Concert Crowds Flounder in Digital Dead Zones

Before a concert or live event even begins, all if not most of the audience already have their phones in hand sharing content online. Concert promoters, venue owners, and even the acts on stage rely on that shared content to create a “ripple effect on social media … [as] a form of free marketing that can sell tickets or merchandise down the line,… [and/or as an] interactive tool such as letting fans post their photos on video screens during concerts”. The problem exists however, when those same audience members have difficulty connecting online. This difficulty has been endemic to live events, but especially more so in rural areas where music festivals are usually held. According to the article, this is not surprising. “Thousands of people are trying to broadcast their minute-by-minute experience from their phones, overloading data pipelines that weren’t designed to handle high-volume traffic”. Venue owners have now hired tech companies to setup at least temporary Wi-Fi networks within arenas and festivals to better serve their audiences’ needs after many complained on social media that for the price they paid to see the live event, they should be able to do whatever they want with their phones, which of course means sharing content. But the obstacles are still looming.

With venue owners looking at an extra cost of $100,000 for adding a mobile Wi-Fi setup, installing networks is not an easy decision, but with the audiences’ changing expectations in tandem with the growth of digital media, it’s nearly impossible to not install them. Thus, its up to venue owners to monetize that fan experience enhancement.

I think this is an interesting article that brings up a point about the changing media environment and the necessity for businesses’ to quickly adapt if they want to survive. This reminds me of the two pictures ( of an event held at the same location, set apart by years and the technologies in the audiences’ hands) our guest speaker from abc news showed us to reflect just how the world has changed. In addition, its interesting to note not only the changing aspect of the audience, but also the business implications of these changes; new business opportunities pop up for already existing companies, all the while new businesses evolve to meet consumer demands.

How do you think these venue owners can monetize this upgraded fan experience to cover costs of adding mobile Wi-Fi networks? Also, the growth of social media has been so large that its almost impossible to see brands that have not integrated it into their business models and marketing plans. Besides the cost, why do you think venue owners didn’t install large scale Wi-Fi networks to accommodate the thousands of people attending these live events in the first place?


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