Wednesday, December 31, 2008

When is entertainment not entertainment?

A person playing a game of Solitaire with a deck of cards is engaging in a recreational activity, which can involve emotional involvement ranging from the euphoria felt from a win, to the disappointment of a loss, but is this genuinely an entertainment experience, or another form of recreation? A game of Solitaire with a deck of cards passes the time, so it is a pastime, it involves participation so it is also leisure, if it is participated in regularly it may also be a hobby, but whether it can also be considered entertainment hinges on the philosophical debate as to whether the player who is generating the activity can also be the audience to it. In other words, is it possible to be both the entertainer and the audience at the same time? There will undoubtedly be various viewpoints on this, some who will believe that it is, as well as those who do not. In the same manner it could be asked does a person singing entertain themselves? And does a person sculpting entertain themselves? They are all likely to be occupied and involved in what they are doing, they may be doing what they are doing as part of a recreational pursuit, their activities may also be amusing, enjoyable and satisfying, but is this really entertaining to them whilst they are doing it? As I have highlighted previously, there is no globally accepted definition as to what exactly constitutes entertainment, leisure, and recreation, in the same way that even global bodies such as the United Nations cannot agree between their own departments (UNCTAD and UNESCO) as to what exactly constitutes culture and creativity. Until a globally accepted definition of ‘all of the above’ can be given, this debate will remain a largely philosophical one, and entertainment sub-sectors such as gaming will always struggle in terms of identity as to whether they belong wholly, partially, or not at all within the entertainment industry.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Cultural Gastronomy

A distinct characteristic of many cultures, are the types of food and drinks that are associated with them. In this advanced age of globalisation many of these are now well traveled, and emigration is largely responsible for the spread of food and drinks beyond their traditional cultural borders, which is why: Mexican and Italian food are extremely popular in the USA; Indian food is popular in the UK; Japanese and Thai food is popular in Australia; and Chinese food is popular globally. In addition to this, tourists experiencing foreign holidays often partake in new gastronomic experiences, which they may subsequently want to take home, or try again when they return home.

Global gastronomic spread has also been assisted by major corporations with international reach, brands such as Heinz, Pataks, and Old El Paso have helped to raise awareness of food types in countries foreign to their origins, whilst Smirnoff, Bells, and Moet et Chandon are now globally recognised alcoholic drink brands. Also, television exposes potential audiences to a variety of types of food and drinks through cookery and travel shows, as well as films and dramas that are created in different countries from where they are being broadcast.

Demand for gastronomically exotic cultural experiences has fuelled a global rise in themed outlets, particularly restaurants and bars, which are themed around a specific culture. Globally the largest spread of culturally themed restaurants are American, Chinese, French, Greek, Indian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Mexican, Spanish, Thai and Vietnamese, although these are now being challenged by relative ‘newcomers’ such as Australian, Cuban, Lebanese, Polish, Turkish and Moroccan restaurants.

Many urban centres have significant established Chinese populations that occupy a specific area which may become known as a ‘China Town’, examples of cities that have a ‘China Town’ include Manchester (UK), Nagasaki (Japan) and San Francisco (USA). In China Towns, Chinese restaurants provide a culturally authentic experience to diners, by not only providing Chinese food, but also a suitable ambience that includes elements of décor, smells, textiles, utensils, language and music.

Participation in cultural gastronomy is about more than satisfying physiological needs through consumption. This is potentially a very rich and immersive entertainment experience as those in the audience can be stimulated in all five senses, which can trigger emotive responses amongst them. It is also very sociable, and commonly participated in by groups of individuals, who themselves become part of the ‘cast’ by partaking in such an entertainment / dining experience. The shared interaction of diners with their surroundings and food often provides entertainment for other members of the dining party.

In the UK, Indian restaurants have grown in popularity since an initial wave of immigration from Commonwealth countries including India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh in the 1950s. At the turn of the Millennium it was widely reported in the British media that the nation’s favourite dish was Chicken Tikka Masala, which is a mild curried chicken dish in a creamy tomato sauce. Since then, a growing number of Asian entrepreneurs have transformed the Indian dining experience, and are now creating a contemporary ambience with enlarged menus based around traditional recipes, but surroundings that are very different from the Indian restaurants of previous decades. Gone are patterned wallpaper and carpets, in favour of Wooden floors and more neutral colour schemes, also gone is ‘piped in’ Indian music in favour of flat screen TVs playing the latest Indian music videos featuring well known ‘Bollywood’ stars. This helps to maintain interest in the Indian dining experience amongst younger diners, who may feel more comfortable in surroundings that they perceive to be ‘cool’, but at the same time, this is a step away from the authenticity of the cultural experience. In terms of growth, culturally themed restaurants in the UK have suffered ‘from a certain amount of stagnation thanks largely to a distinct lack of innovation in the sector’ (Mintel, 2008), this new generation of Asian entrepreneurs are at least making steps to combat this.

Culture is also utilised in order to theme pubs and bars around a particular national identity, common global examples include American, British, Irish and Australian themed pubs and bars. In such establishments the surroundings are very often more authentic than the beverages being sold (most of these bars sell brands that are internationally recognisable and therefore less authentic culturally), although some specific brands are heavily promoted in these types of establishments. Common examples of draught products promoted in themed pubs and bars include: Budweiser (American); Fosters (Australian); Guinness (Irish); and John Smiths (British).

Finally gastronomic markets and festivals are also popular attractions that allow visitors to them, to become immersed in a specific culture. In Germany, beer festivals are extremely popular amongst residents and tourists alike. Most notable on the cultural calendar is the Munich based Oktoberfest, which is the world’s largest event of its kind attracting six million visitors annually. Oktoberfest is a sixteen-day festival that begins in September and finishes in October. At Oktoberfest the main attraction is the beer on offer, all of which is supplied by German breweries, but traditional German dress, music, tankards (steins), and food – particularly meat, potato and bread products all count towards creating a uniquely German, culturally gastronomic experience.

Despite its current popularity, the short to mid term future growth, for cultural gastronomy is largely going to be dictated by wider economic factors. Forecast rises in the prices of food, fuel, gas and electricity do not bode well, and may ultimately lead to many in this sector struggling to maintain profitability, particularly in the face of falling tourist revenues, and supermarkets being able to provide a similar or the same product, albeit without the full cultural experience. The question from a consumer’s perspective could be, ‘what am I interested in, the food / drink, or the experience?’ If the answer to this question is ‘the food / drink’ expect: competitive price cuts; and special offers; in restaurants and bars, as well as a reduction in menu size, in restaurants, as businesses themselves begin to tighten their belts.

Ref: MINTEL. (2008) Ethnic restaurants and takeaways – UK. London, MINTEL International Group.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

The Business of Nightclub Promotion

It may well be a clichéd saying that ‘life is a rollercoaster’, but I can share with you first hand that the life of a club promoter is full of ups and downs, dictated by a number of factors, some of which are within the control of the promoter, but many other factors are in the external environment, and there isn’t a thing that can be done about them. Before I go into detail, I’ll explain a little more about what a promoter actually does, and how they relate to nightclubs from a business perspective.

First of all the word ‘promoter’ is defined by the 2008 Oxford English Dictionary as a ‘person who…promotes, advances, or furthers any movement, project, institution, etc.; an encourager; a supporter’. A club promoter carries out a function, which is key to the marketing strategy of a nightclub – promotion, one of the four Ps of the marketing mix.

A nightclub is a venue, or a unit, a versatile space that can be themed with props and décor and utilised for a variety of purposes. The main function of a nightclub is the night-time entertainment on offer – typically music played by a DJ, as well as the sale of drinks (mainly alcoholic) and sometimes other refreshments. Visitors to a club typically participate in recreational socialisation activities, the predominant one being dancing, but attracting potential partners is also high on many people’s agendas, and as such clubs are perceived as being ‘sexy’ venues, which is something that promoters often latch onto, ‘sex sells’ is a very true adage.

