Speaking of Britain, how’s the Business?

I always report on the end of year figures for Broadway, and even give you the quarterly reports as well (stay tuned for next week’s 3rd Quarter results, which I expect to be fascinating).  And since I picked on Great Britain yesterday, I thought I owed them a little love today . . . so why not take a look at how they’re doing?

Just a couple of weeks ago, SOLT (the Society of London Theatre), the British equivalent of the Broadway League, announced their year end figures, and by George, it’s good news.

  • The Gross Box Office tally for 2014 came in at £623.6 million (which is $957.4 million in our bucks), which is an increase of a giant sized 7%.
  • Attendance was 14.7 million peeps, which was a 1% increase from 2013.

Compare that to our 2014 tally, which was $1.362 billion and 13.3 million people.

Huh.  We made more money.  But we had less bodies.

And that sure is a sign of our different economies, now isn’t it?

See, we’ve gotten great at getting more cash out of our consumers, even though it might be costing us bodies.  That’s great for the short term, but more bodies today would mean even more bucks tomorrow (nothing beats audience development like getting people into the theaters to see shows).

So even though our pockets may be stuffed with more cash, I’m a little green with envy over the UK figures.

Because sometimes it’s better to take a short term hit for a long term gain.

But I’m nitpicking – because the real (happy) conclusion of this blog is that gross and attendance is up on both sides of the pond . . . which means theater worldwide is on the upswing.

Take that Netflix.

Streamin’s got nothing on us.


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  • Carvanpool says:

    Be careful. You may eat those words someday.

  • plewison says:

    The last two blogs on our English speaking brethren on the other side, and I wondered (as you did) how many shows we were sending. I know one musical that did ok on Broadway and Legally Blond the Musical did great on the west end. Ran three years, is on UK tour now, and Nell & Larry won a Olivier for best musical. Both their Moms went bananas. Fact was that they were better treated their than here. I’m going to be interested in what your further research brings.

  • Arnold Kuperstein says:

    Did you ever think that premium prices may be keeping customers away from Broadway? In London a limited number of seats are designated premium, unlike Broadway in which hundred of seats can be sold at inflated prices if the market warrants. I know you keep stating what about the scalpers? I replay no consideration is paid to the customer who sees 20-30 shows per year. Your premium prices for desirable seat locations may be harming Broadway economics in the long run. Broadway should be aimed at people who are devotees of the theatre and go to the theatre multiple times per year. Instead you are only interested in the expense account crowd, foreign tourists and of course scalpers!

  • Rich Mc says:

    “We made more money. But we had less bodies.” No, not quite. Better said would be: “We had greater revenues, generated by fewer attendees.” And while this is generally a positive, Making Money is defined by PROFIT (and of course, RECOUPING) and no stats are presented as to whether we are better than the Brits, or vice versa. Of course, the other side of the profits equation, Costs, are omitted in this comparison, and here I believe we don’t do quite as well. Maybe next blog.

  • Scott says:

    Did they have more bodies because they have more theatres/shows included in their tallies?

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