Who is the Broadway Touring Audience? The 2011-12 Report Revealed!

Almost two decades ago, the Broadway League began tracking the demographics of the touring audience for Broadway shows, understanding that the audience on the road is a feeder audience for Broadway.

It is/was true for you, right?

If you don’t live in or close to NYC, and you’re a Broadway fan, odds are you see shows at your local Civic Center or PAC, am I right?  That’s what I used to do (shout out to the Colonial Theater and the Wang Center in Beantown!).

Touring shows are gateway drugs to the bright lights of Broadway.  Additionally, since touring shows can be more profitable than Broadway shows, it’s important for us Producers to understand just who out there is buying the tickets, how they buy them . . . and why.

Enter The League and their biennial report on the Touring Audience Demographics!  And the latest report, for the 2011-2012 season (which featured almost 13 million admissions in almost 300 theaters across our great theatrical nation) was just released last week.

You can get the full report here directly from The League, but I’m going to summarize their summary for you.

Here are the key points from the 2011-12 Touring Broadway Demographic Study:

  • 12.7 million total attendees is the lowest reported attendance since 2004-05.  (NOTE FROM KEN:  GULP!)
  • 70% of touring show attendees were female.
  • The average age of the Touring Broadway theatregoer was 50.5 years.  (NOTE FROM KEN:  This is older than the NYC audience)
  • 89% of the Touring Broadway theatregoers were Caucasian.  (NOTE FROM KEN:  This is whiter than the NYC audience.)
  • 78% of the audience held a college degree and 30% held a graduate degree.
  • 46% of national theatregoers reported an annual household income of more than $100k, compared to only 21% of Americans overall.
  • 31% of respondents were subscribers to the “Broadway Series” at their local venue.
  • On average, Touring Broadway attendees saw 4 shows per year.
  • When looking for information about the show, the majority of audiences looked to the theatre’s website.
  • The most commonly cited source for show selection were:  the music, personal recommendation, articles about the show, having previously seen the show, and its inclusion in the season subscription
  • Respondents reported the Tony Awards to be more influential this season than in previous seasons.  21% of respondents said that Tony Awards or nominations were a reason they attended the show, compared to 8% in the 2005-06 season.
  • Only 17% of respondents said that an advertisement influenced them to see a show and 14% said they were influenced by a newspaper critic’s review.
  • 65% of the audience said that some kind of incentive (discounts for restaurants, parking and transportation, free merchandise, backstage tours or complete packages) would encourage them to attend theatre more frequently.
  • Facebook was the most widely used social networking site.
  • 40% of respondents said different performance times would encourage them to attend Touring Broadway more frequently.
  • 47% of Touring Broadway theatregoers used the Internet to purchase their tickets, the highest percentage yet.
  • Advance sales to single-ticket buyers has increased in comparison to the early 2000’s.
  • 34% of respondents said they made a visit to NYC in the past year.  Of those 82% attended a Broadway show while in town. (NOTE FROM KEN:  This number should be 90% or more IMHO, so we’ve got work to do.)
  • 75% of respondents said they would prefer to receive theatre information electronically, rather than postal mail.

Well, what do you think?  Is the Touring Audience what you expected it to be?  Do you fit in the above group?

If you’re interested, click here to see a summary of the latest report on the Broadway demographic audience and you can see how the two stack up side by side.

Lots of interesting stuff in the report, as always.  Of course, the most concerning stat is the drop in attendance since almost ten years ago.  And, significantly, the past three years have seen a decrease each year.

Why?  Is it because the subscription audience is waning?  Is it because there’s too much competition out there?  Is it because there aren’t enough new blockbusters out there to drive admissions?

Sure, yep, and true that.

But those aren’t the only reasons.  And because the Touring Market is such a necessary component of the Broadway Business Model, especially for musicals, we better find out.  And fast.  Because no one wants to see a fourth year of decline for the next report.

What do you think the issue is?

 

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

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Is there a Producer Doctor in the house?

We’ve all heard the expression, “Show Doctor”, right?  You know, that Director or Writer who joins a troubled production out-of-town, or in previews, with the goal of providing the creative changes necessary to save a sinking show.

You ever wonder why some shows don’t have Producer doctors?  Imagine . . . six months after a show opens, a show is struggling.  Why not bring in a hired producing gun; an outsider with objectivity to shake up the team . . . fire some people, change marketing strategy, etc.  There’s no guarantee that a new CEO will take a company in a new direction, but it’s worth a shot, no?

