George Lucas knows best. He has succeeded at the center of art (see films), business (see technology development), and marketing (see any kids’ bedroom). When he talks about the future of technology’s impact on audiences, it’s worth listening.
Producers are afraid for the future of audiences, both for the cinema and for live events. It’s not just that 3-D is coming to your home television set. Technology continues to enhance the ease and comfort of watching almost anything in your own home. Why go out?
This week, thousands of presenters, artists and their managements are gathered at the annual APAP (Association of Performing Arts Presenters) conference. Session after session wonders who their audience is, worries about where they will come from, and strategizes over to how to win them back. There will be an audience, right?
George Lucas says yes, absolutely. He knows there will be an audience for the cinema, for the theatre, and for the concert hall. Why? Because of football. It’s the Green Bay Packers theory of audience development.
The Packers are a football team based in Wisconsin. They are a small market team, far from any major city. It’s not a wealthy area. It’s not even much of a place to visit. It is also cold — very cold, especially during the football season. Yet, every game sells out. Even though the game is also shown locally on television, the game sells out. Even though football is one of the few sports that can be seen better on television, the game sells out.
Lucas believes the games sell out because audiences want to be together, want to scream together, even want to be freeze together to be part of something. As long as the Green Bay Packers sell-out for football games, all of us who live for attracting audiences are safe.
Of course, Lucas also points out the responsibility to make the experience event worthy. We have to create a reason for the audience to come out of their houses to be together, and sometimes to freeze together.
He is on the road these days promoting his new book, Blockbusting, which delves into some of Hollywood’s more notable films that attained financial success and cultural impact. Can you think of anyone who knows audiences better?
May the force of George Lucas be with us and our audience.
- Bill Reichblum