Innovative content grows revenue at the National Gallery

Innovative content grows revenue at the National Gallery
Country: United Kingdom
City: London
Institution Type: Art
Exhibition Type: Temporary, Permanent
Content Type: Audio
Players: Downloadable App (iOS), XP-3
Language: English
Client testimonial
We recently extended and updated our foreign language Highlights Tour with the professional support of our partner Antenna International. This enables us to reach a wider proportion of our visitors at a time when our international audiences are growing significantly and further inspires our visitors to engage with our world class collection .
 Julie Molloy, Managing Director, National Gallery Company Ltd.
CLIENT PROFILE
The National Gallery is one of the world’s foremost public collections of Western art, from the Early Renaissance to Impressionism. Over 6 million people visit each year.
Since 1995, Antenna International has provided audio production and equipment for The National Gallery, making them Antenna’s longest standing client in the UK.
CHALLENGE – PROVIDE ENGAGING CONTENT TO DRIVE REVENUE
With over 6 million visitors a year, a vast permanent art collection and ever-changing temporary exhibitions, Antenna provide high calibre services that meet the needs of the National Gallery.
The National Gallery has a long history of striving to appeal to new audiences and to those who would not usually consider visiting a museum displaying old master paintings. Antenna’s challenge was to create tours full of unexpected and engaging connections between the older and newer art forms, and to bring the works of art to life in a completely new way for the National Gallery’s very diverse audiences.
Additionally, Antenna needed to create increased revenue for the National Gallery, to protect existing key programs and to develop new areas of activity.
SOLUTION – PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES
Antenna has constantly pushed the boundaries of interpretation, developing the range of audio tours on offer at The National Gallery to include interview-style content and a mix of contemporary voices including National Gallery staff, art historians and the public.
Antenna provided content for both permanent collection and temporary exhibitions. The permanent collection offers a variety of tours, including Art Detectives for kids. With many of the artworks in the permanent collection on the audio tour, Antenna has also created one of the largest and most comprehensive audio tour productions in the world. The Permanent Collection guide is available in 9 languages.
Antenna supports three to four temporary exhibitions each year, helping visitors to interpret classic and lesser-known works from world renowed artists:
  • Goya, The Portraits
  • Delacroix & The Rise of Modern Art
  • Painters’ Paintings
  • Beyond Caravaggio
  • Australian Impressionists
  • Michelangelo Sebastiano
  • Reflections:Van Eyck & The Pre-Raphaelites and Monochrome: Painting in Black & White
In addition, Antenna created podcasts and downloadable content for the Gallery’s website to keep visitors up to date on events and developments. The audio is a testament to the timeless quality of the productions of Antenna; although much of the audio guide was made a decade ago, it is still as popular and critically acclaimed as it was the day of its release.
Antenna has also created specialized tours for the National Gallery. These include a shortened one-hour tour to meet the demand of visitors who have a limited amount of time, multiple youth-focused tours, British Sign Language Tours, tours for the visually impaired, staffing for all site operations, equipment such as the iOS app, X-plorer players and the temporary exhibition’s Multimedia Guides. 
RESULT - INCREASED REVENUE AND SATISFIED VISITORS
Over the years, The National Gallery has not only received positive feedback from its diverse range of visitors, but it has seen a corresponding increase in revenue as well. Take up of audio guides is high, with temporary shows maintaining a constant 18-22% take-up rate.
Visitor feedback has been very positive:
  • “Very good commentary – really illuminated the pictures” Visitor, 2017
  • “Wonderful and inclusive exhibition.  The commentary really added a special dimension” Visitor 2017
  • "Please indulge yourself with the audio guide; would worth every penny and a must." Visitor, Boston, Massachusetts, 2016
  • "The audio guide is easy to use, very informative and makes navigating through the gallery straightforward." Visitor, London, 2016
  • "My first suggestion is to get an audioguide. The explanations are informative and well thought indeed." Visitor, 2017
  • ”Excellent audio and wonderful variety” Visitor, 2017