SWOT analysis of the English National Opera STRENGTHS The product is definite. Although there are many different titles of shows and ways of performing Opera, on the whole the customer knows, when attending a performance, what to expect. Accessibility is improving. Through recent more widespread distribution of Videos/DVDs and CDs - in well known music stores. Also through Touring and Open-air Opera and to some extent educational workshops and talks, the English National Opera (ENO) has improved accessibility socially, geographically and physically. On a social level, Opera can be taken to the people, giving it a new and more innovative image therefore creating interest throughout a more widespread number and class of people.
Thus allowing Opera attendees to begin to be stereotyped in a different way, which in itself improves accessibility to those who believed they simply were not of a high enough class to attend Opera. On a geographical level, people no longer need to travel to the only venue of the ENO - The London Coliseum, and on a physical level, the new Coliseum has full disability access and also have improved orchestra pit and stage doors from the workshop, allowing even more fantastic set designs to be constructed. Offer a varied range of performances all year round. The ENO have a full schedule of shows throughout the season. John Nelson, a board member said that this is a very positive thing as if there is a regular turnover of performances and events people can get into the habit of attending'.
Communication links between interested parties are solid. Within the Opera 'circle' communication is frequent. The ENO has a long list of 'friends' and mailing recipients with whom there is frequent contact and updates about events, up and coming performances and invitations to preview nights, the opinions surveys regarding all aspects of the ENO are often posted to the 'Friends of the ENO'. This regular contact makes people feel as if they are involved and play a role in the success of the Opera House. Price elasticity.
Seat prices vary greatly so that more people can afford to attend the Opera. Typically those from social classes A and B attended the Opera, and this was partly to do with the cost of tickets. The ENO have made an effort to change this and have introduced more variable ticket pricing. For example, new for 2004, 500 seats at lb 10 and under for all weekday performances. Regular attendees see Opera as high value. Those willing to pay higher prices are those who are regular attendees, usually 'friends of the ENO'.
The ENO have secured this market for the higher ticket prices, these are the tickets they make more profit from. These people are those that see Opera as high value and therefore are generally willing to pay higher prices. Low turnover of main staff body. ENO is a large Opera Company; therefore they do have many full-time positions.
Examples of these are, administration, box office, personnel, press, marketing, management, education and design are all full time positions that are filled by one or more members of staff. They also have full-time employees for the principal roles. Part-time employees include the chorus and orchestra. Because these people have a high interest in Opera, they are loyal to their employer and changes of employees are minimal. The management structure is strong and respected. The ENO is directed by a board.
It works in a hierarchy of department managers and employees. 'Many of the individuals who work for the ENO have an interest in Opera', John Nelson, they are all working to a similar goal and there is a great deal of respect for the company within the company. Expertise among employees is high and many employees attend training courses in management. Most of the employees from nearer the top of the hierarchy are graduates or have years of experience. Motivation is high. Employees and directors have a shared interest in Opera and its future so motivation to fulfil their mission 'to produce the best of opera for the widest range of people at affordable prices' and to fulfil their 'national role to nurture the best of English opera and to develop the best British practitioners.' Recent building improvements.
New for 2004 the Coliseum has been fully restored - according to Richard Morris or The Times, 'THOUSANDS will buy an ENO ticket in the new year just to gawp at Frank Matcham's restored masterpiece - London Coliseum - glinting as brightly in 2004 as it did when it first dazzled London in 1904.' Good reputation. ENO has worked hard to sustain its reputation as a Britain's best Opera Company. Distribution channels are broadening. This is due to recent up scaling in its production of CDs, Videos, DVDs, Touring and Open-air Theatre and educational workshops. WEAKNESSES Geographical accessibility. Despite the introduction of Touring Opera in 2001, ENO only have one venue.
This makes it very difficult for people from outside the area to attend the Opera House - something which they may be more attracted to than seeing touring Opera in a local less 'grand' venue. Marketing is passive. Its promotion occurs mainly through mailing lists to already interested parties, or marketing directly from the venue (in the form of posters and a plasma screen) and on the website - all places that an individual would have to purposely look at. This type of marketing to interested parties only does not reach other potential customers.
