Skip to content

Estimating the Impact of Live Simulcast on Theatre Attendance: An Application to London’s National Theatre

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.

Nesta Working Paper 14/04
Issued: June 2014
JEL Classification: Z11; O33
Keywords: Digital technology; theatre; cannibalisation

Abstract

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.

Authors

Hasan Bakhshi and Andrew Whitby

Authors

Andrew Whitby

Andrew Whitby

Andrew Whitby

Research Fellow, Creative Economy

Andrew was a Research Fellow focusing on the creative and digital economy. His work looked at new techniques in data science - both as a method for studying the creative and digital ...

View profile
Hasan Bakhshi

Hasan Bakhshi

Hasan Bakhshi

Executive Director, Creative Economy and Data Analytics

Hasan leads Nesta's creative and digital economy policy and research.

View profile