Who reads The Producer’s Perspective? Survey says . . .

Thanks to everyone who took last week’s Producer’s Perspective survey!  And now, it’s time for the results!  Just who is reading what you’re reading right now?

I’ve posted some of the data that I thought you’d get a kick-line out of below.  Oh, and I may have tossed in a comment or two amidst the data (are you surprised?) so bear with me.  For those chess nerds players out there, if I was shocked by a stat, I used the chess notation for suprise (!).


55.38% Male
44.62% Female


18.33%  19-25
13.35%  26-30
18.33%  31-40
17.13%  41-50
18.33%  51-60
7.57%  61+
6.97% Under 18.

I was excited to see that almost 57% of you, a definite mandate, are under the age of 40.


91.43% of you are in the US

The top two countries outside the US that have PP readers are Canada and Australia (which has 3x the number of readers as the UK.  Was it something I said, Great Britain?).

In this country, the top five states are:

44.4% NY
5.72% CA
7.78% NJ
2.90% IL
2.52% FL (!)

No CT?  And where are my fellow Red Sox fans from MA?


72.43% of you work in the “biz” in the following capacities:

24.70%  Producer
24.10%  Theater Admin
17.13%  Performer (!)
14.94%  Writer
14.54%  Director/Choreographer

I was thrilled to see the performer #s as high as they are because I love it when artists get more involved in the business of what we do . . . and I think all of us business peeps should take more time to learn more about what it’s like to be an artist.  Understanding each other and where we come from helps prevent conflicts.


28.29%  Friend
23.31%  Search

Once again, Word-of-Mouth is King, with Google as its Queen.  These two elements could be the foundation of 100 different ad campaigns for products of all shapes and sizes.


You like when I talk about Producing, Marketing and insidery information.  A bunch of you are peeved at the Giveaways because the prizes are generally only for the 44% of you that live in NY.  So, point taken.  We’ll look for some globally appropriate giveaway gifts in the coming weeks.

As I did the first time I surveyed my readers a couple of years ago, I learned a ton by asking you all these 10 or so questions.  Your feedback will be ringing in my ears every night as I write, and I’ll try to make the blog a better place, for you and me (cue this song).

But USA for Africa aside, feedback loops are an essential part of the development of any product that changes over time and depends on new customers every day . . . and surprise, surprise, I’m talking about theater.

If you don’t have a system to take surveys set up for whatever it is you are producing, take the time to do it today.  The quicker you start learning what your customers like and most importantly what your customers don’t like, the quicker you can actually get more customers.

Here are two survey companies I recommend:



Survey Monkey

Thanks again, everyone!


(Got a comment?  I love ’em, so comment below!  Email subscribers, click here, then scroll down, to say what’s on your mind!)



– Enter to win 2 tickets to The Illusion Off-Broadway!  Click here.

– Seminars in Chicago, the weekend of July 9th.  Click here!


Favorite Quotes Vol. XXIX: What does Microsoft have to do with us?

Poor Microsoft.  They just can’t seem to do anything right these days.

Actually, that’s not true.  They just can’t seem to do anything first these days.

CNN had a great piece on the fall of Microsoft last week, and believe it or not, I found it relevant to Broadway.  The article described how this monster of a company, that led the charge into the computer age, has since fallen to the back of the pack, while their old competitor, Apple (whom they had previously easily bested), and their new competitor Google, jumped out in front.

Microsoft is getting beaten in search, in tablet computing, and, mark my words, Microsoft Office lovers, they will soon be beaten in software, when cloud office docs take off (my office recently dropped Outlook for Google Apps Gmail, and while it may not be the exact same experience, it’s free, it’s updated constantly, and it takes up no space on my servers.  That’s 10 versions of Outlook right there . . . in one office.).

When asked why she thought Microsoft had fallen back, Analyst Laura DiDio gave us this gem . . .

In this age, the race really is to the swift. You cannot afford to be an hour late or a dollar short.

Now, I’m not sure about the dollar part.  I think a lot can be done with less in 2010 than twenty years ago, as long as you can make up for the cash in creativity.

But I do think Laura is so right on the moolah with the first part of her statement.  Because of the speed that modern technology allows, it’s more imperative than ever that if you have a great idea for a piece of software or for a TV series or a new private sale solution for Off-Broadway shows (!), you act on it right away, before some else does.

Don’t sacrifice quality, however.  You know what happened to Friendster when they jumped out too fast. (And if you don’t know what Friendster is, I’ve proved my point).

Complacent companies (Microsoft) and industries (Broadway) can no longer sit back and let the customers come to them.

The information age affords us the opportunity to be faster than ever before.

And if we don’t take that opp, someone else will.



How to make money on YouTube . . . with Broadway?

An interesting article appeared in the technology section of The Times this week about YouTube, and how Google expects their 1.65 billion dollar baby to be profitable this year.


Well, they made friends with the enemy.

