Digital Media Trends of the Performing Art Sector - 2022

Initial interest for the Clubhouse audio app quickly faded away.Source: Google trends. 2022 April.

Hype or Trend?

As the battle for attention continues in the digital space, content marketers are constantly looking for new ways to reach their audiences, whether by experimenting with new digital strategies, channels, or formats.

Cultural institutions of the performing arts are no exceptions. While some of these experiments quickly disappear, others become an important component of the digital marketing efforts of any opera house, orchestra, or dance ensemble. Here are a 5 digital marketing trends and content ideas of the performing art sector:

Digital Media Trends – 2022

1. Performance streaming

Open access, registration, paywall or subscription?

The growing popularity of streaming services also reached cultural institutions of the performing art sector. Naturally, the worldwide restrictions of pandemic only accelerated this trend. Today, almost all big theaters have their own streaming service, providing access to a digital library of high-quality performance recordings in various ways.

Website embedded, dedicated application or external media partner?

Using the platform of third-party streaming providers (like Vimeos OTT) can give you the necessary infrastructure as well as direct access to their audience (Marquee TV). At the same time, using an own website or app allows  to have more control over the overall experience. Hence theaters with a stronger brand recognition, brand value and digital audience might prefer to establish their own platform.

Wiener Staatsoper Live app in the App Store of Apple
Wiener Staatsoper Live (Apple Store)

Wiener Staatsoper Live app

The streaming application of the Vienna State Opera gives you access to live and pre-recorded full performances free of charge.

Apart from technological barriers (especially considering the average age of the audience), pricing these services is still a challenge. In a short term, it is clear, that these offers will not provide meaningful income source for any of these institutions, but as the acceptance for these formats grow, streaming might develop to be more than just a nice add-on.

Digital Media Trends – 2022

2. Platform Native Content

New or adapted content?

Mobile-first approach of digital content slowly takes over websites (like the Netflix-like cards with vertical format of the Paris Opera). At the same time, it takes serious effort to constantly develop platform-specific content for each digital channel…

mobile view of the Paris Opera website

…Hence most digital content today is only adapted.

So instead of using 16:9, there is a growing number of videos in 1:1 or 9:16 aspect ratio, as well as Instagram and Facebook reels and TikTok, occasionally using the platform’s own music library.

Royal Opera House TikTok

YouTube shorts?

Even though the popularity of short vertical videos is continuously growing, it seems that Google`s own short video format, YouTube shorts has not caught the attention of many cultural marketers yet.

Digital Media Trends – 2022

3. Digital Content for Young Audience Development

Additional content or dedicated digital program?

Young audience development has been an important issue for many theaters. Certain institutions also offer dedicated digital media content for the young generation. While the magic of physical theater can not be replaced by digital content, it is an additional way to reach the tech-savvy future generation with content that not only entertains, but also informs and educates them.

A great example is “Arty Farty”, a podcast for kids produced by the Sidney Opera House, with episodes about theater, culture and art, specifically made for children.

Bayerische Staatsoper Audiofeture

Digital Media Trends – 2022

4. New audio formats

Audio snippets of concerts, arias

Since years, podcasts enjoy a growing popularity. As many performances also involve some form of music, the recorded audio material of these shows could also provide excellent audio content for the digital channels

Spotify, Soundcloud and...YouTube!

Next to the most popular podcast platforms (Spotify, Apple, Soundcloud), YouTube can also be used as an additional channel for audio content, especially for those with a significant number of subscribers there. Take a look at the Bayerische Staatsoper`s channel with audio content!

Digital Media Trends – 2022

5. Social Media Interaction

Like, comment or something more?

In any social media channel, interaction has a crucial influence on any post’s success. As the quantity of available digital content is endless, Facebook and co. need to decide which posts to show us in our feed. The more interaction a post has, the more often will the algorithm recommend it to others. Hence, next to likes, comments and shares, new ideas for interactive content are always welcome.

Q&A of Paris Opera in Instagram Stories

As the complexity of (digital) communication grows, it becomes increasingly difficult to coordinate and structure all our communication efforts and content production. Integrated communication plans from for-profit companies could provide a useful blueprint for cultural organizations to tackle this problem.

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