The relationship between clubs and promoters varies from club to club, it is very often the case that one is in a stronger position than the other, so can dictate terms. This can be influenced by a number of factors, but a strong and concurrent factor is competition. In an urban area where there are many clubs in close proximity, the competition is likely to be strong between them to attract customers, especially when the product being offered is very often similar. In a scenario where a club is not reaching its potential in terms of footfall and bar revenue, a promoter is likely to be in a stronger position to be able to dictate financial terms with a club as to their involvement. A typical scenario, is that the promoter keeps the entry revenue, and the club keeps the bar revenue, but there are also situations where a percentage of either may be shared with the other party. There is also the issue of entertainment within the club, and who will pay for that, the promoter or the club, this is typically down to the promoter, but there can be financial splits with the club also. This is a very simplified explanation, but at many clubs it is as straight forward as that. However, there is also strong competition between rival promoters who are keen to expand their business, where this happens a club can be in a stronger position to dictate terms. This is an example of: competition; the power of buyers; the power of suppliers; and the threat of new entrants; which are four of Michael Porter’s Five Forces.

Of course some clubs specialise and put on particular nights aimed at a specific market segments, for example The Cockpit in Leeds is both a club and live music venue, but the ‘club’ aspect is one that is targeted towards fans of ‘alternative’ music i.e. not main stream ‘pop’. Therefore within Leeds they are not in direct competition with the likes of Halo or Oceana, who both predominantly run nights centred around pop music, ‘cheesie disco’, RnB, dance, and commercial basslines. The Cockpit are however in direct competition with other alternative music clubs and venues.

The city of Leeds, West Yorkshire, England, is an excellent example of an urban area with a high concentration of nightclubs and hybrid bars within a short distance of each other, the largest of which is the Luminar Leisure owned Oceana, and the smallest being any one of many hybrid bars. A hybrid bar is a late opening bar with DJ and dancefloor that functions as a combination of both pub and club. In England and Wales these have largely appeared since the advent of the 2003 Licensing Act, which relaxed the rules around opening hours and entertainment. When Oceana opened in Leeds, it signalled the death knell for many other Leeds clubs, early casualties were Creation and Majestyk (also owned by Luminar) and Halo – which since re-opened largely thanks to their main promoters at the time The Absolute Life (now Voodoo Events). What Oceana offered, was nine themed areas that could accommodate for different tastes – it was also new, and in Leeds (as in many other cities) the ‘new’ club becomes perceived to be ‘the place to be’.

Leeds is also a ‘student city’ in the sense that it has two large universities, as well as a number of further and higher education colleges. There are an estimated 100,000 students in and around Leeds who are 18 or over, and these are prime targets for club owners and promoters. Many students in Leeds are seasonal residents, who are there predominantly for term time only, but others are permanent residents, and as such the year fluctuates in terms of population.

The busiest time by far in Leeds is the September to November period of the Autumn term, when many students move to Leeds for the first time, and when student loans have been paid, so there is an early peak of student affluence. This is when promoters are at their fiercest in terms of competition, to try and get students ‘on board’ at their club nights. At this time of year promoters use a combination of both traditional and innovative methods to promote club nights, these include: posters; billboards; flyers; websites; web 2.0 particularly Facebook, Bebo and MySpace; giveaways including t-shirts, CDs, sweets, and drinks; eye-catching decorated vehicles such as monster trucks, smart cars, and travelling billboards; and by paying big name acts or celebrities to appear at venues. This can often be a loss-leader as it is an investment for the longer term. The ‘peak’ times for club promoters in student cities are: the beginning of the academic year in September / October; Halloween; just prior to the Christmas vacation; the beginning of the second semester in late January / early February; Valentines; St. Patrick’s day; the weeks before the Easter vacation; the week after the Easter Vacation; and the end of the academic year in early May.

An essential weapon in any club promoter’s army, are students – especially those who live in halls of residence, where they can slip in ‘under the radar’ with flyers and posters, and where tickets can be sold door-to-door. Many students (especially first years) relish the opportunity to be seen amongst their peers as the ‘cool kids’ who can get in to clubs for free, and often into VIP areas due to their promoter connections – for many this is their payment for working for a promoter, although some do get a financial ‘cut’ on the number of tickets that they sell. Some of these students are also studying relevant courses such as Entertainment Management, and as such gain an industry insight through their vocational activities. The most talented student promoters often go on to become promoters working for themselves, promoting their own nights that they put together on limited budgets, and largely taking advantage of networks of friends, who can not only help promote, but who can also DJ and help entertain the audience.

One person acting as a student / promoter / DJ is not uncommon, an example of a very successful one is Kane Towny who started off with fairly small and modest nights targeted towards a young and often ‘chav’ audience (and I don’t mean that in a derogatory sense), but who now runs very successful nights around the increasingly commercial bassline scene. Kane, and business partners were early adopters of the bassline scene in Leeds, and have turned it into something bigger and more glamorous than what many others have managed to do. As such they are making Leeds and their signature ‘Movement’ nights market leaders on the bassline scene. Most recently, Kane was one of three partners who organised Movement 2 at Victoria Works in Leeds, which featured over 30 DJs, and eight live performers spread over three arenas. On the night, well over 2,000 people who had paid up to £30 each for a ticket, turned up to the event, which was an outstanding success, and will be followed by four more ‘Movement’ parties in 2009.

Movement 2 @ Victoria Works, November 2008

This type of success doesn’t go unnoticed by jealous rivals, and often threats and underhand tricks such as advertising that nights have been cancelled are the norm. The most unscrupulous rivals will even employ people to set off fire alarms at ‘rival’ nights, or persistently cause fights or problems at venues, in order to break up the ambience and put off customers from returning. This means that promoters need to be prepared, and the first line of defence are club security. At many clubs, security are the responsibility of the venue rather than the promoter, but there is a great need for all to work closely together. At Movement the security was the responsibility of the promoters, who employed a highly visible and strong security presence, which controlled access in and out of the venue, as well as airport style metal detectors at the front entrance. This was a sophisticated set-up, but it needed to be. Victoria works is well out of the city centre, and there are no CCTV cameras on the badly lit streets around it, a good security presence minimises risk, and risk management is another responsibility that a promoter needs to take on board. It is entirely likely that after the success of the first two Movement nights, that the Movement parties of 2009 will be in a more central and secure location, such as the Leeds Academy, that has the capacity, and lessens the risks involved. If Movement continues to grow, it’s home in a few years time could well be the new Leeds Arena, which may seem like a long way off to many, but what is happening with the bassline scene is hardly different to what happened with the ‘house’ and ‘rave’ scene in the early 90s.

The founders of Cream began with a small house night, before moving to the Nation nightclub, and attracting names such as Paul Oakenfold and Sasha. Today the Creamfields festival takes place annually in the UK as well as varying locations abroad, and Cream run a regular night at Amnesia in Ibiza during the main club season, it is a multi-million pound business. Similar ‘seeds’ that have grown into ‘giant beanstalks’ are Godsktichen, and Ministry of Sound. It will be interesting to see what has happened to Movement in ten years time, but the pride, tenacity and commitment of those behind it, certainly bodes well for its future.

Finally, a warning to the wannabes who see this apparently fun, vibrant, sexy, cash-cow – be warned, the majority of club promoters, never make it beyond their first night, unscrupulous venue owners, competition, and the weather are just three of the rungs on the rickety success ladder that need to be climbed – there are many more. For those that do make it beyond their first night, life is hard and certainly not glamorous. Standing in the freezing cold on nightclub steps while drunken revellers try to blag their way in for a freebie loses its sex appeal pretty quickly, especially when abuse is hurled by them after a knock-back. For many, life as a club promoter is a hit and miss affair, few manage to get ‘regular’ successful slots, and those that do, have to fight to stay ahead of their rivals, this is a business where you can’t afford to be complacent, and as such promoters need to be proactive and energetic with drive, ambition and determination in abundance – if you haven’t got that, stick to being a customer.