The TV and film industries have been fighting with YouTube since the site came out.  As fast as videos of copyrighted material could go up, another lawsuit would be filed.  Google claimed innocence (!), but eventually agreed to police their backyard as much as possible.

Well, those bitter enemy industries are now the closest of friends.


Like just about everything else, it’s all about money.

The TV and movie producers realized that trying to stop the uploading of their content to a site like YouTube was pointless.  It was gonna keep happening anyway, so why pay those lawyers to keep fighting it.  They also realized that a lot of those clips were doing a lot more good than harm, by providing free media to promote their products.

And most importantly, Google started running ads on their copyrighted videos, and sharing the proceeds.

Suddenly, the lawsuits stopped.

Funny, how a little cash calms the nerves.

So, let’s recap:

Fans put up copyrighted videos.  They get pulled down.  Google pays owners of material, and all is ok.

Huh.  The first two-thirds of that three sentence story sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

Think YouTube would ever pay off the owners of the material of Broadway shows by sharing in ad revenue that appears on each clip?

And would that make it ok?

Unlike film or TV, we’ve got quality issues to deal with.  A performance of Mad Men is always the same, no matter how many times it is played.  A performance of Patti Lupone doing Gypsy . . . well, one performance might be HUGELY different from the next.

I don’t expect YouTube to open its purse to Broadway any time soon, but it would be nice, wouldn’t it?  Because as our costs escalate, it is becoming more and more essential that Broadway shows find ancillary forms of revenue to defray those rising expenses.

Read the article here.

“When I say Broadway, you say . . .” Survey Results revealed.

My staffers and I got into a discussion last week about what the word ‘Broadway’ meant to our ticket buyers.  What sort of images did it conjure?  What did they associate with it?  In other words . . . what did the brand of Broadway actually mean?

We decided to find out.

I sent a couple of my loyal staff members (and the ones with the warmest coats) to the TKTS booth to ask 100 female theatergoers the following question (we asked only females because they drive the majority of the ticket purchases):

“What is the first word that comes to your mind when I say the word . . . Broadway?”

Below is a list of the responses (only responses given by more than one person are listed):

Shows 15%
Plays 9%
Musicals 8%
New York 8%
Music 6%
Dancing 5%
Wicked 5%
Fun 4%
Singing 4%
Lights 3%
Theater 3%
Chicago 2%
Crowds 2%
Fabulous 2%
Lion King 2%

Pretty interesting, huh?

Kudos to the three shows that got on this list.  When your show equals Broadway, you’re doing pretty well.  The other good news is what was NOT on this list: expensive, uncomfortable seats, etc.  Actually, only one person out of the hundred associated the word Broadway with “expensive,” and that one comment was the only negative word associated with Broadway in the survey.

Since we found this information to be so valuable, and since my staffers’ coats were really warm, we decided to ask another question in the same style, to the same people.  Ready?  Here goes:

“What is the first word that comes to your mind when I say the word . . . Off-Broadway?”

Below is a list of their responses:

Plays 12%
Don’t Know 9%
Cheap 6%
Not as fun 6%
Theater 4%
Altar Boyz 3%
Fun 3%
New York 3%
Shows 3%
Small 3%
Avenue Q 2%
Comedy 2%
Dancing 2%
More shows 2%
Shoes 2%

Pretty scary, huh?

9% of the individuals surveyed couldn’t even come up with a word to describe Off-Broadway!  And not only were there negative associations in this top group, as opposed to Broadway’s survey which had only positive, but these negatives continued on with the rest of the sample.  Words like “sad” and “meh” and “wannabes” were amongst the single responses we recorded.  In total, over 30% of the people surveyed had a negative first thought about Off-Broadway.  (For those of you who think we misspelled “shows” and put “shoes” instead, unfortunately, you’re wrong. Google Off-Broadway.  The second search result is the reason why 2% of our survey said shoes.)

The takeaway from this survey is pretty obvious: Broadway’s brand is healthy and positive, while Off-Broadway’s image is damaged . . . kind of like Martha Stewart when she went away to prison.

But Martha came back . . . and so can Off-Broadway.  It’s just not going to happen on its own.

A model for the rebranding of Off-Broadway tomorrow . . .

What is the first word YOU think of when you hear Broadway?  Off-Broadway?  Comment below.

(Special thanks to Lindsey and Ashley for braving the elements for this sake of this study.

10 Simple Steps To Start Internet Marketing Your Show.

You’re probably smart enough to know that the internet is where you’re supposed to be if you’re trying to market your show.

But are you smart enough to have started?

If you are one of those Producers or Playwrights who always meant to get around to understanding the internet but haven’t quite got around to it, don’t worry, you’re not alone.  I know a bunch of players in the Broadway arena who still haven’t picked up the ball yet.  

To help you get into the game, I consulted with my web-guru, Jamie Lynn Ballard (who makes all of my sites so pretty), and we came up with the following 10 Simple Steps to Start Internet Marketing Your Show.  These tips work for Broadway shows, Off-Broadway show, Off-Off Broadway shows and everything in between.  In fact, this list is even more helpful for the smaller shows.  Apply the majority of these tips and you can make your show seem a lot bigger than it is.

