Stats Courtesy of Business Week

Network TV Ad Spending in 2006        16 billion
Network TV Ad Spending in 2007        15.5 billion

Internet Ad Spending in 2006              4.1 billion
Internet Ad Spending in 2007              5.2 billion


But watch out, with this kind of growth on the ‘net, we could be looking at a lot of clutter pretty soon (how many email discounts for Broadway shows do you get in your inbox every morning?).

The best Broadway Producers I’ve ever worked with are always exploiting the current trends and at the same time are also figuring out how to take advantage of the next uncluttered space.

Ah, The Double Standard of Entertainment

A debate of ethic proportions has emerged amongst Broadway producers recently.

The question . . . would you hire this man?

The entertainment industry has always had a “we’ll hire you no matter what” attitude towards anyone with box office potential when it has come to drug use, DUIs, and even domestic violence.

Does this crime warrant more concern?  Less?

Will there be protests at the theater?  What if there are underage cast members in the show?

If we continue to hire individuals with bad track records, never mind criminal records, are we just teaching them that they are not accountable for their actions?

And are we teaching future artists that they don’t have to be accountable as well?  Or is the only thing we are accountable for the actual accounting.

Is it strange that companies across the world have drug tests for the simplest of tasks, yet there is no drug testing for Broadway employees, whether they are lifting fellow dancers above their heads or whether they are lifting heavy scenery above a dancer’s head?

And do we not have drug testing because we all know that a huge majority of actors, etc., would fail?

I don’t have an answer to whether or not I’d hire Mr. Barbour, but I do know this:

I’ve been trying to get this guy to do a musical for a long time.  God help me if it ever happens.

What would you do?

Your High Rollers.

The “Golden Rule” in casinos doesn’t have anything to do with being nice to your neighbor.  Their most important axiom is the ol’ Pareto Principle, or the 80-20 rule.

The casinos know that as much as they love when John and Suzy from Tulsa come for the weekend and lose $150 in the slots and buy the $7.99 buffet, John and Suzy aren’t paying for the Picassos in their lobbies and the shows in their theatres.

What’s paying for the luxury that keep John and Suzy coming are the Whales.Don’t think Whales or High Rollers are exclusive to that one glittering city in the desert (or the Indian reservation near you).   High Rollers are in every industry, including the theatre.

High Rollers are your premium ticket buyers.  High Rollers are your subscribers.  In the Off-Broadway world, High Rollers are your full price buyers.

Even though they may not represent 80% of our revenue, these people, who are willing to spend top-dollar plus, are people we need to pay attention to and respect.  More High Rollers means a higher profit margin.  So how do you get more of them?

Think about what Vegas does to take care of their High Rollers.

Now what do you do to take care of yours?  Do you greet them?  Do you give them free stuff?  Would you make a dinner reservation for them?

Watch your whales.  High Rollers keep the money “rolling on in.”

($10 iTunes gift certificate to the first person who posts a comment with the name of the musical that lyric is from.  No googleating – my sniglet that means cheating using Google).

Get Lost!

I got lost over the weekend while driving through Columbus, Ohio (I was scouting for a documentary that I’m producing and directing, but more on that later).

While I was trying to figure out how an interstate that ran East and West could all of sudden run East and South, I realized two things:

1.  I’m buying a GPS.

2.  Getting lost is OK.

Sure, I was an hour late and lost my voice screaming at the Lord of the Highways, but I still made it to my destination.

Whenever you’re lost, you always end up getting to your destination eventually, don’t you?  You never just pull over and say, “That’s it.  I’m done. I’m going to sit in my rental car until the scavengers pick over my bones.”  No, you stop, regroup, pick up a McDonald’s fountain Coke, ask for directions, get mad, listen to music, get mad again, call friends for help, and then finally, you make it.

Remember this the next time you’re writing or producing a project and are frustrated that you’re not reaching your deadline on time.

It’s OK to be late . . . The Lord of the Highways knows it took us 4 years to get Altar Boyz right and we took many a wrong turn along the way (remind me to tell you about the time that Abraham’s name was Leonard and Luke was addicted to Vicodin).

Sure we would have liked to have gotten there a lot faster, but making sure you get there is the most important part.

Just ask these guys how happy they were that they didn’t turn around and go home at some point during their 7 year trip.

100% of Zero is Zero.

Speaking of publishing statistics
, one of the most gossiped about stats around Broadway water coolers is percentage attendance.

“Did you see Variety?  Moose Murders only did 30% capacity!”

But this number actually does very little to diagnose the fiscal health of a show.  It just counts bodies in the house (including comps).  Even Moose Murders could get up to 100% if it really wanted to.

My favorite number in Variety?  Average Ticket Price.  This is where you can really see the market’s demand for a show.  If the ticket price is close to the full price, you know you’re in good shape.

And then look at the percentage.  Get a high average ticket price and a high percentage attendance, and you should be feeling pretty high yourself.