Breaking news: I just bought a copy of the New York Times.

I wanted to get a print copy of yesterday’s Avenue Q review so that our street team sellers could use it to show potential customers how timely the show is.

It cost me $2.

I literally said to the Newsstand Man, “Well, I’m never going to buy another copy of this paper again.”

According to HuffPo, the price of the paper has doubled in less than 2 years in an effort to make up some of the difference in the loss of advertising revenue and loss of readers.

Let me state the obvious:

Raising your prices to make up for a shortage in customers and/or an increase in expenses is never wise.

You want to raise your prices?  You better increase your value.

This message goes out to the NY Times . . . and to our industry as well.

Slowly but surely, we’ve been doing the same thing.  Grosses going up.  Attendance going down.

Let’s just pray that we don’t reach a point where a former loyal customer says, “Well, I’m never going to buy another ticket again.”

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Producer’s Perspective Trivia:  Can you tell me why this picture is relevant to this entry?

  • Steven says:

    Hasn’t that point already been reached? My partner and I used to make the trek from Chicago to NYC, take in 3-4 shows, but not so much lately because tickets are just too expensive now. I was so excited about the upcoming “A Little Night Music” revival… until I saw how much they’re charging for tickets. Ticket price is probably the main reason I’ve skipped some recent Broadway shows i really wanted to see.

  • Erika says:

    “I want my two dollars!”

  • Andy says:

    That Paperboy is from Better Off Dead. He haunts John Cusack threatening “I want my two dollars…” for the newspaper.

  • Richard says:

    Isn’t that the way it works with taxes? The municipality has a certain amount it has committed to spending, so if revenue from business activity declines, well, let’s tax the people who are now unemployed, earning lower bonuses, and less on their investments!
    That’s what I call screwball economics.

  • WendyWriter says:

    Over the years, the percentage of shows that I see on Broadway has gotten smaller and smaller. For the full-price ticket of Night Music, you can get a subscription to the Pearl or the Signature or a few other Off-Broadway theatres. And Off-Off-Broadway has a lot to offer too. I enjoyed Lizzie Borden as much as I’ve enjoyed most Broadway shows I’ve seen recently!
    Losing me as a Broadway audience member is losing a lot. I average over 60 plays a year.

  • CLJ says:

    When you compar the cost of things from thirty years ago to now, an increase from a couple of coins to a couple of dollars isn’t so extreme. Paperback books have gone from 1.75 to 7.99 in the same time frame. Compare ticket prices now to ticket prices then; the rise is similar; in fact, I’m pretty sure that ticket prices have risen much higher.
    The difference is that ticket prices have been incrementally increasing all along. If the TIMES had been increasing their price by a nickel or so every five years, no one would say “boo” about it. They failed to take action when cover price revenue dropped because they more than made up for it in advertising revenue.
    A few years ago, I worked for a theatre that didn’t catch a drop in subsciber revenue because single-ticket sales had gone up. And that’s all well and good, but subscribers are regional theatre’s meat and potatoes.
    The real lesson here: the breakdown of revenue streams needs to remain balanced. You can’t count on a te,mporary increase in one stream to offset a trending drop in another.

  • Nick says:

    As a long time subscriber of The New York Times, what annoys me most about their price increases is that their content has decreased (despite their claims that content won’t be affected by their redesigns.) The sports section and “city” section are buried, and even the arts coverage has been cut back in many ways. Pretty soon, no one will be reading the Times, either in print or online.

  • Kerr Lockhart says:

    I agree with Steven. I haven’t seen a play in New York that excited me in ten years–at least not worth the drive in, the parking, the cost of the restaurant, the schlepping around in bad weather. (For the record, the last thing to make me weep, shout and be moved in the theater was LION KING in 1998.) Until around 2002, I came to the theater 1-2 times per month.
    With interchangeable players in interchangeable plays, there is nothing unique or exciting in New York; just reworkings of previous accomplishments.
    I am sorry for you as a young producer, but something seriously new and different is going to have to arrive to get me back into the city.

  • Kathleen says:

    “I haven’t got a dime, Jimmy.”
    “Didn’t ask for a dime. I want my two dollars!”
    It’s the paperboy from Better Off Dead. Love that movie. Grosse Pointe Blank is another favorite John Cusak film.
    As for the ticket prices, of course there are a number of factors that contributed to the rise in prices. One I think we should consider is the spectacle to which we became accustomed with Cameron Mackintosh: Bigger shows required bigger budgets required higher ticket prices. And for a long time, I think, people were willing to pay more for the spectacle. But the novelty of the spectacle has worn off (the chandelier dropped) and we’re ready to get back to what really draws us to the theater: The story. The human connection. And you can get that for a lot less money in a small theater off-off Broadway.
    Speaking of off-off Broadway, any idea if attendance is going up there?

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