Broadway Grosses w/e 2/4/2018: The Patriots aren’t the only ones who lost last week

The following are the Broadway grosses for the week ending February 4, 2018.
The Broadway grosses are courtesy of The Broadway League
Read more here:

STATS REVEALED: Fewer shows close this January than in the last 10 years.

On Tuesday, I posted a theory in my weekly Broadway gross wrap up.

Ok, it wasn’t really a theory.  It was more like a feeling in my gut.  And frankly, I couldn’t tell if that feeling in my gut was the pizza I ate at midnight, or if I was really on to something.

So, I had my crackerjack research team (including our new intern Liana) do a bit of data digging to see if this theory was the result of some greasy pepperoni or an actual thing.

And this AM, they spit out some stats and voilà . . . it looks like, as a therapist would say, my feelings were valid.

What I hypothesized was that this year had the fewest closings in January we’ve had in a long time.  See, normally shows seem to shutter quickly after the holidays.  But this year it seemed like more shows were sticking it out . . . stretching to MLK Day and Broadway Week, and now beyond.

And, as you’ll see in the blog below, that’s exactly what happened!

This January, we only saw 3 shows close, which is the LOWEST number of shows we’ve had in the last ten years.

In fact, an average of 8 shows closed in January over the last decade.  And this year, it wasn’t even half that.  (Non Profit closings weren’t included, by the way).  This past year was 62.5% less than the average.

Take a look . . .

Interesting trend, no?

But it doesn’t stop there.

I turned the time machine back another ten years to see how we stacked up against a longer era, and wouldn’t you know it, we’re way under that average of 6 shows closing in January over the last twenty years.

See for yourself.

 

What does all this mean?

It means that Broadway Week has helped.  It means more tourists are sticking around after Xmas (and tourism is up in general).  It also means that shows are getting smarter about pricing during this period to attract more buyers.

Oh, and it means even fewer theaters will be available to new spring shows.

(Do you like charts and graphs about the business of Broadway?  Check out The Recoupment Report, my quarterly newsletter dedicated to the art and commerce of investing on Broadway.  Click here for more info and to sign up.)

Broadway Grosses w/e 1/28/2018: Have we broken Winter’s curse?

The following are the Broadway grosses for the week ending January 28, 2018.
The Broadway grosses are courtesy of The Broadway League
Read more here:

Well, this will change things for the Secondary Market.

Years ago, my Mom told me she wasn’t going to be able to take her grandkids to the theater anymore.  “Why not,” I cried, feeling a bit betrayed.

“It’s too expensive!  I took them to see Annie in Worcester, MA and paid over $500 for just three of us, and we didn’t even have great seats!”

That price didn’t make much sense to me, so I did a little googling.  Turns out, my Mom didn’t buy from the official site.  Instead, she did some googling of her own, like most people do when looking to buy something that isn’t on Amazon.

When she got the results, she clicked an ad that sent her to a secondary market seller, who was charging well above face value.

The problem?  She had no idea she was buying from a reseller and could have paid less.  (In fact, this Secondary Seller was engaging in some black-hat tactics to make my Mom think she was buying from the official source.)

It’s stories like this that make me and my Producer Peers nervy.  My Mom was ready to give up on the theater, all because she didn’t know where she was buying from.

That’s about when I started writing blogs and speaking at conventions hoping the government would come in and make Secondary Market Sellers be upfront and transparent about who and what they are.  See, I have no problem with what they do.

Well, despite my e-shouting, the government never stepped in.

But last week, someone even more powerful did.

Google.

In an effort to protect consumers, Google announced that in order to use its AdWords advertising platform, Secondary Market Resellers will have to adhere to certain guidelines on their websites, including revealing that they are not the primary source for the tickets and that they may charge a higher fee.

(And I’d expect their super-secret algorithm for how they deliver results in their organic rankings will also figure out who is playing by the rules and who isn’t.)

Like playing poker without one of the Aces, this move is a game changer.

It’ll help Producers as it’ll put us on a (more) even playing field to be able to compete in the important AdWords market for our own titles.

And it’ll help Consumers make smart choices as to where they get their tickets.

