3 Things That Surprised Me About the Broadway Investor Survey

Last Friday, I published the results of the first ever Broadway Investor survey.  If you haven’t seen it yet, click here.

Honestly, I wasn’t all that shocked with the results.  I could have bet the capitalization of Spider-Man that the majority of Broadway Investors would be iPhone users and come from the Northeast.   Maybe that’s because I talked to a lot of people that invest in Broadway shows and/or are considering investing in Broadway shows.  Or maybe it’s because I’m a Broadway investor myself.

However, there were three things that surprised me about the survey, and as you can probably guess by the title of this blog, I’m going to share those three suckers with you here.

1.  We’re Investing In Ourselves

The industry that produces the most Broadway investors was arts/entertainment.  34.4% of those surveyed were from our own world.  It’s not a mammoth majority, but for some reason it came as a bit of a surprise.  It shouldn’t have been, but for some reason I expected to have more lawyers and doctors and other stereotypical big earning jobs.  But I was thrilled to see this number, especially after this blog post. We as an industry know first hand the importance of the theater, which is why we are and must continue to invest in its future.  (Now it’s up to us to get more lawyers and doctors to understand that importance as well.)

2.  The Majority Doesn’t Make Money But That Doesn’t Matter As Much.

We asked everyone if their Broadway investments were profitable.  Our results matched anecdotal averages pretty well, with 23.8% reporting their investments were profitable (a bit better than the “1 in 5” so many people tout).  61.3% reported that their Broadway Investments did not make money.  And an odd 14.9% answered that “they didn’t know.”  That stat alone was a shocker, but it demonstrates that while everyone loves to make money, and every producer’s goal should be to try and make money, it’s not the #1 driving force behind Broadway investing.  In fact, despite the majority admitting to losing money, a whopping 85.2% of those surveyed reported enjoying their Broadway Investing experience.  And a similar 82.8% said the #1 reason they invested in Broadway shows was not to make money, but to “support the arts.”

3.  People Don’t Invest As Much As People Think.

I was talking to a new Broadway Investor last week, and when I asked how much they thought the average Broadway Investment was, they said, “$50k-$100k, and that’s why I can’t do it!”  Well, our survey puts the majority (38.9%) of Broadway Investments between $10k and $25k.  And when you add the percentage that invest between $25k and $50k, you get 58.9%!  I’m a big fan of the smaller investor, obviously, but even I was surprised that the number skewed a bit lower overall.  Now, granted our survey might be skewed towards smaller investors in the first place, but I don’t think the margin of error is that big.  Hopefully this number will show everyone out there that you don’t need to be Warren Buffet to invest in a Broadway show.  It’s still the small independent investor that makes Broadway happen.
Obviously, I’m a data junkie, so just reading the results of this survey make me giddy.  But data like this isn’t just for getting giddy over.  It’s what you can do with the data that really gets me going.  And it should get you going too.  Now that we know who our Broadway Investor is and what makes them tick, we can hopefully find more of them, and serve them better.  A happy investor is a better Broadway.

So re-read the results and let it help you and your relationships with your Broadway Investors.


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  • Scott Kirschenbaum says:

    RE: #3 surprise/Minimums
    My take on the results is that probably alot of respondents began investing from 2008-2011 when producers were desperate for money, and you could invest $5-10k for almost any broadway show.

    Now–it seems to a VERY firm $25k–and even that amount doesnt guarantee opening nite tix–or perhaps preview or final dress attendance!

    Also, there may be occurances where a group of friends share a $25k piece through side letter arrangements

  • George says:

    A little Wealth Management tidbit – only about 30% of Financial Consultants invest in the products that they pitch to the general public (well, the High End “general public” $250 million and over in assets) – and they usually get these products less process fees i.e. company’s insider price.

    While this may seem like a conincidence…

    I think it has more to do with the fact that these knoweldgeable investors KNOW a lot more about the “product” (whether a financial instrument or a production) and they tend to use the 80/20 rule (only 20% of the product will generate 80% of the profit… and they feel the have the inside line – plus 10% – on that potential of success…)


  • Drama Teacher says:

    I think the most intriguing stat was how many investors do not have children. Raising kids is quite the drain on disposable income, no matter how much of a stash you have, apparently.

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