story is an attempt to capture the reader’s attention and challenge the reader. This insert into the Arts section of the newspaper means that the gallery is able to reach its intended audience in an eye-catching and informative manner. As people leisurely read these articles, a clear awareness can be created of the exhibition. Likewise, the printed newspaper contains stories that involve the Arts on a daily basis.

There is an advantage in Australia with the major print forms. While the newspaper industry worldwide in most developed countries is in a slump, there are conditions in Australia that make this nation’s conditions unique. The concentration of the Australian media, long the bane of the left-wing media commentators, means these press companies are in the position to address the market needs with large market penetration.  This power position gives the Australian papers value as news gate keepers and advertising mediums. Arts organisations cannot ignore the possibilities offered by the print form.

There is less day-to-day coverage of stories; this means less time to cover stories in-depth to explore issues and uncover events. This does give opportunities to the savvy Arts Media departments. They must realize that they need to produce almost whole news articles for the local papers, even with images. They can offer these exclusively to one printed paper. The Arts professional must realize the time constraints of the modern newsroom and allow for these when producing copy for an exhibition or production. The cuts in media time present opportunities to deliver an interesting product to the newsrooms that may become news stories.

If the Arts organisation is to exploit these publicity possibilities, it needs to recognize the paper’s need to position its masthead as an essential part of its local community.  One of the essential factors for newspaper survival is its strong identity with the community. The Arts enterprise should position itself to exploit this in the local media when devising its own potential news stories. In Newcastle, the two major organisations—the Civic Theatre and Newcastle Regional Gallery—both have corporate partnerships with The Newcastle Herald. While many newspapers were closing, Warren Buffet, one of the world’s most powerful investors, bought newspapers across the United States. Newspapers still have profitable and influential positions in many cities. Buffet said this is especially true in cities where the masthead is seen as the centre of the community. In this position, the paper can be linked into artistic events. The major problem is that these newspapers often have a reduced staff and are not covering local issues in a detailed manner. The Arts organisations can exploit links with the local community, and these stories can be newsworthy for the paper and great publicity for Arts organisations.

The world is changing; the world has always been changing, and the newspaper will change with it. The Arts industry needs to work with the printed medium and use it as the industry sees fit as its influence, though shrinking, is great.

How can your creative enterprise make the best use of the printed newspaper?

Arts Marketing Australia can help update your marketing approach. Contact me to find out more.

Case Study: Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

Arts Marketing Australia is a company dedicated investigating the best examples of marketing artistic organisations from across the world. This case study a company can grow from an elite audience to a new and broader audience.

When it comes to effective artistic marketing 555466_415502971829874_1791824601_nthe ideas always come best from what place? The Artistic heart and meaning of the company. The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment works perfectly as a company at tune with its audience. It also recognised that it must grow, educate and entertain its potential audience to grow.

Too many arts groups have a grown up with idea of having a restricted audience of elite art follows and seeked to satisfy this group, by appealing to its desires. On the other hand they sometimes try to appeal to a different audience, but can offend their traditional base.

The OAE defies this state to create a company that satisfies all trends. It is a company that plays classical music on period instruments. Working on this basis, one might think that OAE is a bit a museum piece, but the company has grown its audience without alienating its existing somewhat specialized base.

OAE has done this by setting up a multi prong marketing approach they builds on the innovative nature of a relatively new classical company.

The first thing one notes when you visit the company’s website is the seamless and easy viewing website. Not cluttered like to many arts websites, but low key with informative links. The page invites you in without jumping down your throat with calendars; links, slide galleries and an urge too donate.

But its approach to its audience goes deeper, it has created a new audience, targeting the cultured 18 – 35 group the company took the orchestra venues such as bars and night clubs. It took an integrated approach using live musicians (non-classical) to introduce the show and DJ afterwards. This program was built up thorough a program of blogging, twitter, Facebook, and student University involvement. The selection of venues that had an innovative and educated base was essential.

