Do you pay full price for Broadway shows? Then who does?

The List for two years in a row.

So it’s probably no surprise that Damian knows how to ask the interesting questions, like the ones he posted in this recent blog on his EntertainmentMarketing site.

Damian used his “connections” at Shubert Ticketing to find out some pretty useful information on the current trends of Broadway buyers and their desire for discounts.

Here’s what he found out:

  • In 2010, almost half (43%) of “new” musical buyers in the NY Metro Area (those people not in the Telecharge system), used a discount code on their first purchase.
  • In 2010, 29% of new out-of-town or Tourist musical buyers used a discount code.

Plays are almost identical.

  • In 2010, almost half (40%) of “new” play buyers in the NY Metro Area used a discount code on their first purchase.
  • In 2010, 29% of new out-of-town or Tourist play buyers used a discount code.

In his blog, Damian takes that data and then asks some more very interesting questions about whether or not discount-driven promotions are doing what they are intended to do, which is bring in new audiences to the theater, who will hopefully buy higher priced tickets for future shows.

Is that working?

Well, to get that answer, I’d like to see the answers to Damian’s question for 2009, 2008, 2007, and all the way through 2001.  And I’d also like to look at the percent of full-price buyers over the last ten years year by year to see if that figure (which usually hovers around 50%) has decreased . . . or increased.  (I think there’s a reader out there that can help me with this question . . . you know who you are . . . what do you say?)

Could we get rid of discounting altogether?

Yes. I’ll give you two ways on Monday.

Read Damian’s terrific insights here.

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  • Something I love in New York is how many Broadway shows I can see that offer tickets in some way or form for less than $50. Back in Australia, where I’m from, discounted tickets are a completely different thing which makes it a much more expensive excursion to see one of the big musicals when it comes to town. The major shows (Broadway imports) tend to have a cheapest ticket around $80 for some kind of restricted viewing (maybe 10 seats in the venue in total), and then go up from there, ‘discount’ tickets more often than not come as package deals- ‘Bring The Family’ style ‘four tickets for $100 each’ (regularly $150 each, so they reduce the premium seating sections.
    I find there’s very rarely a discount code for an individual ticket. Wicked in Melbourne was, I believe, one of the first shows to introduce a lottery system, and at that time there was a number of major shows in Melbourne so a series of rush ticket policies popped up.
    Altar Boyz had the best discount- a rush ticket policy of $25, and I went back three times, hauling 20 something friends with me by the time it sadly closed early. (A reason that I’m sure promoted the need for a rush policy to get as many bums in seats as possbile.)
    But maybe because our market isn’t saturated with 20 Broadway shows at a time, and they are only in town for usually 3 to 6 months, people are more willing to pay a full price in Australia, perhaps it’s a more rare and special occasion, so little discounting or ‘package discounts’ on premium tickets can work, but in a market that has a lot of shows playing at the same time, and you want them to come see more than one of your shows, is it a good move removing discounts altogether?
    I’ll be very interested to see your thoughts on Monday.

  • Over the years, I’ve paid full price for only a handful of shows–maybe one per season on average.
    And it’s even rarer that I end up liking those shows.

  • SweetP says:

    Since I live in Georgia, I cram lots of shows in a few days in NYC. If it is a new show (e.g., How to Succeed) I will purchase full-price lowest-cost tickets when they become available. (Saw La Cage front row balcony last May this way.) For other shows, I watch and tdf (I am a member) for discounts on my trip days. (e.g., West Side Story also in May). Finally, I might get discount tickets after I arrive (saw HAIR from the 4th row in May.)
    So, am I a “new” theater patron? No, but without discounts I would certainly see fewer shows and might even plan shorter trips. (This May so far: How to Succeed, House of Blue Leaves, and Miss Abigail, with Mon Eve, Wed Mat/Eve still unplanned)

  • Jpoeming says:

    Back in November 2009 I traveled to NYC with a friend. I came prepared with discount codes and a plan to visit box offices one afternoon in order to purchase tickets for the shows I wanted to see during my trip. I paid full-price for only one show because no discount was available and I really wanted to see it. My friend was not a regular theater-goer and was amazed at what I was doing. She had no idea that discount codes were available. She thought the TKTS booth was the only place to get a deal. In the end, she ended up purchasing a ticket she was on the fence about seeing because of the discount code. During intermission she ended up talking to a couple seated next to her, and found out that they had purchased their tickets for the same price at the TKTS booth. In her case, she was able to buy a day ahead of time and didn’t have to wait in the cold the day of.
    This is just one story. I’ve come across a few others who are out-of-towners who also aren’t aware, so perhaps that is the key: awareness. And trying to wean people away from constantly expecting to see a discount.

  • Malini says:

    I can’t remember the last time I paid full price for a ticket. As a matter of fact, the reason I am able to see many shows is because I am subscriber on many discount sites.
    I send discount links to my co-workers with a blurb about what shows to see. All have been grateful and most have seen more shows because I told them to do so.
    Also, I am so okay with not having the best seat in the house.

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