Nesta Working Paper 14/04
Issued: June 2014
JEL Classification: Z11; O33
Keywords: Digital technology; theatre; cannibalisation
Increasingly, performing arts venues are adopting live simulcast into cinemas as a means of increasing their overall audience reach. The effect on audience numbers at performing arts venues themselves is unclear, however: simulcasting may substitute for live attendance among existing audiences, but may also promote and engage new audiences. Using data for the UK's early National Theatre (NT) Live broadcasts, Bakhshi and Throsby (2014) conclude that live broadcasts generated greater, not fewer, audiences at the National Theatre. Using a new, extensive dataset of theatre ticket transactions for multiple theatre venues across England, and over a longer time period, we conclude that National Theatre Live is likely to have in addition boosted local theatre attendance in neighbourhoods most exposed to the programme.