Smartphone Use During Event Poll Results (you might be surprised)

Adaptistration People 034Last week’s poll asking users whether or not venues should reconsider Smartphone use during show policies if it meant increasing repeat ticket buyer earned income by 25 percent or more generated a great deal of interest. At just over 1000 responses, it is the third most popular poll to date so it seems clear that the issue generated some strong feelings among readers. Having said that, the responses didn’t exactly generate mandate level results.

In fact, there was a nearly even split among respondents indicating yes or no and a little less than half of those respective responses indicating an undecided position.

smartphone poll results as of 11-17-2015
smartphone poll results as of 11-17-2015

Given the amount of chatter on social media on this topic, it is clear that stakeholders have well entrenched positions matched only by the dichotomy of the respective viewpoints. At the same time, it would be interesting to conduct a season-long study to measure not only the usage habits but actual impact on other patrons during events that allow Smartphone use in certain sections.

I don’t recommend holding your breath until it comes to pass but stranger things have happened, and based on the data from Google (see the original post for details) it seems clear that one or more efforts would be worthwhile.

Note: just for fun, I’m going to leave the original poll open to see what happens after this results post makes the rounds.

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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4 thoughts on “Smartphone Use During Event Poll Results (you might be surprised)”

    • Hi Jane, the original article linked to in this post explains the data (link) and like all good data, it generates nearly as many questions as it does considerations. Consequently, the questions your asking are all entirely relevant but they certainly don’t preclude continued research.

      And since you’re asking about the long term impact on existing patrons, I’d say far more damage has been done by way of losing regular ticket buyers thanks to a long standing practice of intrusive communication practices (email, telemarketing, etc.) following the initial ticket purchase. Unfortunately, the field doesn’t acquire data nor does it conduct any research on those issues but the data from Google provides organizations with a profoundly better starting position in order to conduct meaning examinations for any future experiments.

  1. I think what is slightly terrifying about this is that 40% of readers who took this poll (and presumably a lot of them work in the arts) would leave money on the table rather than adjust the concert experience.

    Now I understand the 25% is perhaps not yet fully proven. But let’s assume it was. Would we really say, “Yes, I understand that would improve the financial situation but I’m never going to allow it.”

    As a CRM person, this worries me. Why even research anything about ways of growing audiences if we’re going to get our back up about the results?

    And surely, the answer is not to draw a dichotomy but to start rationalising, “All right – half the audience will up their buying with smartphones. The other half will hate it. I’ll make one set of shows smartphone friendly and advertise it as such. The other half we’ll communicate it the other way.” Couldn’t we have both?

    • I think this is a very productive way to look at this topic. Personally, I’m not crazy about the idea of smartphones in the concert hall, having said that, I’m not against it either. Prior to his session, I would have adopted a harder position again the notion but only the foolish ignore data at their own risk. As mentioned above, good data should inspire a host of follow up questions and even with the restrictions and shortcomings I found in the way Google is currently tracking the data, that’s no reason to dismiss it.

      The reality of the classical music concert environment is there is little to no chance that this issue is going to change quickly with sweeping modifications. At best, this field will move slowly and only after other live experience offerings have made initial efforts so anyone concerned about a fellow patron on their phone at a concert next season, they can put those fears to rest.

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