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Fringe Fest breaks new ground for 'txt-ertainment'

Fringe Fest breaks new ground for 'txt-ertainment'

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Footnote Dancers, part of the high-flying Footnote Fused show for the New Zealand Fringe Festival 2008

19 February, 2008
Attn: business, technology and arts / entertainment reporters
Fringe Fest breaks new ground for 'txt-ertainment'

The New Zealand Fringe Festival is reporting a very positive response to its trial of text-based services, including Quik Txt 'people-reviews', targeted information and a huge response to a 'secret' high-profile trapeze and dance spectacle.

In a new Fringe initiative, Footnote Fused – a high-flying marriage of circus trapeze and contemporary dance – used a text service to announce the secret locations of the weekly performances. The Fused uptake numbered 50 for the first performance February 8, and now sits at 114 currently for the third and final performance this Friday.

With Fringe 08 now at a halfway stage, festival director Mark Westerby said the text service, developed with Afid Mobile, has been a resounding success with 459 'info-loops' subscribed to. There are seven different loops according to personal preferences.

"At Fringe we're always pushing the boundaries in terms of content, but this is a way in which we've delivered a new service for artists to promote their shows," said Mr Westerby. "We're confident this is a New Zealand first for an event of this magnitude.

"In order for the arts community to continue to flourish we have to embrace new ways of thinking and acting. The Fringe Txt service engages the audience and gives them the power to instantly review shows, get information on the spot – and find out secret stuff!"

Afid Mobile director Richard Hovey said the 'txt-ertainment' project was using new technology in ways not seen before in New Zealand.

"We're big believers that text-messaging is not just about pushing info out to users, but it's also about allowing your users to connect back with you," said Mr Hovey. "The Fringe Txt service has proven without a doubt that audiences want to interact – the comments from the reviews indicate that people certainly want to be heard."

Deirdre Tarrant from Footnote Dance Company said the level of interest in the Footnote Fused secret locations has been impressive.

"Because it's secret and because people have to find out the information, it's really heightened the awareness of the show. The buzz on the streets – the word-of-text – has been amazing," she said.

"It targets the audience that we want – immediate, innovative and connected at the hip to their mobiles. It also knocks out the old problem of remembering the details in the brochure – or leaving the tickets on the fridge – because the information is right there on your mobile. And because it's opt-in, you're not spamming anyone."


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