Live Events – market forces always prevail

by Oct 6, 2011

2011 has not been a good year for live events as many festivals and carnivals face shrinking audiences and revenues. In Oxfordshire, a highly acclaimed event has gone under the truck and the Cowley Road carnival, with its recurrent funding problems, saw its audience halved compared to last year’s event. This is bad news for organisers, service providers and ultimately the public. It could not have come at a worse time as Britain hosts the Olympics next year, an opportunity to showcase non-sporting events

In a way this should not have been too much of a surprise. The last decade has seen a mushrooming of live events in the country and, it is only natural that the industry should go through a consolidation process. Costs have typically ballooned, largely related to health and safety issues. The recession has not helped but much of it relates to management.

Live events that will survive the current turmoil would need to go through radical changes. In particular, they need to take the project management approach This means making comprehensive plans covering all aspects of managing the event, augmented by systems to account for unplanned for developments and changes to the original plan. They would need to implement extensive marketing and media management campaigns and give themselves enough lead time. The end result is to obtain the lowest Event Spend per Audience (ESA). The ESA is based on the efficiency of the organisation structure and the effectiveness of the marketing and media management. The more efficient the organisation and the more effective the marketing and media management effort the lower will be the ESA. Survivors will be events that keep their costs low and at the same time draw in the crowds. In this scenario new (project management) skills and technology (computers and the internet) will play a crucial role.

At the end of the day market forces are prevailing, the message to organisers is there are too many live events and, many of you are not offering what we want or need, so shape up or we will continue to vote with our feet and wallets.

Send comments to Boima Rogers
Media and Event Management Oxford