Before I finish, I’ll share with you some personal experiences of success and….well not success. Firstly the success – F-Block Party, we have held three of these now and they have all been charity fundraisers for both Cancer Research UK, and St. Gemma’s Hospice. Our most recent one was the most successful yet, attracting 700 customers, and raising £1,130 for Cancer Research. This took several weeks of planning, assisted by the excellent and helpful people of Voodoo Events and Halo. A team of my own students promoted this event around Leeds Met and in halls of residence. To show you how low promoters can go, a jealous rival (who will remain nameless so as not to give them publicity), attempted to hijack the night by putting on their own ‘spoiler event’ at a local club, and targeting it at our captive audience of students that study in F-Building at Leeds Met (and incorrectly advertising it as an official night). Our night was for charity, their night was a commercial enterprise….a pretty scummy trick, but unfortunately one which the more unscrupulous promoters are prepared to do. I’m pleased to say that they failed miserably, and we had a record-breaking night whilst one of our ‘spys’ counted under 50 at their venue.

F-Block Party @ Halo, October 2008

Now for the not success…..a combination of poor timing, apathy, lack of finances, competition, looming assessment deadlines…..and an unexpected cold spell, which lead to SNOW (we never get snow these days), meant that our recent Beach themed club night aimed at students, attracted vastly fewer students than what we had hoped for, and whilst it made a modest profit for a good cause – it’s not something that I’ll be singing about in future. Even the most successful promoters have had stinkers, if they say otherwise then they’re liars, but if you want to be a club promoter, taking the rough with the smooth is par for the course, that rollercoaster ride does have ups, but there are also many downs.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Cultural Commodification: Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras

Some cultural events such as parades, galas, and festivals which often have quite historic or political origins and have taken place for a number of years (sometimes Centuries) have been capitalized upon by entrepreneurs, and as a result, whilst maintaining a historic significance have become largely commercial undertakings. This is an example of the commodification of culture as highlighted by (Long, 2007).

Social groups often partake in celebrations and displays that are unique to their own traditions and evolution, some celebrations and displays attract spectators from the wider community, who are keen to witness something that may be considered a spectacle by them, some people travel long distances solely to witness or experience these events, as such they become tourist attractions.

An example of this in action is the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, which despite it’s name is not held on or around Shrove Tuesday like many other Mardi Gras events in the world are. The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras began as a political demonstration in 1978 to highlight homosexuality (which was illegal in the Australian state of New South Wales at the time), and to protest against the persecution of those who were homosexual. Over the years the annual demonstration grew from being an organised march into a parade along a set route, with the addition of themes, costumes, music, theater, and dance - the 2009 theme is Nations United. As the event became more elaborate it began to attract non-gay spectators, as well as it’s traditional gay support. In 1988, Tourism New South Wales sponsored an economic impact statement of the event (Marsh and Levy, 1988) in recognition of the fact that the gay travel market was a lucrative one, with the average spend per capita being significantly higher than the average tourist spend (Waitt and Markwell, 2006). Economically the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras benefited the region as a whole with accommodation and support services being in high demand during this period. By the mid 1990s, the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras was an established event on the cities entertainment calendar, and was / still is used by marketers to attract tourists to the city - long may it continue!


Annual Meeting of the Law and Society Association. 2007. Berlin, (2007) Outsourcing culture: the role of the diaspora in the commodification. Long, D. Amherst, The Law and Society Association.

Marsh, I. & Levy, S. (1998) Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras: Economic Impact Statement 1988. Sydney, Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras Ltd.

Waitt, G. and Markwell, K. (2006) Gay tourism culture and context. Philadelphia, Haworth Press.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Nobody really knows exactly how many advertising messages we are exposed to each day. An interrogation of several respected business journals, asking this very question for US Citizens revealed a number of studies that gave answers ranging from 247 to 3,000. Either way there are a lot.

In an increasingly competitive society, advertising has taken on many forms in order to remain a step ahead of the competition. Many sellers and advertisers are now using entertainment in order to capture the attention of an audience and get their message across – this is sellertainment. A definition of which is ‘entertainment that is designed to sell a product, belief or ideal with the specific intention of increasing take-up amongst the audience’. Sellertainment can be found in a number of guises, some of the more commonly experienced forms of sellertainment are as follows:

· Printed sellertainment: brochures; leaflets; flyers; posters; and adverts in printed media.
· Sellertainment events: industry / trade shows; political rallies; sales parties.
· Media broadcast sellertainment: television and radio advertising; television ‘shopping’ channels.
· Online sellertainment: adverts; pop-ups; banners; and company websites.

Printed sellertainment is relatively commonplace, many magazines and newspapers are loaded (and heavily subsidised) by numerous full page and smaller adverts within them – including the use of ‘advertorials’ – adverts that are disguised as interest stories to get readers interested in the product, belief or ideal being sold.

Posters can be found in numerous locations, large billboards are often displayed by road sides so as to attract the attention of the occupants of passing vehicles. Flyers and leaflets can be found in many places, often pushed through letterboxes as ‘junk mail’ or distributed by hand to passers by, in student cities these are particularly used to advertise club nights.

From fashion shows to the The British International Motor Show, sellertainment events are commonplace. At the ‘World Travel Market’ (currently being held at ExCel in London), countries from around the world showcase themselves to potential buyers, including tour operators, students, and trade body representatives. In order to have appeal to passing potential customers, stands need to be eye catching, and often use entertaining promotional methods such as cultural crafts and artworks, musical performances, traditional costumes, gastronomic delights; dance displays; and many different types of ‘giveaways’. The images below highlight some specific examples of this, from this year’s World Travel Market.

A Formula 1 car helps to sell Abu Dhabi

A band helps to sell Tanzania

Traditional crafts and the 2010 world cup help to sell South Africa

In the recent US elections, the political campaigning cost both parties over $1bn, much of which was spent on large scale rallies where both Republican and Democrat parties attempted to ‘sell’ themselves to the US electorate, both candidates and their Vice Presidents spoke to thousands of people, and in doing so became entertainers themselves to their audiences. On a much smaller scale, ‘home sales parties’ such as Tupperware, Pampered Chef, Virgin Vie, and Ann Summers parties (which all have the broadest appeal to women) are held in a person’s home. With the use of a kit / starter pack or instructions, the ‘host’ typically has to prepare by buying food and drinks for their invited guests. When the party is held, an organisational representative arrives to demonstrate products, as well as organising tasks and games. The idea of the party is that the audience will be tempted to commit themselves to buying a product or products there and then. The host, for their involvement gets a small percentage of the sales revenue – often in the form of ‘points’ which is typically traded for products from the promoting company.

By far the most obvious form of Sellertainment to many people, is that which is broadcast through the media – particularly television. Television adverts or commercials have been in existence since 1941, when the first TV advert was aired in the USA. Television adverts have proved to be good sources of revenue generation for channel operators, but not always popular with viewers. Devices such as TiVo are now available that can record programmes without the adverts – this is of course of concern to many broadcaster stakeholders who do not want to see advertising revenue cut because of this.

The availability of cable / satellite and digital television has lead to the segmentation of channels with many solely providing specialist content – this includes ‘shopping’ channels that are entirely made up of advertising content such as QVC and Bid TV. These channels allow viewers to buy products as they are being advertised in a seemingly live environment by chatty hosts who often ‘play act’ or demonstrate these products to the viewing public. Some shopping channels ‘share’ their frequency with other channels that may only broadcast at certain times of day, allowing shopping channels to take up unused broadcasting capacity.

