What would you pay for unlimited Broadway shows a month?

I’ve got an incredibly informed group of investors who are always sending me news about ahead-of-the-curve stuff, from technology to marketing, to nifty new products.   And one of the most savvy recently told me about a program he just signed up for called MoviePass.

MoviePass is a program that allows you to see unlimited movies in theaters for free, all for a low monthly fee.  For only $35 a month in the NYC area, you can go to any movie any time for as many times as you want.  Simple math will tell you the program will pay for itself if you see three movies a month.

Obviously, this is the latest attempt by the film industry (and specifically the theaters themselves, who also benefit from popcorn and candy sales)  to try and pull people away from their Netflix and Hulu and get them into the theaters again.

Naturally, I couldn’t help but wonder if a BroadwayPass would work for our industry.

Years ago, on Altar BoyzI introduced The AltarCard, (which looked like a MetroCard) which allowed my super fans to see the show as many times as they wanted in one month for only $199.  We sold a handful.

But that was only one show.

Could a bunch of Broadway shows band together to sell a BroadwayPass?  Would anyone buy it, considering that most people don’t go to the theater more than once a month anyway, and considering the cost would have to be at least the $199 of the AltarCard, if not more?

Would you buy it?  How much would you pay?

Honestly, I doubt we’d sell that many.  And given the number of different parties that it would take to get it set up, I have a feeling that if we tried to get it going, this initiative would get “lost in committee.”

But I do know we need more ideas like this that encourage people to get out of their homes and get to a theater more often than they would, for less money than they would have spent.  Sure, the BroadwayPass would be something for the super fan, but if the Pareto principle is true, and 80% of our income comes from 20% of our customers, then we need to continue to come up with ways to keep these folks tethered to our theaters, before the tethers to their TVs grow even stronger.

 

(Got a comment? I love ‘em, so comment below! Email Subscribers, click here then scroll down to say what’s on your mind!)
– – – –

FUN STUFF:

– Want a Producing primer?  Take the first-ever Producing 101 Tele-Seminar!  You can participate no matter where you are in the world!  Learn more.

– Win 2 Tickets to Violet on Broadway starring Sutton Foster.  Click here to enter.

– Want to learn about Broadway Investing?  Click here to sign up for Broadway Investing 101 on Saturday 4/12.

Tags:
Comments
  • Leonardo says:

    If I lived in NYC I would buy it. I would probably pay up to 400 for it, if it means you could get good seats EVERY time. If this is the case they would pay for themselves after 3 shows. If good seats are not guaranteed (which they probably wouldn’t), then I would pay up to 250.

  • CH says:

    The idea is intriguing. Another idea would be working with TKTS or with one of the multi-theatre owner/operators and coming up with an annual pass that would give you accees to a set number of shows on a monthly basis. Concept: Purchase an annual pass with whatever frequency you choose ie 1 show per month, 2/month and for number of guests 1, 2, etc… You could set days/times of availability that don’t take away from highest occupancy show times and average ticket prices to come up with investment cost. May be able to add additional amenities, experiences as part of the package to charge a premium. Very similar to other performing arts ticket packages. I belive the idea would be a unique gift for someone (or themself) that gives you flexibility yet unique access and increases frequency.

    • We’re working on a bunch of technologies and just got our first patent for one of them; we’re kind fo a ‘theatre think tank’. The idea of altered business models is one of great interest to us.

      Here’s one of our ideas for a model: have a group of people say how much they would pay, maximum, for a month-long subscription to a physical theater. Say person A states “100”, person B says “200”, person C says “300”. Now, anyone who says they’d be willing to pay that, gets a charge on their credit card for that amount, but the theater doesn’t get it yet: it gets held in escrow.

      You don’t tell anyone how much has been ‘committed’. If you manage to reach enough money to fund the theater for the month, you keep only exactly as much as was necessary to subsidize the space. Then, the excess is reimbursed to people who paid more up-front than those who pledged less.

      The value of a thing is whatever you’re willing to pay for it (as long as that price causes it to be delivered). Translated literally, this is that business model.

      • We’re working on a bunch of technologies and just got our first patent for one of them; we’re kind of a ‘theatre think tank’. The idea of altered business models is one of great interest to us.

        Here’s one of our ideas for a model: have a group of people say how much they would pay, maximum, for a month-long subscription to a physical theater. Say person A states “100”, person B says “200”, person C says “300”. Now, anyone who says they’d be willing to pay that, gets a charge on their credit card for that amount, but the theater doesn’t get it yet: it gets held in escrow.

        You don’t tell anyone how much has been ‘committed’. If you manage to reach enough money to fund the theater for the month, you keep only exactly as much as was necessary to subsidize the space. Then, the excess is reimbursed to people who paid more up-front than those who pledged less.

        The value of a thing is whatever you’re willing to pay for it (as long as that price causes it to be delivered). Translated literally, this is that business model.

