Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Sees Major Increase in Attendance
Friday, March 25, 2005
Daily Post [Liverpool]
By Larry Neild
The number of people going to concerts given by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra has increased by 44% in the past three years.
The new figures, released yesterday, show the RLPO has seen the number of its regular classic concert followers increase by 14,000 ó 4,000 more than a target of 10,000 set four years ago.
In the past year alone, 1,600 people have become new subscribers, making an upfront financial commitment to buy tickets for a minimum of three concerts per season.
It is more good news for one of Liverpool's longest-established cultural organisations following recent announcements reporting the Phil's best financial performance for 15 years.
The RLPO has also secured its first Principal Partner in Mersey Docks and Harbour Company, as well as a major donation from the Foyle Foundation for its ground-breaking Kensington music residency, Music for Life.
Three years ago, following major rebuilding of financial and managerial structures under chief executive Michael Elliott, who took up the post in January 2001, the Phil adopted innovative, customer-focused marketing techniques that better communicated the Phil's cultural offer.
They have proved key to stabilising, building and maintaining audiences for classical music in Liverpool.
Using box office information to understand customers' buying behaviour and the introduction of a wide range of campaigns and ticket offers providing opportunities to try out classical music for minimum financial commitment, many people have been persuaded to return to the Phil or to try it out for the first time.
Last night, Mr. Elliott said: 'When I came to the Phil in 2001, we set ourselves a challenge to re-invent ourselves as a 21st-century orchestra. Years of declining audiences meant we had to look long and hard at what we did on stage and off.
'We knew we were in for the long haul to rebuild our audiences but the work we have undertaken in the last three years is a great start in that we have achieved above the targets we set ourselves.
'We now know that there is a growing and sustainable audience for classical music in Liverpool. That's also good news for 2008 as it shows that more and more people in our region can be persuaded and want to enjoy the fantastic culture on their doorstep.'
Helen Dunnett, head of marketing who commissioned the market research from Morris Hargreaves McIntyre, said: 'The radical approach we took in our marketing strategies, which have since been adopted by other arts organizations across the UK, has reaped rewards in audiences returning to the Phil after years of staying away. Now our focus will turn to building loyalty and frequency of concert-going to turn this spectacular audience growth into financial return.'
Mike Storey, Leader of Liverpool City Council, which increased funding of the RLPO by 800% in 2002, said: 'The rebirth of the RLPO is fantastic news for the orchestra, audiences and the city. It's another signpost of Liverpool's cultural renaissance.
'A vibrant RLPO is vital to the city's cultural fabric for 2008 [when Liverpool will be European City of Culture] and on into the future.'
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