The internet is host to many forms of advertising, the websites of organisations that are trying to sell a product, belief or ideal to visitors is an example of sellertainment, as are online banner ads, pop ups and other adverts placed upon screens. The use of Flash and dynamic html often allows adverts to run at video quality without taking too long to load. Some websites make viewers watch an advert before allowing them to proceed to the part of the site that the viewer actually wanted to see.

Like it or not, sellertainment is here to stay and will most likely grow for the foreseeable future in our consumer-driven commercial society (excuse the pun). Entertainment Weekly publisher Scott Donaton has written an excellent book called ‘Madison and Vine: Why the Entertainment & Advertising Industries Must Converge to Survive’, which covers this subject area in much greater depth.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Leeds Entertainment Industry Leads!

This is a significant and exciting time for the Leeds entertainment industry with five recent major advances in the cities entertainment provision. Firstly the Leeds City Museum opened it’s doors to the public in September, it is free to enter and features variable exhibitions, displays, interactive games, video displays, shop and café, and is situated in Millennium Square, one of the cities entertainment hubs.

Secondly Clarence Dock, an area of redeveloped former brown belt land by the River Aire, saw the opening of the 50,000 square foot Alea Casino and Entertainment complex on the 11th October, to accompany the already in existence Royal Armouries, and exclusive bars / restaurants which inhabit the Clarence Dock area. The Alea complex comprises of restaurants, bars, private dining room, private cinema and of course the casino. At the same time, a number of exclusive shopping outlets also opened, seemingly in defiance of the credit crunch – even this was turned into a 'sellertainment' entertainment spectacle with a fashion show hosted by ‘How to Look Good Naked’ presenter Gok Wan.

Thirdly, the newly opened Leeds Academy – currently Leeds largest live music venue opened its doors to the public in October, with an opening night performance by The Kaiser Chiefs. The Academy is a £3m redevelopment of the formerly Luminar Leisure owned Creation nightclub, which before that was the Town and Country Club. The building itself is Grade 1 listed, and has an entertainment industry pedigree, it began life as the ‘Coliseum’ where it played host to music hall, circus and variety in the early twentieth century, before becoming a cinema, then a bingo hall and social club, and even a television studio. It now has a capacity of 2,300 in the main concert area, with a smaller room holding 400 people for smaller bands. The venue is owned by Academy Music Group Ltd.

Fourthly, the second phase of redevelopment of The Leeds Grand Theatre is finally drawing to a conclusion. Last week I was lucky enough to be part of a student group who were the first members of the public to witness the newly created Howard Assembly Room, which is a stunning oval space, with wooden floor and walls that are designed specifically to balance acoustics, how the room will be used specifically, has yet to be confirmed, but it certainly seems like a versatile space, slightly reminiscent of the Sage in Gateshead. The Howard Assembly Room used to be called the Assembly Rooms and had for a number of years been left as vacant storage space within the theatre, but prior to this had operated as the Plaza Cinema from the early 20th Century until 1978 (sometimes showing ‘risqué’ films to gentlemen clientele).

This is the culmination of a £30.5 million redevelopment plan that has also seen: the stalls re-seated with wider chairs for wider bottoms, and more leg room in-between rows (leading to a slight reduction in capacity); an enlargement of the opera pit; the creation of Opera North’s new Opera Centre; new rehearsal spaces; a sandblasted exterior; new roof; new exterior lighting; and the installation of air conditioning. The Grand Theatre was designed by James Robinson Watson and celebrates its 130th birthday in a fortnights time on the 18th November.

Finally and fifthly, the long awaited Leeds Arena development has officially been given the green light to be built on the former Leeds Met ‘Brunswick’ site and a Council Owned plot of land near Claypit Lane Leeds. The area, behind the Grosvenor Casino, and near the Merrion Centre is ideally located for public transport, and should aid regeneration of the area including the ‘old’ part of the Merrion Centre. Images of the site are featured below.

Above and below the site of the new Leeds Arena

Leeds Initiative have stated that the preferred operator will be SMG who currently operate the MEN Arena in Manchester, the Metro Radio Arena, the Journal Tyne Theatre in Newcastle and the Odyssey in Belfast. The site which is an excellent location for proximity to the city centre, will include a 12,500 seat covered entertainment arena, finally putting Leeds on the ‘large scale’ entertainment tour schedule. Rival Northern cities Sheffield, Hull and Manchester already have their own Entertainment Arena’s, and have consistently managed to attract bands to their cities, to the detriment of the Leeds live entertainment scene. This will eclipse the Leeds Academy in terms of size, but hopefully will not have a significant impact on other live entertainment venues within Leeds – just as Oceana unfortunately did on the local nightclub sector when it opened. This must of course be a concern to some smaller venue operators in the city. The choice of location for this site has proved controversial, land adjacent to Elland Road (below) and another near city centre location were both earmarked for the Arena – though the site that the council has chosen is by far the most suitable, and should facilitate the Arena’s success.

The Elland Road site that will now not be used
Unfortunately it isn’t all good news, the announcement was also made last week that the historic Joshua Tetley Brewery is to close in 2011 with the loss of 170 jobs. Tough market conditions have been blamed for the closure. The Brewery land which is geographically close to the Clarence Dock complex as well as Holbeck Urban Village – the cities new ‘creative cluster’ will no doubt be considered as the location for further new mixed usage developments (once the economy has got back to normal), as the city will continue to grow, and along with that the demand for more recreation spaces. Some interesting historic information about the area can be found here.

Friday, November 07, 2008


Naturtainment is a term for spectacles and phenomena that occur in the natural world, which can engage or captivate an audience. There is often a high degree of novelty in naturtainment, in the sense that what the audience experience is something that they rarely get to witness. Naturtainment is not controlled or managed by man, naturtainment spectacles and phenomena are controlled entirely by events in the natural world, and consequently naturtainment is not a part of the entertainment industry.

However, many naturtainment sites are recognised as being visitor attractions, and subsequently have had educational facilities built, such as visitor centres or observation platforms. The intention of these is usually to help audiences interpret and understand the naturtainment that they are witnessing. Some common examples of naturtainment attractions where interprative educational facilities can often be found include: coastlines; canyons and gorges; caves & caverns; cliffs & crags; forests & woodland; geological / rock formations; glaciers; geothermal; lakes & rivers; mountains & volcanoes; nature reserves; parklands & national parks; and waterfalls.

Safaris are guided naturtainment tours which are most common in large eco-sensitive areas that are largely unspoiled by man, and where natural flora and fauna flourish. Consequently Safaris usually take place in less developed countries (particularly African countries). Safaris often involve an audience of people travelling in vehicle(s) along with experienced guide(s) who are there to share their knowledge of the local environment, particularly its plants and animals. The major attraction of safaris is the ability to witness animals in their own natural environment. Some safaris form the basis of holidays, and can last a number of days. Whilst naturtainment as a phenomenon is not a part of the entertainment industry, it's commodification for the purposes of educating an audience is, and a subsidiary of the edutainment sector.

The video below highlights naturtainment in action.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

New Musical Edutainment?

An interesting article in yesterday’s Guardian Newspaper, mentions the planned combination of entertainment and education by former Pulp front man Jarvis Cocker, who lead the band for 24 years, from their origins on the underground UK ‘indie’ scene and through the rise of ‘Brit Pop’ and ‘cool Britannia’ in an era when New Labour rose to the fore, and ‘hip’ artists such as Oasis, Blur and Pulp suddenly found themselves in the commercially all important ‘top 40’. Cocker gained a certain degree of notoriety for his stage invasion during Michael Jackson’s 'Earth Song' at the BRIT Awards in 1996, which offended many corporate execs and sponsors (whose musical knowledge probably didn’t extend beyond Smash Hits magazine). Pulp later wound down their operations (although didn’t officially split) in 2002, and since Cocker has been involved in a variety of projects including an appearance in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, curating the 2007 Meltdown Festival and various solo and collaborative music projects including a cover of Heaven 17’s ‘Temptation’ with Beth Ditto.

