Dunn and Humby target theatreland

DunnHumbyEdwina Dunn and Clive Humby are branching out into the cultural market, by investing in a theatre analytics firm in a move which they believe could unlock £250m worth of commercial opportunities for the sector.
The duo, who finally severed all ties with their eponymous agency in February, are making a seven-figure investment in Purple Seven in a bid to improve the way theatres market to their audiences. The company currently analyses records from around 19 million audience members in the UK.
As well as investing cash, the pair will be using their expertise to develop new techniques for looking at audience data. They want to segment audience information so theatres, agents and promoters can tailor their advertising, ticket prices and programming to types of customers rather use blanket techniques.
Humby said: “With theatres, everyone receives the same mailer about the season ahead and the same emails about tickets on sale for shows. There is not enough differentiation, which has grown in other industries, of making the message relevant to the customer.”
Humby also believes the process for applying discounts to tickets needs to be improved. Instead of discounting because of poor sales, it should be used instead to reward theatregoers. He added that venues need to focus on learning more about the majority of theatregoers who only visit occasionally to find out their motivations.
Dunn added: “Purple Seven is a really well-placed company. They have built good, strong links with around 75% of theatres and venues in the UK and we feel that the work they’ve done and the knowledge and relationships they have give us a strong position.”
She claims that the UK theatre industry would be “very attractive” to advertisers if the audience data was presented in a more refined way.
“Our ambition is that they [arts venues] connect better with the audience they have and see more people booking and coming more often, which would eventually lead to better ticket sales for a smaller budget,” said Dunn.

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