Journal of Cultural Economics

, Volume 38, Issue 1, pp 1–8 | Cite as

Digital complements or substitutes? A quasi-field experiment from the Royal National Theatre

  • Hasan Bakhshi
  • David Throsby
Original Article


Digital broadcast technologies have expanded the virtual capacity of live performing arts venues, but they have also raised concerns about possible cannibalisation of box office revenues. We report the results of a quasi-field experiment involving the Royal National Theatre’s live broadcasts of theatre to digital cinemas in the UK and find that, if anything, live broadcasts generate greater, not fewer, audiences at the theatre.


Digital technology Theatre Field experiment Cannibalisation 

JEL Classification

Z11 O33 C93 



We thank Albert Bravo-Biosca for valuable suggestions on the estimation and Veronica Meyer for her research assistance. We also acknowledge with gratitude the cooperation of staff at the National Theatre, London, in the conduct of the research on which this paper is based. Nesta funded the research on which this paper is based. All view expressed in this paper are solely those of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Endowment for Science, Technology and the ArtsLondonUK
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsMacquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia

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