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Broadw.ai chief expects AI to take centre-stage in re-engaging audiences

Broadw.ai believes AI will take a starring role in live events in the post-COVID era after further developing its engagement tool for theatre fans during the Broadway shutdown.

Micah Hollingworth, co-founder and chief executive of Broadw.ai, an AI platform solution for Broadway shows, told TheTicketingBusiness that the AI tool, now available for iOS users, will help to create a natural transition from fans regularly communicating with their favourite shows during lockdown to a platform that allows clients to translate the data gathered into ticket sales and other merchandise sales.

The firm has built and launched its Apple Business Chat service, which allows iOS users to perform every step in the ticket buying process with ease via iMessage. When fans have a query they will be dropped into iMessage, rather than staying in a webchat frame, which will then add the client to their contact list. This would mean that, for example, the Broadway production of the Phantom of the Opera would be able to communicate with the fan on a personal level and via their preferred channel. It is integrated with the Apple calendar and is connected with Apple Pay and Apple Wallet.

In partnership with parent company Satisfi Labs, the Broadw.ai platform aims to deliver a seamless customer purchasing journey answering complex questions around running times, performance schedules and specific actors, among many other things.

Broadw.ai allows the information and data to be accessed in a conversational format, allowing clients to provide an immediate response, and Hollingworth noted that as theatres have been shut in New York since March 12 due to Covid-19, people have become more engaged with their devices.

Hollingworth said this kind of data gathering and personalisation capabilities gives its clients the “ability to build anticipation and excitement ahead of an event.”

He said he is “really excited” about Broadw.ai’s partnerships with major digital media channels, such as Amazon, Apple, and Google.

“If we can provide our users the ability to work with those major partners on their terms – it is a huge win for our clients who can gain access to nearly all the data of customer decision and payment processes,” Hollingworth added. “They can go to the location where the fans are and personally market to them.”

Hollingworth said he believes AI will be a key tool in the recovery of the live events and ticketing industry when restrictions are lifted, especially for regional theatres with a subscriber base or live events with individual artists playing at a specific venue.

He said: “The pressure and challenge in reopening is reengaging your audience base so that you can be economically viable again, as you’re basically starting from zero. Many of those shows will be marketing to similar if not the exact same audience base.

“How do you specifically target ticket buyers for your event? Use personalisation through your technology and using AI powered tools you can communicate an opportunity to purchase tickets in a seamless way if you know enough about that fan.”

With ongoing uncertainty in the live events sector, and specifically across Broadway, the several changes to how live events run and revision of dates has meant Broadw.ai has experienced “tremendous” volume of questions from fans searching for answers on their preferred channel.

Hollingworth said this uncertainty and ever-changing environment has created “a path forwards for our clients to stick with us,” adding that the more the company and its clients are able to provide information in a quick and accurate manner, customers will remain loyal and be more likely to purchase tickets in the future.

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