The Royal Albert Hall is a concert hall on the northern edge of South Kensington, London, with a capacity of 5,272 seats. In 1871, its opening year, it staged just 36 shows and now it hosts almost 400 events in the auditorium with many hundreds more hosted around the venue every year. Since 1941 the Royal Albert Hall has held the world famous Proms concerts, an eight-week summer season of daily orchestral classical music concerts with world’s leading orchestras, musicians and conductors.
With an increasing image collection of currently just over 65,000 and thousands of archived photos stored in different locations, organising them in an efficient way for staff to use was a real challenge. The Royal Albert Hall’s marketing team faced the daily frustration of having to find images and provide guidance to the rest of the organisation on which images were suitable to use, without having a central place to refer to or log this key information.
Having tried various tagging and cataloguing tools, the team at the Royal Albert Hall struggled to find a system which really work with them and met their needs. This was best demonstrated in the sheer number of image files being saved locally or on their desktops. At the start of 2014, the marketing team at the Royal Albert Hall made the decision to search for a robust digital asset management solution. Having had several companies pitched to the them, Third Light was chosen as it met all their specific requirements, at a crucial stage of the Royal Albert Hall’s digital transformation journey, the launch of their new website.
Matt Griffin, Senior Digital Manager at The Royal Albert Hall says:
"Third Light ticked every box as far as we were concerned – it offered different access levels for different users, an API which worked with our new CMS, huge storage potential, smart search and simple file sharing amongst other great features."
New website launch
"We were just starting a new website project at the time, so the ability for Third Light’s API to talk to the new site so we could pull any pictures through was very appealing."
"We really liked the look of it as Third Light demonstrated the product to us. It felt intuitive, loaded quickly and its dynamic features were clearly something that would be a game changer for the way we were currently organising files."
With the adoption of Third Light’s digital medial library, the team at the Royal Albert Hall has seen a big increase in productivity by speeding up the process of accessing digital files stored in a centralised system.
As Senior Digital Manager, Matt oversaw the selection and implementation of Third Light which is now used by all staff. New starters are trained in Third Light soon after they join the Hall, allowing everyone to have access to every file that they need and putting an end to people storing hundreds of image files on local drives.
"Before we had Third Light we had daily questions coming in to the Marketing team about specific photos without the knowledge of which photos had been approved for us, which assets we had the rights to use for certain reasons, and even which assets had at some point been vetoed by senior management, all being information that was generally stored in our heads. It wasn’t particularly future-proof."
Increased team collaboration across all departments
The Box Office team uses Third Light to find ‘view from your seat’ pictures to send to customers who are unsure of the view their seats will offer; the hospitality team highlight their preferred food and drink shots; the programming team are able to share assets with external show producers; and the Production & Technical team store all types of pictures showing the state of their equipment over the years.
"Having everything in one easy-to-search place has certainly revolutionised the way we store and share files; it’s much clearer now for all staff about which are the preferred assets for certain projects, and the usage and copyright terms of each asset."
Embracing digital technology to enhance visitor experience
The Hall uses email, social media and online targeting to get relevant information to the right people to enhance their experience both before and after a show. For instance, for many shows they get exclusive photos through from their photographer and email them to the customers who booked tickets to that show via the box office as a ‘thank you’ for coming.
"Given the fact our building is 150 years old, we do as much as we are able to, to enhance the experience. We’ve rolled out wi-fi to all front-of-house areas, installed a screen at our box office which links up to Third Light and our website to provide information of what’s on, and brought a large mural created by Sir Peter Blake to life through an interactive application helping people identify who’s who."
Visitors and stakeholders engage with digital content more effectively
"At the Hall we professionally photograph about 100 events a year here, either in our auditorium or in our smaller event spaces, so being able to clearly organise these images and highlight the strongest ones makes the whole process of getting good shots from our photographers to the eyes of fans of those artists so much easier."
Favourite Third Light features
As an avid user of Third Light, we ask Matt what his favourite Third Light feature is and why:
"It’s about as basic a feature as possible, but I find myself often searching the date to see what’s happened on a particular day in history as it gives us a never-ending well of fascinating archival content to consider for social media posts."
"A quick search for “8 May” just now has given me shots of Laura Mvula (2017), Pavarotti (1995), Cruiserweight boxing (1991), a UoL presentation concert for The Queen Mother (1963) and some angry handwritten correspondence about us hosting concerts on a Sunday dated 8 May 1899! Almost 150 years old but still never a dull day."
How cultural organisations benefit from centralising all digital media files
In March 2018 the UK government published The Culture is Digital report, which highlights how cultural organisations are embracing digital transformation to break down the silos and boost audience engagement.
"I think it’s hugely important that cultural organisations own a digital asset management system that works for them. Without Third Light we simply wouldn’t have the time to put out the breadth of social, email and website content that we do."
"It’s also fascinating to take a look back at assets from specific years to get a snapshot of life as it was then. Having this visual record of the clothes, the shows, the artists and the press clippings can help us see how we as an organisation have fitted in amongst all the cultural change since we opened."
For brands and organisations interested in investing in a digital media library, Third Light offers a free 30-day fully featured trial at www.thirdlight.com/trial, or to talk to us about a guided tour, just firstname.lastname@example.org.