This is a big risk on Google’s part, as the secondary market spends a ton of bank on ads (they can afford it since their margins are so high), and I applaud the Big G for taking a short-term hit, in order to help consumers.

And Secondary Sellers . . . I’m convinced this is good for you too.  There are people who will always want what you do.  And there are some things you can do so much better than we can.  In the 21st Century transparency is an essential part of a successful business.  So if you focus on that white glove service that you can provide instead of hiding behind an e-mask, I bet you’ll see your business grow on Google.

Who went to see Broadway shows in 2016-17? Demographic study results revealed! (Updated)

A new year and a new study, hot off the presses from the Broadway League of who, exactly, went to see Broadway shows in the last super successful season.

Let’s go straight to the bullet point big picture takeaways . . .

  • The 2016-17 season grossed $1.45 BILLION (with a B) in ticket sales.
  • 13.3 million people put their butts in seats, with a 4% attendance increase per playing week.
  • The New York City audience accounted for 22% of theatergoers, the highest percentage in fifteen years – or 2.85 million admissions; another 18% came from surrounding suburbs.  More New Yorkers attended a Broadway show than any season since 1998–1999.
  • Tourists purchased approximately 61% of all Broadway tickets.
  • Attendance by theatergoers under 18 years old was 1.65 million. The number of theatergoers under 18 years old was the highest since this analysis began.  (NOTE FROM KEN:  Remember all those family shows we had last year?  Here they are!)
  • Twenty-five percent of respondents were under 25 years old.
  • Moreover, there were another 1.62 million admissions by theatergoers aged 18–24.
  • Approximately half of respondents said they purchased their tickets online.
    • American theatergoers were more likely than others to use the internet to purchase tickets, whereas those who reside outside of the US were more likely to make the purchase in person.
  • For the past several seasons, approximately two-thirds (66%) of all attendees have been female.
    • Fifty-one percent of female respondents said they made the purchasing decision to see the show, compared to 44% of male respondents.
  • Playgoers tended to be more frequent theatregoers than musical attendees. The play attendee saw nine shows in the past year; the musical attendee, four.
  • Theatregoers reported personal recommendations as the most influential factor when it came to selecting a show to see. (NOTE FROM KEN:  This stat hasn’t changed since the days of Sophocles and Shakespeare.)
    • Other factors included the music, having seen the movie, internet listings and having seen the show before.
    • The most popular sources for theatre information (as reported by theatregoers) other than personal recommendation were TicketMaster.com, Broadway.com, Playbill.com, and the New York Times.
  • The average reported date of ticket purchase for a Broadway show was 42 days before the performance.
  • The average age of the Broadway theatregoer was 41.7 years old.
  • Twenty-three percent of all tickets were purchased by non-Caucasian theatregoers.
  • Of theatregoers over 25 years old, 80% had completed college and 39% had earned a graduate degree.
  • The average annual household income of the Broadway theatregoer was $194,940.
  • The average Broadway theatregoer reported attending 4 shows in the previous 12 months. The group of devoted fans who attended 15 or more performances comprised only 5% of the audience, but accounted for 29% of all tickets (3.9 million admissions).

Why do we care about numbers like these for Broadway, and why should you also care about who is coming to your shows (or your business)?

Two reasons:

  1.  The only way to know if marketing initiatives are working is by analyzing the numbers after the initiatives.  Numbers don’t lie.  You want something to increase?  Try something.  Check the data.  And if it doesn’t come out the way you wanted, don’t make up some excuse as to why it might be “off.”  Just try something else and test it again until you get it right.
  2. Knowing who is coming to Broadway and how/why they’re coming to Broadway, helps make it easier for us to design shows and campaigns for that audience.  Does that mean we only make shows that a female tourist audience will enjoy?  No.  The best theater leads an audience in a new direction (e.g. Hamilton).  But it does tell you that your degree of difficulty for marketing a show about 88-year-old men from Antartica might be a little more challenging.  It doesn’t mean don’t do it, but I’d stoke up on that reserve and that ad budget for sure.

There’s a lot more data in this research report from the League.  If you want the full copy, click here to get one.  It costs a few bucks.

But great research always helps you hone your campaign, which both saves you money and makes you money.

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