Digital trends amongst children

Apparently …

  • Half of 5-16 year olds have Internet access in their own room (49%)
  • Six in ten children now have their own PC or laptop (59%)
  • The proportion of children social networking online has doubled since last year

Statistics produced by CHILDWISE, a research agency specialising in children and young people.  If you’re interested, their trend data report drawing on data from 1997-2009 is available to buy from

Give to charity – become a hero

What a feel good factor!

Not usually a publication that we trawl for the latest insights into culture and the charitable sector, but yesterday the Daily Mail reported on the findings about two research papers from Harvard University and Newcastle University which suggest that charitable giving can make you “mentally tougher, physically stronger and more popular”. Read more on their website here.

Transformation, Organisational Development and the RSC

Demos All Together ReportIt’s good to know that it’s not only us here at AL that are championing Organisational Change as a transformative way towards improving relationships with audiences. I’ve just come across ‘All Together: A Creative Approach to Organisational Change’ a report from think-tank gurus -Demos, that had been following the Royal Shakespeare Company as they embarked on a three-year organisational change process that successfully introduced ‘ensemble’ as a way of working throughout the company. The internal transformation process led to a significant change in fortunes for the RSC both financially and achieving critical acclaim with their audiences. You can download the report and see how they did it, find out just what ‘ensemble’ really means and how you might try implementing it by downloading and reading the free report.

Do arts, live longer…

Hi, I’m Josie, I’d like to share some recent findings from the world of arts and health research – which is what I used to do before arriving at Audiences London…

In an eye-catchingly titled article, ‘Cultural participation – A Matter of life and Death?’, Mark O’Neill, Director of research at Culture and Sport Glasgow considers recent international research that shows cultural participation makes such a difference to people’s mental and physical wellbeing, that people live longer as a result. The research began in Sweden, but its findings are being confirmed and developed all over the world.

Encouragingly for arts marketers (and anyone else too busy to go to the cinema), it’s not a use it or lose it situation:
‘like physical fitness, regular participation in culture helps maintain wellbeing, and requires regular engagement to realise the benefits. And like sport and physical activity, the benefits can be achieved by starting participation at any age, and recovered after a period of inactivity.’

He concludes:

‘…there is a strong ethical dimension implicit in this research. If engagement with culture enriches people’s experience to the degree that it creates healthier, more flourishing lives, then the issue of access is critical… The obligation to people whose background does not include the cultural capital required to begin the engagement with formal culture is also clear: this is a key justification for public funding.’

That’s all from me, I’m off to take my culture pill!

Exploring potential online audiences

The first IT4Arts seminar of 2010 kicked off with some really interesting content about how companies and organisations are trying to provide cultural content online.  We heard from:

  • Gavin Bayliss, LSO Live – Gavin spoke about how LSO are moving towards sharing more video content of the orchestra’s work, and an insight into how they engaged new audiences worldwide with the YouTube Orchestra project
  • Robert Delamere, Digital Theatre – Unveiling the new company, Robert gave us an exclusive peek into how Digital Theatre are recording live performances seamlessly, and the high demand for their downloads
  • Joanne South, Arts & Business – Joanne explained a bit about A&B’s current research programme into user-generated digital content and how they’re supporting partnerships between cultural organisations and those specialising in digital technology
  • Tobey Coffey, National Theatre – the NT has been moving on leaps and bonds in how much content it creates for each new show. Toby gave us a whistle stop tour of the process they go through to create digital content for their website before, during and after the creative process
  • Richard Davies, British Library – Richard shared with us the challenged the BL has faced in prioritising and managing the digitising of their (approx) 6 billion pages of literature
  • Fran Birch, The Theatres Trust – the Theatres Trust has been collecting archive images and information about the UK’s theatres for over 30 years. Technology has now enabled them to catalogue and share the data they have for education and heritage purposes

A fascinating and educational day! If you become a member of IT4Arts you can download the presentations for free from their website, and joining is free!

New writing in theatre

We helped Emma, Roger and Hetty with their work exploring new writing within smaller scale theatres in England, and the impacts of changes in funding since 2003. It’s now published on the Arts Council’s website (

Congrats guys!

Changes to the MRS Code of Conduct

RoadshowI recently attended the Market Research Society Code of Conduct Roadshow.  Unfortuntately there was no Bruno Brookes but in his place Barry Ryan, the MRS Standards & Policy manager, told the assembled throng all about changes to the Code of Conduct which will be coming into force in March 2010.  So, for your enjoyment, here’s a quick rundown of the main points:

  • Incentives – currently, if an organisation is running some audience research they might want to offer an incentive for taking part, such as free tickets or a meal at their restaurant.  This will no longer be allowed under the Code of Conduct, as it constitutes direct marketing.  The basic idea is that offering your own product or service as a prize is a form of promotion, which is not allowed in market research.  So, if you do want to offer something which is related to your organisation as an incentive, you should abide by the Direct Marketing Assosciation’s guidelines, which are much stricter, particularly around who you can and cannot contact.
  • Promotional messages: similar to the above point, you won’t be allowed to have any promotional messages in your market research.  For example, in some introductory text you might have the phrase “Theatre X, the UK’s leading new writing theatre…” – this would constitute promotion, and as such you would have to abide by the DMA Code of Conduct.
  • Age of interviewees: presently, the MRS Code of Conduct is a bit confusing when it comes to interviewing people under the age of 16.  So, to make it simpler, from March 2010 parental/in locl parentis constent will be required before interviewing under 16s.  This includes any form of research with under 16s, even those not conducted face-to-face (such as e-surveys).

As a member of the MRS, and any research we at Audiences London are involved in is required to uphold the Code of Conduct, so we’ll be going with the above guidance.  Even if your organisation is not a member, we’d recommend following their guidelines, as they outline best practice in the research sector pretty comprehensively.  And if you are a member, Barry’s available on the MRS Codeline to answer any tricky questions!

If you’d like any more info, have a look at at the MRS website.