Honestly, this probably won’t ever happen on independently produced shows.  But I can name quite a few shows produced by some big corps that could have used the medicine of some of our industry’s veteran producers.

But ego gets in the way . . . and honestly, a Broadway show can be as hard to turn as the Titanic.  They are so big and bulky, that when you are heading for an iceberg, it’s hard to avoid it.

Which is why we need to look into a different way to build them.

 

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

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FUN STUFF

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Broadway Vocab 101. Why is a flop called a turkey anyway?

Happy Thanksgiving, readers!

It’s ironic, don’t you think?  We spend this one day pounding back slices of turkey, and we spend the rest of the year trying to avoid producing one.

And why do we call a flop a turkey anyway?  Why not an owl?  Or a swallow?

Well, these are the types of questions that keep me up at night, so I decided to do some Gearching (I’ve decided that the word search is now so inextricably connected to Google that we should just combine the two words), and share the results with you, on this fowl-filled day.

So why is a Broadway show that flops called a turkey?

It all comes down to IQ.

Apparently, a turkey is a pretty damn dumb bird.

Don’t believe me?  Well, I found one web post from a dude who used to work at a turkey farm and breeding facility that gave two examples of IQ-challenged turkey behavior:

1 – The pens of the farm had to be equipped with specially designed water bowls which would keep a minimal amount of water in the bowl and shut off while the turkeys were drinking. Why?  Because on occasion, a turkey would “forget” to lift its head while drinking . . . and drown.  And this guy saw it happen.

2 – Large scale turkey farms regularly use artificial insemination to get the turkeys to reproduce.  Why?  Because if they didn’t, the turkeys just might not around to it on their own.

So the birds are stupid.

And in 1927 (coincidentally, the year that Show Boat opened), someone decided that flops were stupid too. (Probably because everything looked stupid compared to Show Boat.)

And thus, a dud became a turkey.

Now that I know the answer . . . I still like owl better.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Broadway Vocab 101. Words used to describe numbers.

I threw out a word a few weeks ago that prompted a reader to pop me an email and ask, “What the fiorello does XXXXX mean?”

So, in an attempt to prevent future emails like that from readers
(and future bad musical-cussing puns from me), I thought I’d introduce a new
feature on The Producer’s Perspective, called Broadway
Vocabulary
.  

I remember hearing Broadway-specific terms for the first time when
I started working in the biz, and not having a clue what they meant, and
being too shy to ask (my staff all just did a spit-take at the thought of me
being too shy).  

In case any of you have the just-starting-out-shy-gene, this
feature is for you. (Oh, and get over the shy stuff, by the way.
Channel your inner two-year-old and ask, ask, ask and you’ll learn,
learn, and earn!)

The first set of terms we will tackle are all related to the
figures that Broadway producers examine on a daily, and sometimes hourly basis,
depending upon when the show is opening and upon how OCD the producer is.

Hear are five Broadway Box Office terms:

WRAP (noun and verb):  The
dollar amount of ticket sales in a fixed period of a time, usually daily.
It includes tickets sold for performances that day (if any) as well as
all performances in the future.  ex. Did you see yesterday’s wrap?
How much did we wrap yesterday?  If our wraps don’t go up, I’m going
to wrap myself in a box and mail myself to Portugal.

ADVANCE (noun):  The dollar
amount of ticket sales for all future performances of a show.  ex.
Who has a higher advance – 
Addams
Family or American Idiot?  I don’t
know, but 
Wicked’s advance is higher than the GDP of a small independent
nation!

GROSS (noun and verb):  The
total dollar amount of tickets sold before any deductions (see NET below) for a
specific number of performances, usually weekly or daily.  ex.
How much did 
Miracle
Worker gross during its
first full week of previews?  When did the Broadway League start reporting the Gross figures?  If our grosses don’t go up, I’m going to
wrap myself in a box and mail myself to Portugal.

NET (noun and verb):  The
total dollar amount of tickets sold after standard box office deductions (e.g.
credit card commissions, group sales commissions, ticket printing fees,
etc.), for a specific number of performances, usually weekly or
daily.  ex.  How much did Miracle Worker net
during its first full week of previews?  When did The Broadway League
start reporting the net figures as opposed to the gross?  If we weren’t
overcharged for Credit Card Commissions, our net would be much closer to our
gross.)

NAGBOR (noun):  pronounced
“Nag-Bore”.  An acronym for Net Adjusted Gross Box Office
Receipts, or just a fancy way to say NET.  

If there’s a word you want broken down in the next Broadway Vocab, just pop me an email.  

I promise I won’t tell you to Fosse-off. 

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