Is Broadway becoming a bazaar?

Have you ever been to a bazaar?

It’s an incredibly unique experience.  (Can we all take a second to recognize that the word bazaar has three vowels, and all of them As?  Weird.)

Bazaars are bustling marketplaces where vendors hawk their wares, often at discounts, trying to out-discount their neighbors to close the sale.  They are most famously located in the Middle East.

But we’ve got our own versions all over this country as well, like Pike Place Market in Seattle, where the fish literally fly, and even Wolff’s Flea Market in Illinois.

And maybe even Broadway?

With all the discount offers flying into inboxes every day, it’s starting to feel like Broadway has become a virtual bazaar, with each show trying to out-discount the other online.  (And if you’ve been to Times Square lately, with all its street teams and promoters, it’s starting to feel like an actual bazaar.)

What’s the problem?

Most bazaars are tourist attractions.  If you’ve never been, you should go.  They are fun, energetic, exciting . . . for about an hour.

After that, it gets to be a little much, as each vendor relentlessly pushes their products, trying to capture the sale no matter what the cost.

And that’s when the consumer just wants to go home . . . probably with a headache.

Broadway is dangerously close to bazaar-like overload, especially with the influx of private sale sites (Groupon, etc.) popping up offering daily deals.

Yes, our consumers want discounts, and yes we should give them what they want, but if we’re not careful, we could end up pushing them away.

It can be fixed, but only by a few of our players.

In the traditional business world, when there are too many competitors in the market, one gobbles up the other before the market gets oversaturated.

And that’s what needs to happen here.  We don’t have enough buy-outs and mergers, and we need one.

Someone needs to go, but get rewarded for it, before Broadway starts looking bizarre.  (See, three vowels, but they are all different letters!)

  • Mark says:

    I have no desire to visit Chinatown as a tourist for this exact reason. Too many people shoving coupons and advertisements in my face. If Times Square gets to be like this I will avoid it, too. I agree with you, Ken, this is a slippery slope that I hope Broadway finds a way to avoid.

  • Davidwakeman says:

    I do tend to agree that the value of the productions may be getting diluted due to the number of discounts. This goes without saying that an already difficult business model is made even more difficult be a race to the bottom in an attempt to fill seats no matter what the cost…which ultimately drives people away because they maybe begin to feel that anything that is so aggressively sold at a discount can’t have that much value.

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