The company also ran subpages to its Night Shift program on its website, so the site exists within its own parameters within the OAE website. Importantly the Nightshift program was not seen necessarily as a driver to its regular program, rather it has its own identity, while still playing the interesting works in its program

They also produce vox pops, podcast and concert merchandise.

OAE has also created another program called The Works, “giving you the low-down on selected classical masterpiece in a friendly, relaxed and informative style”. The concerts are in an informal style with an opportunity to talk to the musicians about the instruments and the music. This way the audience get educated into the new forms the OAE is dedicated to present to a wonderful world. Presented at 7 pm it give people time to see the show straight after work and still be home to tuck in the kids.

classical-music-quote1These kids are reached by Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment through its educational program, the program reaches out to students at school level, in their own school and at theatres.

There is nothing unique in this companies approach, but what is clear is the appeal the company makes to market segments. Segmentation is a key idea in communicating its art. OAE does this without comprising its commitment to classical music played on period instruments, presenting this pure artistic product in the right manner and the audience will grows to love the company.

Further details can be found The Night Shift can be found at the Cultural Hive.

How can your audience be increased?

Arts Marketing Australia can help update your marketing approach to your artist product. Contact me to find out more.


Case Study: Coca-Cola is ‘Out of Order’

Arts Marketing Australia is a company dedicated investigating the best examples of marketing artistic organisations from across the world. This case study of an activist community displays how a low cost campaign can activate a community.

The case study is that of the activist Out of Order campaign. This campaign is a clear example of how a low cost social media campaign can cause an enormous amount of buzz in community. This is important because small artistic companies need to know how to exponentially grow its audience reach. While major arts companies may have the ability to employ marketing people and consultants, small companies need to learn from the simplicity and imagination of the Out of Order campaign.

CaptureThe Out of Order campaign revolves around the seemingly mundane issue of container deposit legislation (CDL) in the Northern Territory, Australia. The Northern Territory introduced a 10 cent refundable deposit on all bottles in 2012. Major bottlers, including Coca-Cola, took legal action against the Northern Territory government as it was seen as a restrict action for one state or territory to do so; therefore, it was deemed illegal. Even though the court action was successful, it resulted in a protest that was organised through social media. The Tasmanian-originated campaign goal was to heighten the public awareness of the issue and to affect the profitability of the company. To do this, the organisation came up with the simple idea of putting up an ‘out of order’ sign on Coca-Cola vending machines. These vending machines were selected because they were clearly branded and are the most iconic brand. The out of order sign could be easily printed at home and stuck on a Coca-Cola vending machine quickly, and it would deter business because it looked like a genuine out of order sign. The QR code gave a link to the campaign’s Facebook page. People were then encouraged to take a photo of the machine and post it on the Facebook page. Photographing the sign on the vending machine was a vital part as it linked the action to a wider group and shares ideas with Facebook friends. The Coca-Cola company’s legal action against the relatively small government of the NT gave the campaign a kind of David vs Goliath nature, and this was cheekily done again by the Out of Order protest. It had a low profile and low risk social disobedience action that was quite clever and amusing as the viewer got a vicarious pleasure out of seeing the sign produced in locations around the world. The campaign on Facebook was quite effective with over 5,000 ‘likes’ on Facebook, and reportedly over 800,000 reached in one week of the campaign.  Though largely ignored by the mainstream media for reasons not speculated in this report, it was covered in regional press and blogs.

The Out Order campaign had also worked with other activist campaigns. Greenpeace filmed a pro CDL, anti-Coca-Cola TV commercial funded by a crowd sourced social media and email campaign. The advertisment was initially accepted by Channel Nine and due for broadcast during the Friday night football, but was suddenly rejected by the station. After it was banned, the advertisement exploded on YouTube with over 800,000 views. The banning of the advertisement was possibly the worse result for Coca-Cola as it again perpetuated the David vs Goliath nature.Capture3

Coke planned its own campaign after facing a ‘barrage of negative commentary on Facebook  and Twitter’  with a $1 million giveaway. The company had a series of big red boxes that was to be revealed in prominent positions (like outside costumes house in Sydney Circular Quay). This was hijacked by a group of activists dressed as ‘Brenda, the Social Disobedience Penguin’. The effective demonstration only lasted a few minutes, but in that time a photo was gathered of the penguins holding the signs on the book. Thus a social media image was created.