        The reply to that is probably “but what if you don’t get enough, does the theatre go bust that month?”

        Set the option far enough in advance that, if it falls through, you can fall back to a normalized ticketing structure.

  • Bob says:

    What if a group of theaters held back a small group of tickets to each performance specifically for “preferred” cardholders, with a reservation date of a week prior (or similar time period)? This cardholder could take advantage of discounts on merchandise and/or special events designed just for them?

  • The idea of a flexible gym-style or Netflix-style “all you can eat” theatre membership has been growing out here in regional theatre, too. ACT in Seattle has been doing it for several years, along with Theatre Wit in Chicago. I’d love to see more places try that out, partly because it could help encourage more work, more events, more reasons to come into the building more than once a month for one production.

  • In a word, unworkable.

    Many problems, here are just a few:

    Bad weather, any refunds (Snow days)?
    Star absences, any refunds?
    Clean to the walls, no availability, any refunds?

    Forget the gimmicks. Put on compelling theater.

  • Calvin says:

    For what it’s worth, I live in Los Angeles, and as a former Broadway actor, I often come to New york for a week and cram in as much theatre as I can see, often nine shows or more. I would TOTALLY buy something like this and would pay $600 0r $650 for such a deal….but I agree with others, I just don’t see how it could happen….

  • Gordon says:

    I’d bet folks would pay $1000-$1500 per YEAR, for a pass that gets them tickets to any show, any time. (Subject to availability) Then, you could charge an upgrade fee for better seats, etc. on the day of the show.

  • Howard says:

    Actually, with MoviePass you can only see 2D movies, you can only see each movie once, and besides the #35 monthly fee there is a $25 initiation fee and a $5 card shipping fee. I really hate when hidden fees pop up behind the advertised price of anything.

    However, they do seem to cover a wide range of theaters including indie houses like IFC and Angelika.

  • feedpuppy says:

    MoviePass is a nice enough idea. But it seems their “unlimited” means one ticket every 24 hours, which instantly makes it much less useful. It’s probably a measure to avoid fraud, but it makes even watching movies two days in a row quite tricky.

    As for a similar pass for theaters, it probably would have to be a “season” pass. But isn’t it just some sort of subscription package, only across more than one theater company?

    How about a frequent theater goers reward program? Just like those frequent flyer program, you can get to different tiers depending on how many shows you go to and how much money you spend. Then you can get different level of discount, free/cheap upgrade to orchestra, special events etc etc. You could probably even issue a broadway miles credit card…. This way people who go to theaters regularly at least can get some rewards and feel special.

  • Marc Miller says:

    As I go to the theater quite more often than once a month, I’d definitely find this Broadway Pass quite worth it at $200.00 per year.

  • Dayna Kurnitz says:

    I would definitely buy one!!!! Hmm considering I have seen 5 shows in the past 3.5 weeks, and that is not even a good month I would say $300-400 would be fair.

  • Michael DiGaetano says:

    Something like this might be more doable for off broadway.

  • Seth Pyatt says:

    It sounds basically like a subscription to any normal non for profit or regional theatre. Which we all know subscription sales are declining. Perhaps because the variety of shows would greater so would the sales. Maybe instead of a monthly fee it could be a yearly membership fee. In this case it might be similar to the program TDF offers to industry folk- here it would be for anyone regardless of profession. It may not be popular or enticing for many locals but it certainly sounds like a big hit with tourists. Such as a City pass for museums and attractions. Depending on how many days your NYC vacation is, pay one set fee and see an unlimited amount of Broadway or OffBway shows. And by unlimited of course the number would really be limited to 8-10 per week.

  • Kathleen Smith says:

    I would be interested in a Broadway Pass. When I come to NYC, I generally see three shows during the weekend, a mix of Broadway and off-Broadway. I f the cost was less that what I would otherwise pay, I would do so. In fact, it would probably cause me to come into the City twice in a month instead of my usual once a month. For a year, I would be willing to spend $1,500 for the year, about what I spent for tickets in 2013.

  • Jake McCoy says:

    Would about the prospect of marketing something like this for students.. I feel like they would be a perfect market for this and what an amazing gift for your son/daughter who is living in NYC as an aspiring artist.

    With the amount of students that line up each and every day for the rush tickets I feel like this would be WELL worth their investment especially if priced the right way.

    Also something for thought is one that has unlimited for the months and one that allows a certain amount per week as a cheaper option.

  • Ilene Argento says:

    I would absolutely buy it if I lived in NYC if the theaters involved all had ‘no bad seats’ in the house. In Cali, the theaters have “season tickets,” and we subscribe to SEVERAL. The beauty for the subscriber, you get a discount and the same seats and free exchanging privileges. The theatre gets to budget based on knowing that ALL of the shows will have AT LEAST the season subscribers. In NYC, unless you could get a lot of theaters or several producers to join hands and sing ‘kumbaya,’ I can’t see it working for YOUR end. The subscriber would be excited about it, I think, but how would it work?

