You've Cott Mail is going on a short vacation and will return Tuesday, August 23rd.


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'Twitter Feed Crossover Edition' for August 2011.

Since the majority of you only receive my daily email, many of you miss out on some additional stories of interest that I post on Twitter which don't fit naturally into one of my daily themed email editions of You've Cott Mail. Here are some recent stories I've highlighted on Twitter. --TC


StumbleUpon Launches Program to Help Nonprofits

Advertising Age, 8/10/11

StumbleUpon is officially launching Stumbling for Good, a new advertising program to help nonprofits increase awareness and site traffic. The company started the program earlier this summer, initially running a campaign for the World Food Programme, and is now opening up the effort to include more organizations. StumbleUpon, a discovery engine that recommends web and mobile content for its more than 15 million users, will help nonprofits reach users most likely to respond to their messages and engage with them via its new Paid Discovery social media brand ad platform. World Food Programme credits the StumbleUpon campaign for helping it feed more than 5,000 people. "Fundamentally, advertising is all about getting discovered," says Marc Leibowitz of StumbleUpon. " That's one of the biggest challenges nonprofits have -- how do they generate awareness which results in people lending their time or money or other resources to help them reach their goals." StumbleUpon plans to run campaigns for three nonprofits a month, working with each to promote specific assets of the organization and to drive people to a specific URL, anything from videos to blog posts. It plans to select organizations from those that its employees are passionate about as well as nonprofits that approach it.


New ticketing service guarantees sell-out gigs, 8/10/11

Poorly attended concerts lose musicians and venues money and are disappointing for fans, but an innovative new ticketing service in the US, Ticketometer, hopes to eliminate the problem by guaranteeing artists play to a packed audience. First the artist sets up their show on the site by entering the city, date, ticket price and then, most crucially, the "set-off point" -- or minimum number of tickets needed to sell to make the show profitable. The artist promotes the show via their website and social media, and fans purchase tickets through Ticketometer. Once the set-off point is reached the artist is notified to reconfirm the event, and fans are charged. If the set-off point isn't reached then the show is removed and fans fully refunded. Gauging interest before an event means musicians can create shows in cities or towns previously thought to be risky, and are in a better position to negotiate with venues. Venues benefit as pre-sold attendance guarantees business, and the concept is risk-free for fans. Though the current site is in beta, more functionality is being added with more connectivity to social media to benefit artists, venues and fans.


Broadway changing curtain times to attract more ticket buyers

Bloomberg News, 8/9/11

In May, the producers of Rock of Ages announced it would replace Sunday evening's show with an unconventional Friday matinee. The change rocked sales, said Matt Weaver, the lead producer. "Last week, our Friday matinee did better than our Friday night," he said. "I was laughing, because Rock of Ages is such a party show." Broadway, which holds on to its traditions as firmly as Tevye the milkman, is changing the rule book for curtain times. Until recently, Broadway shows generally started at 8pm, except on Tuesdays, when many have a 7pm curtain. Now, however, producers are trying early curtains on other days and adding matinees. About half of the [Broadway shows] running last season had a 7pm or 7:30pm curtain on evenings other than Tuesday. And like Rock of Ages, Chicago and Baby It's You! are offering weekday matinees on days other than Wednesday. Differing curtain times have been standard in London's West End for years.


'Time Out' looks to enter discount theater ticket biz, 8/5/11

Entertainment guide publisher Time Out is looking to jump into the ticketing industry by taking on GrouponLive, the new discount ticketing site created by Groupon and Live Nation. GrouponLive primarily moves hard-to-sell tickets at a discount, utilizing an all-in pricing scheme to avoid confusing fans with added fees. The eventual offering from Time Out, details for which have not been fully disclosed, hopes to capitalize on the reviews the publications run about events to entice readers to then buy tickets. Time Out publishes entertainment guides in 35 cities around the world, with plans to reach 50 cities in the near future. The exact time table for the ticketing rollout has not been disclosed. Having a popular brand and driving fans to buy tickets are two different things, particularly when discounting is involved because not all content providers want to be associated with less-expensive inventory. Fred Rosen, former CEO of Ticketmaster who is now co-CEO of a new ticketing partnership, [said] that while the barrier to entry for discount ticket sales is virtually nonexistent, he believes Time Out could be headed for choppy waters.

"Discounting tickets is a really bad idea and significantly dilutes the product," Rosen said. "It may be good for the discounter but it's bad for the producer because it undoubtedly destroys the integrity of the marketplace. Why would you want your tickets next to half-priced pizza or spinning classes?"


Commentary: No! More! Exclamation Points!

Nina Simon, Museum 2.0 blog, 7/21/11

Our whole team has been working to make our museum a more friendly, welcoming place, both in the building and online. The problem is exclamation points, which pop up unbidden, proliferate, and choke the goodwill of our messages with an over-cheeriness that swallows up the light. I've become the punctuation Grinch, walking into the museum at 7am, peeling exclamation points off the signs that invite people to "Enjoy the Sculpture Garden!," capturing screenshots of overzealous Facebook updates and asking staff to please tone it down. Exclamation points aren't exclusive to my museum. I see them everywhere, especially in institutions and exhibitions that cater to families and children. My sensitivity to this issue is undoubtably due to the fact that I myself am highly prone to enthusiastic displays of all kinds. I get the problem because I am the problem. I'm not arguing that we should drop our passion and excitement for what we do. I just think we need to be more rigorous in finding the best ways to express it.

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