DPS 2015 + The National Theatre: Offering a Backstage Pass to Theatre Lovers Worldwide
“DPS 2015 enabled us to create an app that gives our highly dedicated global audience a single destination for regularly updated content designed to keep them engaged with National Theatre no matter where they are.”
Toby Coffey, Head of Digital Development, National Theatre of Great Britain
The National Theatre of Great Britain, founded under the directorship of Laurence Olivier, opened its doors in London in 1963. Today, in addition to featuring thousands of live performances each year, the theatre is increasingly engaging audiences through digital channels. After exploring digital publishing options to move from traditional print content to engaging interactive content available on tablets and smartphones, the National Theatre chose Adobe Digital Publishing Solution (DPS) for more opportunities to engage with audiences and monetize content. Toby Coffey, Head of Digital Development for the National Theatre, led the team in the creation of National Theatre Backstage, an app that fully leverages the powerful capabilities of the new DPS.
Adobe: Tell us about your app and why you created it.
Coffey: National Theatre Backstage is a brand engagement experience designed to keep our audience connected to the theatre whether they are here in London or anywhere in the world. The app contains free content such as the latest news, audio, and video clips from shows, as well as interviews with theater luminaries and other specially commissioned content. We also have premium content that can be purchased through the app, including enhanced digital versions of programs with post-show updates, images, films, actor commentaries, and other interactive features.
We created this app because the new DPS allows us to give our dedicated audiences a single destination for regularly updated content. Ultimately, devices are carefully curated manifestations of a person’s interests, character, and passions. Theatre is a passion point for people and being able to put an icon on someone’s device that represents that part of their cultural palette is an opportunity and a privilege.
Adobe: Can you talk about how you are monetizing some of the content in your app?
Coffey: With DPS 2015, we have the opportunity to create a reliable revenue stream by selling valuable content such as current and archived programs through the app. Down the line, we will add to what is available for sale by enabling audiences to customize or curate their own content in the app, such as articles on a favorite actor or type of play, and create collections in the same way they can create playlists in music apps. We’ll also offer books on a variety of topics including Greek theater or different directors.
Adobe: How does the app fit into your digital strategy?
Coffey: Our Broadcast & Digital department has three main guiding principles: access, amplification, and innovation. Our strategy is to drive reach and engagement through each of those three strands. By establishing a digital publishing arm for the organization we can drive engagement through content. DPS 2015 lets us develop great mobile apps that audiences value and are willing to pay for. We can also create a destination for content that will keep people engaged and coming back. Our blended content offering enables us to provide ongoing value to our audiences while exploring new content and revenue models.
Adobe: What are your overall goals and expected business impact with the new app?
Coffey: Our overall goals are focused on driving access, engagement, and revenue. First, we want to provide mobile access to our highly dispersed audience who want to stay connected to the National Theatre, but have no way to access our print materials.. Second, we want to encourage ongoing engagement with the app and an increase in content consumption. Our third goal is to provide a reliable revenue stream for the organization.
From a business perspective, we see the first year as an establishment phase. Within year two, the app should be covering the cost of developing the content, and by year three we hope to have reliable income from the app.
Adobe: What will you be looking for in terms of metrics?
Coffey: Using the built in analytics in DPS 2015, we will be monitoring the amount of free content consumed, how different types of content perform, how often the app is being used, and sales of the premium content.
Adobe: How are you managing and creating content?
Coffey: We use Drupal for content management, which we plan to connect with the new DPS soon. On the design side, we are primarily working with fixed layouts in Adobe InDesign CC or building HTML templates using WoodWing Inception. The publications included in the app were created in InDesign CC, while the articles that are available for free were created using Inception.
With Inception, our content authors can tell the compelling stories of our performers without requiring support from web developers. Inception helps us give our readers a responsive experience when viewing the app on any device, which helps improve access to our content, keeping readers engaged and helping us build our audience.
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