Cocker is proposing to incorporate elements of education into his musical shows such as mini-lectures and spoken word. The Guardian article states ‘Oxbridge lecturers will doubtless be watching these gigs carefully, waiting to see if the lecture-disco format takes off’. Whilst Cocker’s proposal is interesting, it is nothing new, U.S. Industrial band Consolidated frequently punctuated their shows with lectures on a variety of subjects including racism, homophobia, over-fishing, and vegetarianism, as well as holding open debates and open mic sessions. Public Enemy produced entire musical shows around the themes of racism, equality and the ‘New World Order’, and Michael Franti when front man of the Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy, would speak on similar subjects in-between songs. Former Bad Brains front-man Henry Rollins has also embarked on a number of spoken word tours.

The combination of education and entertainment is known as edutainment, and has been discussed extensively throughout this blog. The advantage that edutainment has over many other educational ‘formats’ is that it opens up education to those who may possibly have been ‘turned off’ by the notion of learning in their own recreation time. That said, it would be fair to assume that most people who are attracted to a Jarvis Cocker concert which incorporates a spoken word element, will probably have a certain degree of intellectuality about themselves in the first place….in which case the question is raised as to whether this is an effective educational format, or just another musical story-telling performance art hybrid? I’ll be interested to see what happens.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Guiseley V Garforth (FA Cup 2nd Qualifying Round) & The ITV Local Experience

The Football Association Challenge Cup (FA Cup) is one of the best known and most respected football competitions in the world. It is also the oldest football competition in the world tracing its origins back to the 1871-72 football season. The majority of football fans world-wide become aware of the FA Cup when it reaches it’s first round proper when football league teams become involved, but the story begins several months before this with four qualifying rounds participated in by teams that are not from the top four divisions of English football (commonly referred to as non-league clubs). Teams from Coca Cola League one and two are then involved for the next round, with Championship and Premier League teams becoming involved in the following round. Four more rounds then follow before a semi-final and a final played at Wembley Stadium. For the 2008-09 season there are a record 731 clubs involved in the competition, and the ‘romance’ of the FA Cup is that one or more of the smaller teams will progress within the competition beating opposition from higher divisions.

My mission on this particular occasion was to visit Nethermoor Park the home of Guiseley AFC for their second qualifying round fixture against Garforth Town AFC and cover the experience for ITV Local. This is no ordinary fixture, Guiseley V Garforth is a Leeds derby game, in essence West Leeds V East Leeds, that was sure to generate passionate support from both sides. Both teams were present due to beating their previous first round opposition, Guiseley hammering Selby Town by four goals to nil, and Garforth beating Ossett Town by one goal to nil. In terms of league position, Guiseley currently occupy a third place spot in the Unibond Premier League, and are currently on an eight game unbeaten run. Whereas as Garforth occupy a somewhat less salubrious position three places from the bottom in the Unibond First Division North – a division below Guiseley.

I was accompanied by level one BA (Hons) Entertainment Management student Aidan England, but we were not the only representatives of Leeds Met, Garforth number 9, Mark Piper is also a student studying at the university. The connection doesn’t end their, as Socrates (ex-Brazilian international) has an Honorary Doctorate from Leeds Met and is an ex-player / coach for Garforth Town AFC, thanks to owner Simon Clifford’s influences via his Brazilian Soccer Schools.

I have to applaud ITV for covering the local FA Cup games at such an early stage and inviting myself and other bloggers Luke Beaumont and David Poole along to cover it from the spectator’s viewpoint. Most of the audio-visual content that we have generated is intended to be used on the ITV local website - ITV Local is an online service provided by ITV plc. Our remit was simple – show it as it is, no PR, no gimmicks, just proper footie where you stand right up to the pitch, banter with the players and officials, have a realistic chance of being smacked by a football, and can get a marvellous steak pie and mushy peas for just £2.00. Throughout the game I had the opportunity to interview several supporters from both sides, whilst Aidan skilfully operated the camera and microphone (without dropping either once!).

The game kicked off in glorious September sunshine, with the home side playing in their strip of white shirts and shorts, and the visitors in their yellow and blue ‘Brazil’ style strip, amongst the crowd of 447 there was a good away following from Garforth, with plenty of Brazil strips on display and loud chants of ‘GARFORTH!’ throughout. The home support on the other hand seemed a little more muted, although this was possibly due to fewer hours in the pub pre-match, and an on pitch performance that at times inspired the phrase ‘took their foot off the gas a little’. Several shirtless supporters were topping up their holiday tans, including one Guiseley fan who proudly showed off his Guiseley AFC tattoo.

What seemed a common theme from both sets of supporters was disillusionment at the performance and politics of local ‘fallen giants’ Leeds United, currently in 3rd place in the third tier of English football, and a need to rediscover their passion for the game, which they were now doing at a much more local level. The phrase ‘grass roots’ support carries something of a cliché, but it is evident that people who come and watch a fixture like this are not here to see overpaid prima donnas with spray tans and highlights in their hair. They are here to see athletes who represent their home-town in good sporting competition – and that’s exactly what they got. From my own neutral standpoint, I found the encounter to be a passionate, humorous and good natured affair, a million miles from the money, money, money of the revolting English Premier League where sportsmanship has been replaced with bought success, and local support has been replaced by television mega bucks. That trend doesn’t end in the Premier League either, already in the Championship teams such as Queens Park Rangers and Blackpool FC seem to think that charging upwards of £30 for match day tickets is acceptable… the average fan it isn’t, and these clubs are likely to alienate their ‘grass roots’ support whom they tend to rely upon during leaner periods of success.

The encounter at Guiseley today was £7 on the gate, which still seemed steep to some, but this is most likely Guiseley’s main source of income, and only £1 more than for a Garforth home game. Whilst the ITV cameras were in attendance, they are not a regular income generating feature, and Guiseley’s shirt sales are more likely to be in the hundreds than the hundreds of thousands.

The game itself was pretty much an end-to-end affair, and there certainly did not look to be a division between both teams in terms of playing ability. Guiseley went ahead after half an hour with a Dave Merris goal that resulted from a well aimed Anthony Lloyd cross. Six minutes later the home side scored again when Adam Muller knocked the ball into the bottom left corner of the goal beyond the reach of Garforth keeper Gavin Phillips. Just before the half-time whistle Garforth spirits were lifted with a goal from Leeds Met student Mark Piper. At half-time the Guiseley support were nervous and not convinced that the team were making their best playing efforts. The Garforth fans were not beaten and could see that their team were ‘up for it’, however thoughts that their FA Cup curse (never going beyond the 2nd qualifying round) must have been at the back of some minds. The second half saw some physical challenges, one of which resulted in Garforth Captain Brett Renshaw being knocked to the ground, and then loudly accused of being a cheat by the home fans for ‘making a meal of it’. Yellow cards were dished out to both sides (including a comedy handball), and Guiseley scorer Adam Muller saw red for his second bookable offence. James Hanson almost put the home side even further ahead with a stunning overhead kick that struck the underside of the bar before being cleared by Garforth’s keeper. However, Garforth’s fighting spirit finally paid off with a goal from substitute Andy Hayward, which made honours even at 2-2 and will result in a Tuesday night replay at the Genix Healthcare Stadium in East Leeds - may the best team win!