This campaign displayed how passion, simplicity, persistence, and humour created an effective social media market buzz. Stunts can be a very effective way of cutting through the media clutter of the world today.

How can your audience be increased?

Arts Marketing Australia can help update your online approach to your artist product. Contact me to find out more.

Case Study: Grayson Perry: The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman

Arts Marketing Australia is a company dedicated investigating the best examples of marketing artistic organisations from across the world.

This case study focuses on the British Museum’s exhibition, Grayson Perry: The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman. The British Museum is known for its collection of antiquities, like the Rosetta Stone and mummies. In 2011, the museum put on a major exhibition for the Turner Prize winning artist Grayson Perry.  Perry, a larger-than-life character, is known for his ceramic vases (and his cross dressing). The campaign was one that was to launch the British Museum a contemporary art venue for major exhibitions as well as to get 60,000 people to spend at least 10 pounds on the exhibition. The campaign included extensive focus group research into the three main target audience segments developed from Morris Hargreaves McIntyre’s Culture Segments and focused on three main target segments and how they might be reached. The research showed that with this segmented approach, arts organisations are able to effectively build an audience as these markets have an inclination to patronise the arts. The concept was to create buzz around the exhibition to inspire word-of-mouth discussion around it. Word-of-mouth is still the most powerful tool to encourage purchases. The idea was to look at the various segments of the culture market and to target social media and other marketing tools into strategies that would appeal to a particular group.

imagesThe three target segments identified were the Expression, Stimulation and Essence groups. The Essence segment had an intellectual approach to art and were familiar with Perry’s work. They were wary of marketing strategies and preferred self-discovery. The marketing approach was to compliment the ‘independence and sophisticated tastes’ of this group.

The Expression segment had not heard of Perry as an artist or thought of him as ‘self-promoting and controversial’. They liked the idea of him as a skilled craftsman, and they wanted to be part of the controversy and debate that was developed through reviews and blogs.

The Stimulation segment had a high awareness of Perry; embracing his controversial personality, and they were frequent users of social media. To target this group, the campaign was to embrace this desire for them to try something new and engage them early in the event timeline,  knowing that they could become social catalysts for the exhibition.

For this exhibition, it was decided that the cultural segments would be targeted a different times in the program by different marketing messages and channels.

The Stimulation group would be targeted in the months leading up to the exhibition, while the Essence and Expression groups would be targeted in the months up to and during the early opening of the exhibition, leaving the the other groups to tail through. The concept is that the Stimulation, Essence and Expression groups would drag the other groups into the exhibition.

The campaign was to use many platforms, but it was word-of-mouth that aimed to stimulate. The idea was to get people talking and communicating about the exhibition in the stream of social media. The playful and fun initial campaign used Perry’s teddy bear, Alan Measles, as a focal point. Alan Measles, took pride of place on the back of Perry’s artwork bike. The playful idea was that Measles was to special to Perry and this meant to leave on the bike throughout the exhibition would be too much for Perry, so stunt doubles of his precious bear would needed. The marketing team filmed a YouTube video with Perry to publicise the competition.  Each bear that was shortlisted had a profile on the museum’s website. The voting was done via Twitter, and this put the votes into the social news feed. This created interest as people who viewed the profile thought the whole concept was amusing and humorous, and it was a great way of making fun of a serious place that is the British Museum. It also touched the hearts of many people as they recalled or shared their childhood memories, and this joyful aspect was relived by a possible visit to the exhibition. These teddy images were also posted on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, where they were often retweeted and ‘liked’. In addition, the marketing team created posters and badges with Perry’s teddy bear on them and handed them out at University Orientation weeks. The Museum restaurant also had a Teddy Bear afternoon tea that was fully booked out. This fun and cute campaign appealed to its intended audience, and it was covered by major UK newspapers and blogs. At the end of the campaign, 300 bears were entered in the competition, 2,500 votes were cast and the site had 50,000 page views.