    I noticed recently when purchasing Violet tix that Roundabout does a season or, if you buy more than one show, you get a nice discount on the second show, etc. Unfortunately, none of their other shows fit into my tight schedule, but I admit I checked!

    I think the only logistical solution would be a “club” where you could get varying discounts depending on how many shows you purchase during a theatre season (i.e., ‘Fall’) from the same ticket broker. The perk over TKTS is that you could still pick good seats, but you get the benefit of being a junkie, like me (I’m seeing 8 shows in my next 6 day trip to NYC, and would see more if there were Sunday night shows or Friday matinees!)!

  • Bill Rough says:

    Not a bad idea, Ken. You might sell a lot more than you think for 1 month passes. I’m an-out-of-town binge show-goer, and take the train up 3-4 times a year to catch 5-6 plays in 3-4 nights at a time, always trying to maximize theatre times to minimal hotel nights. And I almost always blog the experience on “viewinthedark.wordpress.com. The idea of a Broadway “package” is genuinely appealing. I’ll buy!

  • Margo Moskowitz says:

    Ken: We’ve been doing this for three years here at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta.Going from $199 to $209 to $219, as we continue to see demand increase and the average attendance at 11 shows per season across 9 shows.

  • Jared says:

    I think the comments show that there is definitely interest, but I think we all know that logistically it would be a nightmare and unlikely to happen. I would certainly be interested, although how much I am willing to pay would definitely depend on how much hassle was involved with getting the tickets. Are the seats good? Would the pass allow me access to house seats at otherwise sold out shows? Are there blackout dates?

  • Donald Jordan says:

    I think it could work well. The longer time pepriod would limit marketing to locals. What if, a 7, 14, and 30 day pass option existed, you could sell it as part of a come to New York Theatre vacation pass. I could help encourage more theatre tourism to the city from around the nation and the world.

  • Andrew says:

    Think like Disney. They sell an annual pass for unlimited visits. Your best bet is probably to approach theatre owners. So perhaps Shubert or Jujamcyn would sell a pass good for shows at any of its theatres to be used throughout a calendar year.

  • I think it’s a great idea. I don’t deny there
    are potential problems, but a system could be
    worked out. And it could be altered, if it started to have problems.
    For New Yorkers, it would be an incentive to go
    back to the theater more often than usual.
    For visitors, it’s a bargain, as they already
    plan to gorge.
    We live in the burbs and can’t get in as much
    as we would like. We don’t subscribe to series
    because we know we’ll probably miss most of the
    plays. But, something like this, with a big
    window and a lot of flexibility, sounds terrific. We would pay quite a bit for something like this.

  • Dave says:

    Ski resorts sell season’s passes that give a free lift pass for the first, fourth, and seventh visit, and a slightly reduced rate on all other visits – all for an upfront charge. Sort of a ‘the more you buy, the more you save’ motivation. They can be used in any of a ‘family’ of resorts all managed by the same company. Must work because they’ve continued this marketing strategy for many years. Anything there?

  • Nattalyee says:

    I think it’s a great idea. You could even offer it at a certain month every year. Maybe around Tony time and limit everyone to see the shows once but you can see as many as you want. If that was available this month, I would do it. I have 9 shows left to see before the Tonys in June and this would help tremendously!

  • Adam says:

    Just FYI, they require that you sign up for a full year, and their terms and conditions provide that they can impose a cancellation fee (the amount of which is not disclosed; they will determine it at the time they impose it) if you don’t pay for the full year. That’s $420 plus $25 to sign up, and a deliver charge of $49.99 to overnight the card to you, or $4.99 if you’re willing to wait for it (while your membership is running).

  • Alexandra B. says:

    Newsies is my favorite show of all time. I would EASILY pay a monthly fee to see it unlimited times. Bring it on!

  • Normally I don’t read article on blogs, but I wish to say that this write-up very forced me to try and do it! Your writing taste has been surprised me. Thanks, very great post.

  • whole of the UK but of course most of our work is in London .

  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky congratulated President Barack Obama on his second term despite their political differences and the obstacles facing the political landscape in the coming months.

  • toms outlet says:

    Think outside the box (or board, in this case). What are some things that represent your restaurant? Kate Spade makes handbags, but her Pinterest page includes many photos of other things. But they all have a common theme city, urban, bold colors which is a pretty good representation of the Kate Spade brand. What would represent your restaurant? Do you offer French cuisine? Perhaps pins of Paris, Provence, and vineyards would represent your catering concept. Even if you don serve alcohol, you can pin drinks that would compliment particular events that you do cater.

  • wow gold says:

    We’re hence seriously happy these are definitely on the market once more. I buy wow gold just about every winter…I love the particular mini’s — they are really best for all of the full-grown era who don’t like to tuck wow gold within denims! THANKS A whole lot of!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

X