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The role of marketing and advertising of the London’s West Ends

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  1. Explanatory note.
  2. The use of television shows as a central marketing tool for attracting theatre audiences.
  3. Spacey's emphasis on the dichotomy between high profile musicals and advertising.
  4. Comments of Andrew Lloyd Webber.
  5. The selective backing by the BBC of a few obvious musical favourites.
  6. Conclusion.

Recent hit shows from the Sound of Music to Joseph have driven the reversal in fortune of West End theatres, which had suffered a trend in declining ticket revenue and profits in the last decade. In January 2008, the Society of London Theatre announced a record breaking year in 2007 with more than 13.6 million theatregoers generating total tickets sales of almost £470 million, passing the £400 million mark for the first time. The Society's Chief executive Richard Pulford cited the revenue statistics as an ?annus mirabilis? for London theatre, stating that ?these figures are a wonderful start to our centenary year but we're under no illusions that we're going to have to work very hard to maintain this success? (Maev Kennedy., 2008).

[...] Indeed Vine comments that the multi-channel world and evolution of entertainment streams has rendered the recording of a traditionally formatted serious play difficult to translate to the small screen and appeal to an audience with an increasingly short attention span. As such, whilst Spacey's arguments clearly highlight the need to address the wider issues facing the industry along with the need to implement consistent strategies to encourage and facilitate the development of serious drama at ground level, the primary issue facing marketing and advertising in the West End is funding budgets. Whilst the Government fails to acknowledge the need to reach a compromise between spiralling Olympic costs and funding [...]

[...] ?Unless it looked a lot more like Masterchef and a lot less like Any dream or pop idol, it would be hard to imagine young kids being enthused about anything other than being on another talent show? Vine., 2008). The above analysis highlights that the proliferation of the Internet with the multiple media streams and channels has challenged traditional marketing and advertising strategies in entertainment, competing with the multi-channel entertainment world to attract and retain customers. As such, the focus on generating profits and revenue has arguably benefited a privileged minority with the funds to weather Arts funding cuts and lack of budget to generate much needed exposure. [...]

[...] As such, this has lent itself to the growth of such marketing and promotional strategies seen on the television shows. Furthermore, Kevin Spacey criticised the BBC for promotion of West End musicals by Andrew Lloyd Webber at expense of other British Theatre. The artistic director of the Old Vic argued that the BBC had ?crossed the line? with the succession of prime-time Saturday night shows designed to find stars for shows written by Webber, which further highlights the anti- competitive monopolistic stranglehold of Webber in the commercial West End. [...]

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