Targeting the Essence segment of the UK cultural group the marketing team developed a series of YouTube video of him making his art and it gained over 200,000 views. Other British museum curators established blogs that related to Perry’s work, and audience blogs were also encouraged.

The expression segment was targeted in a different way, such as looking at the craft of his work and working with blogs by the Craft Council Collective. In addition, with every blog post, people were able to join a special lunch time Twitter conversation.

The campaign was a resounding success. It wildly exceeded the target audience with a margin of 100% over the targeted attendance, a 500% increase in shop sales, and a membership increase. Feedback indicated that it helped reinvigorate the British Museum brand, and the campaign displayed a strong audience echo which means long term audience gains.

How can your audience be increased?

Arts Marketing Australia can help update your online approach to your artist product. Contact me to find out more.

The Arc of Audience Engagement

The Arc of Engagement is the way the audience interacts with an arts company in the process of viewing a show or exhibition.

An analysis of this engagement can be seen in Brown and Ratzin’s ‘Making Sense of Audience Engagement’ (2011) and the Australia Council’s ‘Arts Audiences Online’ (2011). Whereas the Arts Council call it the ‘Journey’, Brown and Ratzin call it the ‘Arc of Engagement’, which carry through the essential idea of the passage of audience engagement.

The Arc of Engagement concept will be explored in the case studies in subsequent blog entries. What this arc does is display and compartmentalise the stages a person goes through in engaging in a production. Seeing a play or visiting an exhibition is not just about the event itself, it is a series of interactions that have their own vitality. Through social media and other means, the company can fulfil audience members on the journey and create a richer experience. In fact, it is an experience beyond what an artist can create at the event itself. Social media and website interaction should be a touch points on this journey.

The Arc of Engagement traces from the discovery ‘build up’ phase to the reflective ‘impact echo’, and social media has a role in stimulating people in these stages. The concept is to hook the customer at every point of the process. This can create excitement about a play or production and buzz around the event. In the build up phase, participants may start to look for information about the event. This may mean searching for online videos or reading the actors’ blogs about the event. A 2010 survey found that around 80% of people wanted to do some level of preparation before they see a production. As it gets closer to the production, this can include measures like restaurant locations nearby or parking information. These could be facilitated by Facebook posts and links to appropriate websites. Opportunity exists to link with local businesses to provide food that suits the production’s timing. Many of these restaurant sites contain social media reviews of the meals and venue.

arc_of_engagement_392During the artist exchange, social media can be used again, videos on YouTube analyse of a art works. Without some background knowledge, it is hard to comprehend a piece of art. One could ask how it would be possible to get a real feeling for Picasso’s Guernica with knowledge of the Spanish Civil War. A survey showed that 80% of arts companies used the internet to give media background about a production. Post-production can be dissected through discussion and analysis, which is done by about 25% of people. However, 50% of people like private reflection while others prefer to leave the event without any reflection. Social media may be used so that people may post at the location. This comes from the social need to grasp identity. The simple post to Facebook from the theatre foyer works as a locator of social status. People express who they are by tagging their location. Consider this: A post on Facebook to friends showing a photo with an actor at a small production can signify that: 1. They have friends. 2. They socialize with creative people like actors. 3. They go to trendy or edgy locations to see art. People like to see friends in such locations, and people who identify with the theatregoer may be inspired to see that production or another artistic event to post about. By encouraging arts spending through social sharing, the entire art community benefits as it competes with other forms of entertainment.

Other people will go on to write blog posts with more analysis of the events. While this group is relatively small, they have a notable position in the ‘Traditional Cultural Vulture’ community, which represents a valuable section of the return audience. Blogs such as ‘Shit on your Play’, have a small but passionate audience and form a valuable core for theatregoers.

The impact echo is the long term memory of the event, maybe as a social occasion or a reflective moment about an artwork. These thoughts can be stimulated by photos on the Facebook page.

The best artistic experience will engage on more of these levels as some people demand this feedback and stimulation.

Contact Arts Marketing Australia to see how your company can improve this engagement.