Bloomberg News broke a big biz story today about BroadwayBox, the online discount farm that Broadway buyers love . . . and most Producers love/hate.  (I affectionately call BroadwayBox, the Walmart of Broadway Shows.)

See, in a lot of the research I’ve done, I’ve found that buyers don’t use The Box as a browsing guide.  They use it when they know what show they want to see.  One focus group participant said, “I have BroadwayBox on my favorites.  When my wife tells me to get tickets to a show, I go there first.  And I save money.”

So, if it didn’t exist, that show would have had a shot to get full price, right?  I mean, when the wife wants something, you get it.

Now you see the “hate” side of the love/hate.

At the same time, The Box sells a lot of tickets to a lot of shows . . . some that maybe consumers wouldn’t have paid full price for in the first place.  “I’ll go see if I can get a discount.  If I can find one, I’ll go.  If not, forget it.”  A discount is an insurance policy for some.  A reason to risk if they haven’t heard what they want to hear about a show before buying.

Now you see the “love.”

Well all that may be changing because in another awesomely aggressive acquisition Broadway Across America, who recently acquired Broadway.com and then recently acquired Group Sales Box Office, has now acquired BroadwayBox.

What will they do with it?

That’s the question that everyone’s asking.  Will they run it as is (with a newly revised site)?  A lot of cash is made selling email blasts to Producers and through online affiliate commissions thanks to its tremendous organic search rankings.  Or, is more cash made by Broadway.com’s service fees, and will they just push the traffic to Broadway.com?  (And would that help the business by removing the major supplier of online discounts?  If the guy mentioned above couldn’t find BroadwayBox anymore, would he buy full price tickets?)

I doubt the site will disappear, but whatever happens, the discounting game is guaranteed to change.  And I bet it’ll be for the better.

 

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8 Responses to Game changer alert: BroadwayBox gets bought.

  1. Jeff says:

    There is a huge difference between knowing what show I want to see, and paying full price for that show, though. Living in NYC, it is a numbers game. I can see less shows at full price, or more shows at a discount. When you look at it that way, guess which one I pick?

    I know I plan to see Once on March 23 at 2 p.m. I also know their current BroadwayBox discounts end earlier in March. I have the Once page on BroadwayBox bookmarked to keep checking it. If the discounts extend, I’ll see Once. If they don’t, I’ll hesitate more, and consider other shows with discounts, especially since I’m buying multiple tickets.

  2. Jim Stevens says:

    I use BroadwayBox, as well as Playbill, other discounters, rush and lottery because I only get to the city a few times a year and try to squeeze in as many shows as possible. For instance, just got back from a trip where I saw “The Other Place,’ “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” “The Heiress” and “Picnic” for a grand total of $176. Yes, all discount codes, rush and nosebleed seats, but it’s the only way I can afford to see so much.

  3. Mark says:

    As an out-of-town theatre-goer, I use BroadwayBox quite often. It allows me to access significant discounts on dates that I select, rather than waiting at TKTS and hoping shows I’d like to see have availability. For example, for some weeks I’ve been looking for a discount to a particular show that rhymes with “Slinky Toots” knowing I’ll be in the city in mid-March. A code ran today on BroadwayBox and I leapt at the chance to purchase a ticket. Without the code, it’s unlikely that I would have been able to purchase a discounted ticket.

  4. Sue says:

    I had never heard of BroadwayBox (thanks!). That being said, I usually buy premium tickets since hubby requires an aisle seat in the orchestra. If I can wait until the last minute, I’ll buy full-price tickets as show date approaches and premium prices are lowered.
    Can’t wait to see what Broadway Across America does with their new toy.

  5. Casey says:

    Please forgive me for being behind in the times. I’ve never heard of it. I might just use it.

  6. Judith P. says:

    I believe BroadwayBox.com was the most reliable and caring provider of discounted tickets. Their site was a pleasure to look at.
    The personal touch in catering to their loyal or new customers, the wide range of entertainment oportunities BroadwayBox.com offered, made New York more attractive and most affordable for thousands of theater lovers.
    I will miss them.
    I hope the new “entity” will preserve and follow the BroadwayBox.com tradition, providing the same quality of service to NewYorkers and out-of-town customers.
    Good Luck!
    Judith

  7. Eric G. says:

    You’ve got three groups of consumers using BroadwayBox.

    1) People with more money than time, i.e. Tourists. For this group, producers lose out.

    2) People with a fixed but nontrivial theater budget, i.e. Enthusiasts. For this group, BroadwayBox is revenue-neutral, because they will spread the same dollars over more shows. On the plus side, however, more volume is a positive thing in and of itself.

    3) People with a small theater budget, i.e. Normals. For this group BroadwayBox is all to the producers benefit, since they would not attend at all without the discounts.

    The tourist dollar is intrinsically less valuable than the local dollar, because tourists are less willing to experiment. Therefore the shows that are penalized most by BroadwayBox are the ones that are least valuable in the long-term health of New York theater.

  8. Andrew says:

    This aquisition could go either way as a benefit to ticket buyers. I worry that there are fewer competetors selling tickets. In a few cases, the producer of a Broadway show could also be the discount seller 9broadwaybox), regular price seller, promoter (broadway.com), and tour producer (broadwayacrossamerica). Guess who wins?

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