French theatres to introduce advertising

17 venues across France will now show adverts that could reach around 2 million spectators a year

20 July 2017
By Carmen Cracknell

Performers must now wait in the wings while up to four minutes of adverts play out.

Several theatres in Paris, Marseille, Avignon, La Rochelle and Rouen will introduce advertising before performances from September.

Until now, advertising in theatres has been avoided. The concept was tried before in a basic form, with adverts painted on to a curtain or a wooden box. Now, theatre advertising will now go high tech, with a projector imposing images on to a screen lowered in front of the curtain.

Luxury brands, banks and car manufacturers will be among the advertisers. The move was considered as necessary to generate much needed revenue for small theatres.

A maximum of four adverts and two trailers will be shown, totalling four minutes at most.

The concept is to be tried in small theatres staging comedies and stand-up. Among them are three theatres in Paris, the Gymnase which holds 1000 people and the Apollo, which has 770 seats, and the Alambic, which holds just 80 people. 

Advertising agency ODW Régie is managing the project. Aware that people may be hostile to adverts intruding into their viewing experience, ODW director Andréas Georgiou said: “We don’t want to interrupt the show or ruin people’s enjoyment of the performance. The screen will be made to measure, and placed in front of the curtain. It will go up and down depending on the scene, and will be easy to operate”.

The agency is hoping to expand theatre advertising. Their website states that they hope to take the model for advertising used in cinemas and apply it to theatres.

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