Ready?  Here we go.


10 Simple Ways to Start Internet Marketing Your Show

1. Buy Your Domain Name

You’ve heard me say this before, but this is the most important thing you can do when you start plans for a show.  As soon as you have an idea, make sure you snatch up the domain, because if you don’t, someone else will.  Use a site like GoDaddy that sells domains and hosts websites, so you can buy and build in the same place.  And get a starter site for your show up as fast as you can.  It doesn’t matter if you don’t have all the relevant info yet.  The sooner you can put up your site, the sooner it will show up in search engines, and that means free traffic.   

2.  Know SEO

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is one of the most important things you can learn about internet marketing.  Do it right, and you’ll stand out like Gulliver in the land of Lilliput.  Ignore it, and you’ll fall to the bottom of the web sea.  What you should know is that as technical as it sounds (why are all acronyms scary?), there are basic strategies that are very simple, so don’t be scared.  Pick up a book and get started.  

3.  Build Your List

I’ve spoken on three internet marketing panels in the last six months and in the wrap up section one panelist always said, “The most important thing a web marketer can do is increase the quantity and the quality of his/her opt-in list.”  Email Marketing allows you to build relationships with fans, promote your show, sell tickets and more.  Put a sign-up box on your website to collect email addresses, and send occasional emails to your list with information and updates about your show to keep them engaged.  Use a company like Benchmark to make it easier for you (Constant Contact is so 2005).  It seems so old school, I know, because this is what internet marketers were telling everyone ten years ago, but let me tell you first hand, that an effective marketing email blast is one of the most important tools you have in your show’s marketing tool box.

4.  Invest in PPC

PPC, or Pay-Per-Click Advertising, is one of the most economical and low-risk ways for you to reach customers.  If you aren’t yet ranking high in Google organic search results (and even if you are), pay-per-click advertising gives you a way to appear alongside the sites that are.  Don’t have a lot of cash to spend?  Don’t worry, Google Adwords and other PPCers let you set a cap on how much you want to spend per day.  Tip:  PPC works best when you have a very specific target demographic (e.g. bachelorette parties for The Awesome 80s Prom).  PPC can get pretty involved when you start talking Quality Scores, etc., but it’s worth learning, because it can put butts in the seats and bucks in the box office fast.

5.  Be Social.

Create profiles for your show on social networking sites, like BroadwaySpace, Facebook, and Youtube (if you have video content). Your presence on social media sites may or may not help you sell tickets right away, but if that’s where your audience hangs out, your show should, too.  Make sure you keep these sites filled with content.  No one likes an outdated social networking page.  It’s like the guy on your block who never cuts his lawn.

6.  Tie Your Sites Together With Twitter.  

Twitter is the twine of social media.  By using this microblogging site you can quickly communicate with all your fans.  You can also find new ones by prowling the Twitterverse searching for keywords that fit your show (doing Romeo and Juliet? Look for people tweeting “Shakespeare”).  Once you have them in your world, use Twitter to point people to your website, social networking pages, or blog posts.

7. Blog

In addition to providing you with another channel to interact with your audience, blogs are search engine magnets.  Pick a topic, sign up to a blog site like Typepad, and start blogging.  Keep SEO strategies in mind as you go.  Oh, and remember one thing.  Before you start, eat your fiber.  Your blog doesn’t have to be updated hourly or daily, but it does have to be regular.  Think of it like a daytime talk show.  Every day, same time, same network . . . yours.

8.  Be Your Own Press Agent.

Write and publish articles and press releases about your own shows.  Publish your stuff with sites like GoArticles or EzineArticles, and take it to the next level with a site like PRWEB.  PRWEB allows you to submit your news releases to search engines, news sites, content syndicators, and RSS feeds.  This is one of the fastest ways to increase incoming links (or ‘link population’), which will improve your credibility with the search engines.

9.  Analyze This!

The #1 rule of marketing is to test and then test again.  Just like in grade school, you didn’t know how you were doing until you saw your report card, right?  Get your web report card by signing up for Google Analytics.  Analytics is a free service that allows you to track and analyze your web traffic so that you can judge the effectiveness of your marketing initiatives and understand how visitors found you, what they like about your site, what they don’t like about your site, and what you can do to keep them coming back.  If you’re not looking at your metrics, it’s like going through school without ever knowing if you passed or failed.  You can’t get better without someone telling you how you’re doing.  Let Google school you.

10.  Be Submissive.

Search engines can be old-fashioned, and sometimes they like a formal introduction. If you’ve got a new site, take the time to submit it to search engines.  Hit the major ones (Google, Yahoo, MSN, etc.), of course, but take the time to look for specialized link directories and niche sites to submit your website for indexing.


For specific tips on starting a theater blog, click here.