So I went to see Frankenstein last night, as part of National Theatre Live, the idea being that instead of schlepping down to London and forking out megabucks for a theatre ticket you can watch the show at your local cinema instead.
It’s a genius idea really – if your ‘product’s’ audience is constrained by geography just find a new distribution channel. And even better you could conveniently restructure your ‘product’ to encourage a repeat purchase, in this case Benedict Cumberbatch (himoff Sherlock) and Jonny Lee Miller (himoff Trainspotting) alternating the roles of Frankenstein and his Creature. I saw Benedict as the Creature last night, but if I hadn’t gone and booked focus groups in for the reversed repeat performance in a fortnight I’d be on the phone now trying to get seats.
And on the same theme of ‘try something different’, I’m off to Kirkstall Abbey on Saturday evening to watch BBC3’s live re-imagining of the same story as Frankenstein’s Wedding. This is an even more cunning approach as they’ve persuaded 12,000 of us to turn up as audience/extras on the night – thus adding 12,000 to the viewing figures as well as creating loads of online chatter.
12,000 extra viewers might not sound like much, but if you consider that last Saturday BBC3’s most watched programme was Family Guy with an audience of 623,000, even small gains start looking worth chasing. Add in the friends and family effect and that you can’t really escape buzz about the show in Leeds this week and at least they’re going to see a serious regional uplift in Saturday’s figures.
Two very different approaches and if we’re being fair I think both have essentially noble intentions to engage new audiences. It’s just a bit weird that they both entered my life in the same week.