The UK’s two leading titles devoted specifically to theatre – Theatregoer and Whatsonstage.com – will now be merged under one umbrella to create a theatrical media company with unparalleled reach both in print and online. The titles will retain their individual brand identities but will be published in close collaboration to provide the widest and most in-depth source of UK theatre content available to consumers.
Under Bandwidth’s ownership, Theatregoer is being redesigned and will be relaunched this summer. Currently a paid-for title bundled with show programmes in Really Useful Theatres, from June 2005, the new-look magazine will be distributed free via dispensers in participating venues (currently 14 West End theatres), as well as more than 250 London hotels and selected private members’ clubs.
In future, the two publications will also jointly run the annual Theatregoers' Choice Awards. Now in their fifth year, the Theatregoers’ Choice Awards are the only major theatre awards voted for solely by the paying audience. This year, more than 12,000 theatregoers took part in the judging process.
Commenting on the merger, Theatregoer founder Madeleine Lloyd Webber said: “I launched Theatregoer in October 2000 for two main reasons. First, to improve the value and quality of theatre programmes in the West End - which, I’m pleased to note, has now come to pass. And second, simply because there was no major print magazine dedicated to theatre. I’ve always thought of Whatsonstage.com as providing an ideal online fit in terms of both informing audiences and supporting the theatre industry so I’m delighted now to see the two titles brought together in this merger. I’m especially pleased to know that, in its new independent future, all theatregoers who visit a participating theatre, rather than programme buyers alone, will be able to receive a copy free of charge.”
Bandwidth Communications managing director David Dobson added: “About the time we took over Whatsonstage.com, Really Useful Group was launching Theatregoer. In the intervening years, both have grown and developed into very strong, focussed businesses. It’s wonderful, and it seems exactly the right moment, to now combine the two into an even more powerful whole that reaches more theatregoers per month than any other media company. Together, we’re looking forward to a very exciting future.”
For more information about the merger, click here.