Hay Festival's digital strategy needs a reboot

Every year I go to Hay Festival and every year I find myself rubbishing the festival’s digital presence. The conversation typically flows into a comparison with TED. How TED nailed its digital strategy and how more of my friends and colleagues have heard of (and watch) TED as a result of it.

The irony is both TED and Hay are equally inaccessible when it comes to attendance. TED because of the limited ticketing and Hay because it’s in the middle of nowhere.

TED however rectified this problem by creating a good website: curated playlists; the ability to search by topic and theme; by including photography of all the speakers and my personal favourite the playlist generator.

TED festival's talk selector UI

TED have also syndicated their content effectively, providing RSS feeds for all the events and integration with iTunes and Google Play. Hay on the other hand give you just a search bar and and A-Z list of speakers.

Hay is a wonderful festival whose speakers never fail to inspire and amaze me. Tragic then that this content remains locked away due to poor marketing and user experience.

Daniel Bower

Blogging about platform regulation: algorithms, interoperability, kill zones as well as other bits and bobs. Read about my research, or read more about me.