Garforth in yellow and blue, and Guiseley in white and black

A Guiseley fanatic

Aidan and me with fellow bloggers and the ITV news team.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Built Environment Edutainment Attractions

The built environment consists of man-made constructions that have been created to facilitate society and human existence. In any urban area the built environment including houses, office blocks, roads, railway lines, factories, bridges, and churches surrounds us. The majority of the local built environment is unremarkable to those who live within it, but occasionally something within the built environment is created that becomes a spectacle, and as a consequence an attraction. When this happens it is largely due to the novelty of what has been created. Built environment attractions can be novel due to their uniqueness, architecture, history, notoriety, usage, size or any combination of these factors. When something has been created within the built environment that becomes an attraction this is often capitalised upon with the introduction of educational facilities so that visitors to the attraction can learn more about it. The majority of built environment attractions were not originally created as attractions, however in some cases their importance as attractions has become central to their existence. An example of this could be the ruins of the Colosseum in Rome, Italy, that once formed an important functioning building, but today has no function other than to draw in visitors.

Many built environment sites that are recognised as being attractions, have often had educational facilities built such as visitor centers, or observation platforms. The intention of these is usually to help audiences interpret and understand the attraction and as such these facilities are edutainment venues.

Built environment attractions include the following:
  • Airport Viewing Areas
  • Archaeological Attractions
  • Bridges
  • Canal Based Attractions
  • Famous & Historic Buildings
  • Monuments, Statues & Sculpture
  • Sports Stadiums
  • Reservoirs & Dams
  • Towers & Tall Buildings with Observation Decks
  • Windmills & Wind Farms

Above The Gateshead Millennium Bridge - A visitor attraction in the built environment

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The 28th Kirkstall Festival

Entertainment was in abundance at the 28th annual Kirkstall Festival on Saturday 12th July. There was: edutainment in the form of narrated battle re-enactments; live music from a number of performers on the main stage as well as the brass band playing in the abbey ruins; spectator sports with rugby, football and tennis competitions; and thrillertainment on the noisy adrenalin inducing fairground rides. Apart from this there were an array of information stands, stalls, tombolas, and of course fabulous festival food from around the world.

The festival is held in the grounds of Kirkstall Abbey, built by Cistercian Monks in the 12th Century. After the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII, the Abbey slowly fell into ruin. Today these are accompanied by a Leeds City Council run visitor centre and museum. The site of the Abbey made a spectacular backdrop for the festival, which was visited by several thousand people from within and beyond the local area. It was really good to see representation from Leeds Met, including a stall run by the Sri Lanka 2008 volunteers, charity tombolas, and of course the Student Union run refreshment tent, all of which helped to make this another successful community event.

Above - Edutainment via a historic re-enactment

Above - The lure of live music

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Call for Authors - The Entertainment Industry: An Introduction

I'm delighted to announce that a leading international publisher, has invited us to produce a new book, to be called 'The Entertainment Industry: An Introduction', this will become the first in an Entertainment Management series, and is due for publication in Autumn 2009.

The book will profile an entertainment sector per chapter, including a breakdown of types of entertainment entity within that particular sector. Other generic information that will be covered per sector will include; brief history & background; products and segmentation; contemporary issues; micro and macro business environmental influences that have helped shape, develop and influence entertainment products; detailed case studies of entertainment organisations and products; and the predicted future for each sector.

This book is aimed towards undergraduate and post-graduate students studying a programme that involves aspects of the following industries: entertainment; leisure; recreation; events; tourism; the arts; culture; media and spectator sports.

I am looking for contributors to lead the development of a chapter (or chapters), or for contributions in a specific area such as a case study, or any expertise that is relevant to a particular chapter. This is a really excellent opportunity for an unpublished academic to become published, or for anybody to bolster their existing publication list. Anybody that is interested in exploring this further should contact me via email on . A full list of contributors needs to be submitted by mid May.

The chapters are as follows:

1. Introduction to the Entertainment Industry
2. Staged Story & Variety
3. Live Music
4. The Nightclub Sector
5. Cinema and Film
6. Broadcast Media
7. Recorded Audio and Video
8. The Internet
9. Computer Gaming
10. Printed Media
11. Gambling
12. Spectator Sports
13. Thrillertainment
14. Edutainment
15. Sellertainment
16. Culturtainment
17. Spiritual Entertainment
18. Health Entertainment
19. Adult Entertainment

A breakdown of suggested topics per chapter now follows - this is negotiable with contributors.

1 Introduction to the Entertainment Industry

Entertainment is recreational by nature, meaning that it is part of a process undertaken by people who wish to rejuvenate their body and / or mind. Not all recreational activity is entertainment, indeed recreation also encompasses leisure, hobbies, pastimes, and sports. People seeking entertainment form part of a recreational audience who are searching for something that has the primary purpose of engaging or captivating them through sensory stimulation and / or emotion. An audience can be as large as infinite, and as few as one. It is important to remember that entertainment does not have to be jovial, or created with any form of humour or light relief in mind (traditionally referred to as ‘light entertainment’).

The entertainment industry exists, it is real, and yet all too often entertainment is dismissed as being an aspect of leisure. This is not the case, Vogel (2004) estimated that the global entertainment industry is worth a trillion US$ annually, but where is this money coming from? This chapter will set out to define the entertainment industry, detailing the sectors that make it up, and the complexity of these in terms of identifying exactly which sector(s) different types of entertainment should be categorised within. It will also examine the relationship that entertainment has with other industries, including events, leisure and tourism, ending with the rationale and justification for the stand alone identity of an entertainment industry.

2 Staged Story and Variety

‘Live entertainment that is often set on (or within) a purpose-built area where a pre-determined story or routine is acted or performed.’

Story telling and dance are two of the oldest forms of man-made entertainment. This chapter will cover the history of storytelling and how story has been interpreted into staged performances, it will include: history & background of theatre, opera, variety, pantomime, ballet and other dance performances, as well as other staged performances that follow a pre-determined storyline or routine including puppet shows, stand-up comedy, magic shows, ventriloquism, acrobatic and stunt routines, wrestling, parkour and flaring; products and segmentation including performances targeted at specific age groups and socio economic sectors. Locations and venues where staged performances are encountered, contemporary issues including the ‘feminisation’ of pubs and how these are opening up to staged performance entertainment; micro and macro business environmental influences that have helped shape, develop and influence entertainment products including changing fashions, the increasing use of technology, unionisation of performers, ethics and the stage; detailed case studies of entertainment organisations and products including The Jerry Springer Opera, The Northern Ballet Theatre Company, Opera North, London’s West End, Broadway, Sydney Opera House, The National Theatre for Scotland, Leeds City Varieties, Jongleurs, WWF / WWE, Punch & Judy, The Black & White Minstrels, The Edinburgh Festival; and the predicted future for this sector.

3 Live Music

‘Entertainment that is musical in nature, performed live by artists and watched / listened by an audience’.

Live music is another example of an early form of entertainment, the rhythmic beating of drums as well as harmonised vocal tones performed to an audience has been happening for thousands of years. This chapter will include the history and background to live music, encompassing varying scales of music concerts, from intimate ‘gigs’ to mega musical events such as the Glastonbury festival. Popular music forms will be covered, as well as classical music, orchestras, brass bands, and choral performances. Products and segmentation of live music events by socio-economic groups as well as the ages of listeners will be discussed; contemporary issues; micro and macro business environmental influences including youth culture and changing fashions from the mid twentieth century to present day, increased competition, globalisation of mega music events, environmental impacts of music festivals, the impact of technology; detailed case studies of Live Music organisations and products including Woodstock, Glastonbury, The Big Day Out, Burning Man, Festival Republic; and the predicted future for that sector.

