One of the benefits of the Annual Broadway League meeting held every December is that you get to pick up your glossy copy of the Broadway Audience Demographic Study.
This study is one of the most valuable pieces of information that a Broadway Producer can have. If you want a show to be commercially successful, you have to understand who your natural audience is. Why sure, you can push and stretch that audience with the right show, but it’s still imperative that you know who is naturally inclined to buy a theater ticket before you even dream about your show opening on Broadway.
The actual study is over 60 pages long and it’s chock full of all sorts of info, graphs and data about how people get to the theater (subway for NYC residents, car for surbanites), when they purchase their tickets, and more. I’d suggest you pick up the full report from the league when it is available. You will be able to get it here.
In the meantime, I’ll tease you with the Executive Summary:
- In the 2010-2011 season, approximately 62% of all Broadway tickets were purchased by tourists.
- 65% of the the audiences were female.
- The average age of the Broadway theatergoer was 44 years.
- 83% of all tickets were purchased by Caucasian theatergoers.
- Broadway theatergoers were also quite affluent compared to the general United States population, reporting an average annual household income of $244,100.
- Broadway theatergoers were a very well-educated group. Of theatergoers over 25 years old, 78% had complete college and 39% had earned a graduate degree.
- The average Broadway theatergoer reported attending 5 shows in the previous 12 months. The group of devoted fans who attended 15 or more performances comprised only 6% of the audience but accounted for 33% of all tickets (4.1 million admissions).
- Playgoers tended to be more frequent theatergoers than musical attendees. The typical straight play attendee saw eight shows in the past year; the musical attendee, five.
- The use of the Internet to purchase tickets has been steadily increasing. In this season, 44% of respondents said they bought their tickets online.
- 35% of respondents reported having purchased their tickets more than one month prior to the show.
- The most popular sources for theatre information were Broadway.com, The New York Times and word-of-mouth.
- Word-of-mouth was by far the most influential factor in show selection.
- In general, advertisements were not reported to have been influential in making the purchasing decision.
- 74% of the Broadway audience said that some kind of incentive (discounts, freebies, add-ons) would encourage them to attend shows more often.
So there you have it. The 2010-11 Broadway audience, whether we like it or not. (I especially dislike bullet point #4. The good news is that there are some cool League programs designed to diversify our audience, expanding it at the same time.)
Do with this info as you will.
Just do me one favor. Don’t complain about it. If you don’t like it, do something to change it.
(Got a comment? I love ‘em, so comment below! Email subscribers, click here, then scroll down, to say what’s on your mind!)
If you’re looking for more “economic” information about Broadway and how the demographics work with the dollars, check out this book: Stage Money: The Business of the Professional Theatre. It’s one of my favorites and I highly recommend it.
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