More expensive form of entertainment. Opera is more expensive than many other forms of popular entertainment, i. e. Cinema. This is mainly because the cost of producing and maintaining Opera is higher and because interest in Opera is lower than other entertainment forms, therefore ticket prices have to be raised to allow for a lower loss is sales are low.
New pieces of Opera are rare. Because there is not a huge market for Opera innovation in new works is rare. Writers tend to rewrite pieces more than write a completely new piece. On the whole ENO tries to produce as many different titles as possible however they tend to produce some of 'the old favourites' each season, by doing so they can be almost certain that a good income can be produced. High turnover of part time, non-specialist staff.
For example, bar staff and ushers. The ENO spend 'too much of our time' recruiting and training these staff. Heavy reliance of money from the outside. ENO rely heavily on donations from individuals, corporate giving and sponsorship and support from trusts and foundations (only 28% of income is generated through the box office). Interest in supporting the ENO through sponsorship is dwindling.
Because Opera does not attract a huge variation on audiences the ENO are finding it increasingly difficult to attract sponsors. However, they are hopeful that with the renovations to the Coliseum things will change. Expense of producing Opera. Traditionally Opera was seen as very 'grand' and this is an image that it is proud of and wants to keep up. People expect to see this when attending an Opera performance, without it there would be another reason for audience numbers to dwindle, therefore the rising costs of set design is a difficult problem to tackle. Weak position in the market.
There are lots of other choices of entertainment. Recently people have tended to favour more technologically advanced forms of entertainment and entertainment that people can indulge in, in their homes. Also the up-rise of music venues, which is more fashionable, has not helped the market position of Opera. Only interested parties are aware of the strengths of the ENO. Although ENO has a good reputation, image and relatively good financial turnover compared other Opera Companies in Britain, only people with an interest in it know this. OPPORTUNITIES Advances in technology.
Technology has already created opportunities for the ENO, i. e. website, open-air theatre etc. However, it could create more innovation in Opera, which may increase interest in a society in which technologically advanced entertainment systems have replaced more traditional forms of entertainment. More innovative ways of presenting Opera. The interest in new ventures, if pursued fully has and could created further opportunity for increased profits.
For example only one performance of Open-air theatre has been tried so far, and the audience attracted was in the low thousands. If this was pursued further, this could prove to attract the highest audience figures overall. Increased amount of disposable income. People have more disposable income, ENO need to pursue this opportunity and attract this increase in disposable income. Marketing - ENO needs to become a promoter. The ENO need to market their company to people who do not have an already vested interest.
For example, mail dropping, advertising special offers in places other than the venue or taking free performances to areas that have a lower amount of Opera attendees. Education. Although the ENO offer educational talks and workshops, they are only offered within the building i. e.
people have to travel to them, they should travel to the people to offer education in their surroundings, this may familiaris e the people more with Opera by taking it to their level. THREATS Technology. Societies increasing thirst for perusing its advances threatens the traditional and less technical offerings of the Opera. Failure to attract audiences through renovation attempts.
If the ENOs recent revamp of their venue doesn't pay off, they will be left with huge debts. Therefore there is an even greater need for then to take advantage of the opportunities that may help to boost income. Reduction in government funding. Due to the increasing diversity and number of other Art forms in need of support and the 'excessive amount upon which Opera Companies have begun to rely on government subsidy' (Arts Council), the government has reduced it funding for Opera Companies.
Although the ENOs funding has seen less of a cut than others, it has still been reduced. Growing statutory responsibilities of local authorities. Increased responsibility to finance other areas of local interest means the local authority has almost halved its financial support for the ENO in the last six years. Expensive legalities related to producing Opera. The increasing costs of insurance and applying to health and safety regulations is a threat to the future of the ENO.
Bibliography Arts Council England (2002), web UK: The National Lottery Commission Davies, Anita (2003), OPERA Cultural Trends. UK: Policy Studies Institute English National Opera (2001), web UK: EmapdigitalThanks to-John Nelson, member of the Board of Directors of the English National Opera Company.