4 The Nightclub Sector

‘Entertainment venues that stay open after dark, and often into the early morning, that provide music as their primary product, to a recreation seeking audience who are there to listen, socialise or dance, and where the sale of food, and drink (often alcohol) is a major factor in attracting clientele’

A 20th Century phenomenon, this chapter will include the history & background of what is the modern ‘club’ of today, including the rise of the DJ as a star performer alongside and often replacing live musicians, 60s rock and roll, 70s disco, the 80s rave, 90s techno and 00s R’n’B; products and segmentation including club ‘brands’ that are geared towards particular segments of ‘clubbers’, and club nights aimed at particular audiences; contemporary issues including smoking bans coming into force in a number of countries and states across the world, the increased use of technology to enhance the club experience, drugs and alcohol; micro and macro business environmental influences that have helped shape, develop and influence entertainment products including changing trends in fashions and music tastes, ‘student cities’, the relationship between club and promoter and the importance of marketing; detailed case studies of nightclub organisations and products including Luminar Leisure, Voodoo Promotions, The Hacienda Manchester, Paradise Club Sydney, Manumission Ibiza, Miami Beach, Pacha New York; and the predicted future for this sector.

5 Cinema and Film

‘The entire spectrum of organisations that are concerned with the production, distribution, and showing of big-screen movie entertainment.’

Big screen movie entertainment is getting even bigger, each year the money spent on blockbuster film releases increases, globally the centre of this industry is still the USA, but other countries (especially India) are now staking their claims. In the face of this an extremely competitive entertainment industry as well as Internet driven piracy is directly impacting upon movie audience numbers. This chapter will include: history & background of the film industry including early pioneers and their contributions; the relationship along the supply chain from production to distribution to showing; the impacts of technology (positive and negative); increased competition; film typology and changing tastes; global perspectives from Hollywood to Bollywood; types of cinema from independent and specialist, to chains, multiplexes, megaplexes and IMAX; social influences that have helped shape, develop and influence cinematic products; cinematic phenomenon including Star Wars, Jaws, Blair Witch; detailed case studies including Rank, Vue, Warner Brothers, Disney, Tarantino, Spielberg; Japanese Anime and Manga; the Hyde Park Picture House and the predicted future for the global cinema and film industry.

6 Broadcast Media

‘Entertainment that is produced for mass audiences and broadcast or transmitted from a distant source.’

The first moving images on film were produced in Leeds in 1888, radio closely followed in 1895, and television appeared in the 1930s. From then on these mediums have grown rapidly from the 1970s onwards in terms of manufacturers, program makers, and technological advancements, bringing non-stop entertainment straight into our homes. This chapter will include: history & background of television and radio including government and funded sources; segmentation of media into specialist channels; free to air and pay-per-view, satellite and cable broadcasting; contemporary issues including UK license fees, freedom of speech / censorship globally, US writers strike, the switch from analogue to digital and increasing competition; social change and the impacts upon programming, political sensitivity, Tivo and the impact on advertisement revenue, legal, and technological influences that have helped shape, develop and influence broadcast media products; detailed case studies including The BBC, BSKyB, The collapse of ITV Digital, MTV, Fox, News Corporation, The Disney Channel, Al Jazeera, global and regional radio, Endemol, HBO and the predicted future for that sector.

7 Recorded Audio and Video

‘Entertainment that includes any one or more of the following: music; the spoken word; and moving images. That is designed for the audience to listen and / or watch, in a format that requires a third-party device to be able to play it.’

Technology has had a major impact upon this sector, which has transformed from large and often bulky analogue media, into small and compact digital ones that can be taken anywhere. This chapter will include: history & background of AV formats including vinyl, audio cassettes, Cds, MP3s, Betamax, VHS, Blu-Ray; products and segmentation; contemporary issues such as copy protection, and the threats presented by counterfeiting and the internet; copy protection; home entertainment; mobile entertainment; micro and macro business environmental influences that have helped shape, develop and influence these products; detailed case studies including The Sony Walkman, Apple iPod & iPhone, Def Jam Recordings, Blu-Ray Disc Association, Island Records, Warner Brothers, Sony, and the predicted future for that sector.

8 The Internet

‘Entertainment that is accessed via web browsers or other software on computers (or other devices) that are connected to the world wide web.’

A 20th century phenomenon that ranks in importance with the telephone, car and television, this chapter will include the history & background of the internet as an entertainment medium including the impacts of broadband and FRIACO; world-wide growth in internet usage and future forecasting; Internet Service Providers, online entertainment products and segmentation, including email, search engines, shopping online, social networking websites and the rapid rise in popularity of online Social Networks, blogs and blogging, Podcasts, file sharing websites, WebTV and Radio, Instant Messenger applications; contemporary issues including censorship of websites by governments, intellectual property theft and the ease of online piracy, other criminal activity facilitated by the internet including security issues and the dark side of the web, future web based entertainment products currently in development; micro and macro business environmental influences that have helped shape, develop and influence the development of the internet as an entertainment medium; detailed case studies of entertainment organisations and products including AOL, Orange Internet, Sky Broadband, Hotmail and MSN, eBay, Amazon, Friends Reunited, MySpace, Facebook, Bebo, Blogger, Google, YouTube, The Open Directory Project, iTunes,, Napster, eMule, Imesh, MSN Messenger, AOL Instant Messenger; and the predicted future for that sector.

9 Computer Gaming

‘Entertainment that involves the use of any electronically operated system whereby challenges are presented and an input device is used to manipulate images (and usually sounds) produced by a computer or micro-processor on some kind of display.’

In the 1970s electronic large arcade games began to appear, in the 1980s home game consoles were developed which meant that these games could be played in the home, from then on technological advancements and the rise of home PCs have revolutionised this highly competitive and fast growing industry. This chapter will include: history & background of computer games and devices from Pong, Pac Man, Space Invaders, Donkey Kong Atari, ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64 up to present day console games against a product life cycle diagram; game products and segmentation including classifications of games and console types; contemporary issues including violence in gaming and the need for age restrictions; social, political, economical and technological influences that have helped shape, develop and influence consoles and games including MMOG; gaming machines in pubs, bars and clubs including quiz machines; detailed case studies of any three of the following Sony Playstation, Nintendo Wii, Microsoft X-Box, Nintendo DS, Playstation portable, Mobile Phones as game consoles, and the predicted future for the computer game sector.

10 Printed Media

‘Entertainment that is typically paper based, involving the use of printed text and graphics.’

Books have been around for thousands of years, and more recently newspapers, and magazines. Reading printed media for recreational purposes has been happening for hundreds of years, but with technological advances, mass production and global distribution channels have lead to ever increasing competition. This chapter will include the history & background of the modern paperback book, as well as newspapers and magazines; different genres of printed media products including both fact and fiction will be examined along with segmentation to targeted audiences; contemporary issues including the battle of the ‘lad mag’, censorship, and paparazzi and ethics; the potential impacts of electronic paper, as well as micro and macro business environmental influences; detailed case studies of Hello!, Zoo, Nuts, Cosmopolitan, Readers Digest, Time Magazine, Viz, Beano, Harry Potter, Penguin Books, Ladybird and the predicted future for that sector.

11 Gambling

‘Entertainment that centres around risking the loss of money for a possible gain.’

Inspired by the media, many of us dream of what it would be like to be wealthy, not to have money worries and celebrating that ‘big win’. The reality however is starkly different, and the gambling industry is one where the only real winners are the organisations that make it up. This chapter will include: history & background of the modern day gambling industry, including Casinos, Bingo, Race-tracks and Bookmakers; contemporary issues such as the UK Super Casino debacle; legislative impacts upon the gambling industry in the US and UK; the impact of gambling and large scale casinos in the US; the impact of internet gambling; and socio-economic factors that have helped shape, develop and influence the world-wide gambling industry; detailed case studies of gambling organisations and products including the new large scale casino development at Great Yarmouth, William Hill, Tote, the National Lottery, TAB Australia, Gala Bingo, Grosvenor Casino; and the predicted future for the global gambling industry.

12 Spectator Sports

‘Entertainment where an audience watches an activity that involves physical exertion and fair competition.’

