Friday, February 2, 2018

Theater in the Age of Netflix

I read a great article in the December issue of Fast Company titled "Retail in the Age of Amazon." Long-time readers know of my penchant for following retail conversations and seeing how they are applicable to the theater world and this article was no different.

(New readers: hello! do you think retail and theater overlap, too?)

I sat down to write notes on all the topics and details from the article that I wanted to flesh out on for theaters. I thought it would be 4 or 5, since the article itself had 4 sections to it.

Instead, I had TWENTY-TWO points to hit. To flesh out each of those points, even a paragraph a piece, seems a tad much for a blog post.

Some of them I've written about before, like defining success on your terms and using heretical ideas.

A lot of them are about how going back to basics and focusing on differentiation rather than competing at the same game can help retail businesses survive and thrive in the age of click-and-buy.

This is my point about live theater: when it's easiest to click-and-buy entertainment in your pjs on your couch, you can't treat your theater business like it's another Netflix. Nor can you exasperatedly declare "there's nothing I can do!" about declining audiences and lackluster seasons. There are plenty of things you can do. Twenty-two things by this count.

So I'll be tackling this list, giving each point the focus it deserves. I hope to even find real-world examples of theater companies and people who are doing these things already. Nothing beats reading another's story for inspiration and checklist-creation.

Carr wrote: "Retailers don't need to chase a futuristic version of themselves that they might never attain; they first need to remember what made them special in the first place." I'd say the same is true for theaters, too.