(This blog originally appeared in What’s On Stage)
Well, whenever I’ve seen an Edinburgh Fringe presentation, the simplified version is that the Fringe Office claim their research shows posters don’t get bums on seats (but do impress the media if the posters are gigantic), flyers can get some bums on seats especially if the flyerer is the performer or the performer’s daughter/son/close personal friend… and most people decide what to go see on the basis of what they read in the Fringe Programme.
But now there’s new technology.
The recent show Keen & Khan: Starstruck! played only three nights, got no media publicity yet was full to the each night (on the last night, overflowing). What seemed to have happened was that there was extensive Tweeting about it, especially among scientific Twitter groups, the specific target audience.
Scots comedian and author Janey Godley, who has blogged very successfully since 2004 and who now, like several others, has started to distribute free podcasts via iTunes… has also now brought out a free Nokia app so that people can read her blog, watch her YouTube videos and download the podcasts on their Nokia phones.
Within three years, I suspect live internet streaming of some of the less tightly-scripted Fringe shows may start to have an impact on ticket sales. If you have a heavily or totally improvised show, then streaming the show every night may not dissuade people for putting bums on seats but actually be more likely to whet a potential audience’s appetite to see the live, real thing.