The competitive nature of human beings, is one of many factors that lead to the development of sporting rituals and competitions, the first Olympic games being held over 2,500 years ago. This chapter will include: the history & background of a number of spectator sports using specific clubs, leagues and competitions as examples of business case studies in the face of increasing competition from within and outside of the spectator sports sector, where audiences are now looking for their sport to entertain them in order to maintain their support; products and segmentation including the use of sponsorship and branding will be examined; as well as contemporary issues including legislative impacts upon sports teams and stadia; micro and macro business environmental influences that have helped shape, develop and influence spectator sport products will be examined through detailed case studies of sporting entities including, the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the London 2012 Olympics, The X-Games, Australian Rugby League, Yorkshire Cricket, The Premier and Football leagues in the UK, Ice Hockey in Canada, Handball in Europe, Major League Soccer, American Football (Gridiron), Ice Hockey in Canada, The Melbourne Cup and the Tour-de-France. Organisations and products from within these areas will be studied with the predicted future for that sector.

13 Thrillertainment

‘Entertainment that is intended to thrill, excite, stimulate the senses – and sometimes cause fright.’

Paying money for the thrill of an experience that may be perceived as being dangerous – or even near-death to one’s self is a relatively new phenomenon, the first ‘thrill’ rides that appeared in the late nineteenth century certainly seem very mild compared to many of today’s offerings, however thrillertainment in other forms such as ancient Roman gladiators fighting to the death and the circus, where man and man-eating animals were only yards apart have been around for thousands of years. This chapter will include the history & background of modern day fairgrounds, theme and amusement parks, as well as other forms of thrillertainment including the Circus and more contemporary heritage related offerings such as ghost walks around stately homes or cities; products and segmentation including which thrillertainment products are targeted at which audiences, along with how and why; contemporary issues including globalisation and competition amongst major providers; micro and macro business environmental influences including the impact of global currency markets on consumer choice, sponsorship of parks and rides, alignment with global brands, increasing technology allowing rides to become faster and even more death defying, pay per ride V pay per entry; detailed case studies of entertainment organisations and products including the Disney Theme Parks world-wide, Merlin Entertainment, Luna Park, Blackpool Pleasure Beach, Pleasure & Leisure Corporation Plc, Billy Smart’s Circus, The Moscow State Circus, Ghost walks in York and the predicted future for that sector.

14 Edutainment

‘Entertainment that is designed to promote knowledge and learning.’

The idea of using recreation as a means to learn, was first practiced by the ancient Greeks with their ‘mouseion’. Centuries later, societal and class divides often meant that only those who were privileged enough had access to educational resources for the purpose of education. This however is no longer the case, and this chapter will include the history & background of edutainment facilities displays and shows, from art galleries and libraries, the medical operating theatre and the great exhibition to modern day Museums, Zoos, Aquariums, Planetariums, Conferences, Guided tours, Adult education classes, Art and craft demonstrations, Historic re-enactments, Stately homes, Shows and displays with an educational component, such as transport shows e.g. air shows and animal displays e.g. falconry; contemporary issues across sectors including the need to be competitive in a highly competitive market; socio economic and political influences that have helped shape, develop and influence edutainment products, including the scrapping of charges in Britain’s national museums; the phenomena of Naturtainment; dark tourism; and detailed case studies of entertainment organisations and products including The Royal Armouries, National Media Museum, London Eye, Egyptian Pyramids, guided tours of Edinburgh, open top bus tours of Belfast, Australia Zoo, Seaworld Florida, Bodyworlds; Auschwitz and Jodrell Bank; and the predicted future for edutainment.

15 Sellertainment

‘Entertainment that is designed to sell a product, belief or ideal with the specific intention of increasing take-up amongst the audience.’

From the humble origins of street vendors, hawkers and market traders to a multi-billion dollar advertising industry, sellertainment is BIG business, faced with the challenge of getting a message across about a product, belief or ideal to an audience that are not necessarily there to see it. This chapter will include the history & background of sales related entertainment including advertising billboards and posters; products and segmentation towards different audience members; contemporary issues such as the introduction of advertising standards and codes of practice; micro and macro business environmental influences including the rise of electronic advertising media and other forces that have helped shape, develop and influence sellertainment products; the increasing convergence of the entertainment and advertising industries; detailed case studies of sellertainment organisations, events and products including, various sports sponsorship, the rise of mascots, US political rallies and campaigns, television adverts and the expense of air-time, advertising in the popular press and magazines, pop-ups on websites as well as banner ads and other forms of online advertising, television shopping channels, QVC, Omnicom, Pearl & Dean, Saatchi and Saatchi; and the predicted future for this sector.

16 Culturtainment

‘Entertainment that involves the celebration or commemoration of the values or beliefs of a particular segment of society.’

Society is made up of a plethora of sub-groups, this can be based on ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, profession, beliefs…..the list is endless. This chapter will include the importance of celebration and commemoration for those from distinct cultural groups, including rationale for the celebration of a number of cultural entertainment events; contemporary issues effecting cultural celebrations such as perceived terror threats and increased security; commercialisation of culturtainment including corporate sponsorship; diversification of culturtainment away from the original meanings of the celebration / commemoration; detailed case studies including the Notting Hill Carnival, bullfighting in Spain and South / Central America, Bradford Mela, the Mardi Gras Sydney, Maori celebrations in New Zealand, St. Patrick’s Day, and the New Orleans Mardi Gras; and the predicted future for culturtainment events.

17 Spiritual Entertainment

‘Entertainment that is based upon the belief that mystical forces can control our destiny.’

Supernatural and religious entities have been revered for thousands of years, however their use for the purposes of entertainment is a relatively new phenomenon, and one that some are uncomfortable with. This chapter will include the history & background of a number of Spiritual Entertainment events and practices including evangelism, séances, palmistry, crystal ball, tea-leaf readings & tarot card readings, celebrations at religious festivals as well as: segmentation of these products to socio-cultural audiences; motivations of individuals to participate in spiritual entertainment; contemporary issues, including the popularisation of spiritual entertainments through film and television and other micro and macro business environmental influences that have helped shape, develop and influence spiritual entertainment products; detailed case studies including witch doctors in the Gambia, religious festivals, evangelism, clairvoyants, palmistry, psychics; and the predicted future for this sector.

18 Health Entertainment

‘Entertainment that is designed to promote positive physical and mental health.’

We are living in a society that is becoming increasingly aware of the need to be physically and mentally fit in order to health and quality of life. This is not a modern day phenomenon, indeed for thousands of years people have bathed in sea water believing it to have ‘healing’ qualities. In the face of this an industry has grown that is set to practice therapeutic entertainment on willing audience members. This chapter will include the history & background of commercially available massage, spa treatments and other wellness products; the effects of health entertainment on the audience; the distinction between health entertainment and health leisure; segmentation of products against markets; the changing trends towards health awareness in society; global tourism to health entertainment venues; ageing populations in Europe; how socio-economic factors have helped develop and influence health entertainment products; detailed case studies of health entertainment organisations and products including Wellness centres in Germany; Banantyne’s, Shanti Bhavan Massage (India); and the predicted future for that sector.

19 Adult Entertainment

‘Entertainment that is intended to arouse sexual desire amongst audience members by displays of eroticism.’

Often referred to as the oldest ‘profession’, the providing of sexual favours and gratification for profit has occurred for thousands of years. This chapter will include the history & background of ‘the oldest profession’, looking at prostitution, peep shows, strip-tease, staged sex shows, lap dancing and pole dancing. Contemporary issues such as the rise of high-street ‘gentleman’s clubs’, and legislative impacts upon these. Detailed case studies of entertainment organisations and regions will include Spearmint Rhino, Stringfellows, the Amsterdam sex industry, regulated brothels in Sydney and Nevada, sex tourism in Asia, the US and European porn industries and the predicted future in those sectors. This chapter will examine the many social, ethical and legal principles that have shaped and will continue to shape this sector.