Playbill goes Boffo with its brand.


The battle of the Broadway websites just got real, yo. could sit back and stay fat on its yellow striped cover and trademarked font and still have more traffic than the 405 in LA.

But no . . . ever since young Turk-ish Blake Ross took the reins years ago, Playbill has been operatin’ like a startup, adding new features left and right and all the way ’round.

And two of those features are turning a lot of heads.

Less than two months ago, Playbill released The Playbill Vault, an online database of every Broadway show and everyone associated with those shows since 1930.  And, what’s cool about it is that it combines the stats with other material from their database (photos, articles, actual playbill listings, etc.)  Look at my listing to see an example here.  It’s pretty awesome, and has already become my go to .com when I’m researching . . . anything (Sorry, IBDB).

And, not resting on its e-laurels, last week Playbill announced the acquisition of Boffo Box, now named Playbill Professional, an online “theatrical index” with Broadway grosses, charts, an online rolodex for Broadway personnel, and more.  Unlike the Playbill you get when you walk in a theater, Playbill Pro ain’t free.  But time is money, and this system looks like it’ll save some folks hours.

The mission statement at Google is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

Well, we here in the theater industry have never been good at doing anything with our information.  Thankfully, has stepped up, adopted the Google plan, and given a lot of people a lot of info.

And a lot of info makes us a lot smarter.

(Oh, and yeah, they’re probably going to make money with it.  But that’s what great companies do.  They find out what people want/need that they aren’t getting elsewhere and give it to them.  And they make some money.  And the really great companies then use that money to find new things that people want/need that they aren’t getting elsewhere and give that to them.  And rinse and repeat and growth for all.)



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  • Margie says:

    I am just curios, Ken — why on earth has Phantom been running 24 YEARS?

  • Blueyes says:

    Wouldn’t it be even cooler if Playbill Vault included Off-Broadway and Regional and Int’l too? Digging up the data would be rough, but it’s time to think about a complete database similar to IMDB!

  • Lindsey says:

    Blake Ross is the best thing that has ever happened to broadway.

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