English Touring Opera / Norwich Theatre Royal

Data sharing case study

Norwich Theatre Royal has shared with English Touring Opera full contact details of bookers dating back to ETO’s first visit to the theatre in 2010, with the exception of those who have specifically opted out. This is based on NTR’s Head of Marketing’s understanding of data protection legislation. Our starting point is that as producers of the show, audiences are buying as much for ETO as NTR and are therefore just as likely to want to hear from ETO in future.

ETO usage of the data

Many theatres argue against data sharing by saying they fear the producing company may ‘bombard’ their audiences with communications and disturb other campaigns.

NTR’s view is that this perspective is out of date. Contemporary audiences receive communications from many quarters and, within reason, are capable of filtering out those they do not want to engage with.

ETO’s part of the bargain is that it communicates with its NTR audience comparatively sparingly, with a schedule comprising:

  • Postal mailing of a season brochure twice a year.
  • Regular emails (on average once a month).

ETO’s email open rate remains above the industry average at around 40% - this has not gone down since the NTR data was added to the list.

Advantages of data sharing for both parties

  • The opera audience is not a homogenous one. In fact, the audience for popular titles such as The Magic Flute is as different from a 20th century opera such as King Priam as a musicals audience might be for a drama one. By understanding the booking history of its audiences, ETO can use its expertise in opera to advise NTR on market segmentation.
  • Opera audiences book earlier – this allows us to generate sales before NTR’s regular campaign kicks in.
  • Getting to know the company through its behind-the-scenes emails makes them more likely to book for ETO as a company, rather than just the opera title. We have subsequently seen increased bookings for ETO’s rarer operas, such as The Wild Man of the West Indies in 2015.

Sales progress

NTR has always been a strong venue for ETO since its first visit in 2010, with audiences regularly exceeding 1,000 for popular titles.

In 2015, ETO sold more tickets than any previous season at NTR, with 2,913 in attendance over three nights. This included:

  • The first time we have performed one opera twice in one visit, with audiences of over 1,000 for both nights of La bohème.
  • The largest ETO audience at NTR for a ‘rare’ title – 759 for Donizetti’s The Wild Man of the West Indies. This was the best audience for this opera at any venue on ETO’s tour outside London.