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Comparing the persuasiveness and professionalism of newspaper, blog, and social media sources of information in marketing and reviewing theatre

Russell Thomas Warne (Department of Behavioral Science, Utah Valley University, Orem, Utah, USA)
Malisa M. Drake-Brooks (Department of Behavioral Science, Utah Valley University, Orem, Utah, USA)

Arts and the Market

ISSN: 2056-4945

Article publication date: 3 October 2016

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to determine the influence that newspaper, blog and social media sources of information about a play have on respondents’ willingness to purchase a ticket to a theatrical production.

Design/methodology/approach

Respondents saw two advertisements and one review for theatrical productions. The authors randomly varied the version of each advertisement and review so that information regarding the production appeared to originate from a newspaper, blog or social media site. The authors asked respondents to rate the professionalism of the review and advertisements and how likely they were to purchase a ticket. The authors also collected demographic information.

Findings

The authors found that newspapers, blogs and social media had similar influence on respondents’ willingness to purchase a ticket. Respondents also viewed the blog-based play review as being as professional as the review from a newspaper. However, respondents were more likely to say they would purchase a ticket to a well-known play than a new play. Female respondents were more willing to purchase a play ticket.

Research limitations/implications

Implications for marketers include the usefulness of non-traditional media (e.g. blogs, social media) in promoting a play – especially for new plays. Theater critics will find that their opinions are equally influential, regardless of whether the medium of publication is traditional (e.g. a newspaper) or digital (e.g. a blog). Principal limitations are the artificiality of a true experiment and an overly simplistic pricing method in the study.

Practical implications

Professionals selling tickets to theatrical productions should use favorable quotes and responses from social media and blogs when marketing tickets because audience members trust that these sources of information as much as newspapers. Internet-based theater critics should appreciate that they are perceived as being as reputable as newspaper-based critics.

Originality/value

Research on theater advertising is extremely limited (especially outside of Broadway), as are studies on the influence of theater critics. The study adds to this meager body of research and provides needed practical guidance to theater marketers.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This study was funded by a Grant for Engaged Learning Quick Grant at Utah Valley University.

Citation

Warne, R.T. and Drake-Brooks, M.M. (2016), "Comparing the persuasiveness and professionalism of newspaper, blog, and social media sources of information in marketing and reviewing theatre", Arts and the Market, Vol. 6 No. 2, pp. 166-186. https://doi.org/10.1108/AAM-03-2015-0004

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited