Something I haven’t done in awhile.

For those of you new to the blog, one of the first things I did on Broadway that got some national (and even international) attention was my crowd-funded Godspell

One of the reasons I chose that massive legal and logistical undertaking was because, well, Stephen Schwartz told me that Godspell was about a community of people coming together . . . so I wanted to bring together the largest community of Broadway Investors ever (I’m a big fan of marrying your marketing message with your artistic message).

And the other reason I did it was because I had this theory.  See, I believed there were thousands and thousands of people out there who were interested in investing in Broadway shows, but . . .

1) They didn’t know who to talk to about it.

and . . .

2) They didn’t know how it worked!

The response to the Godspell offering was overwhelming, to say the least, and it proved my theory correct.  Investing in Broadway shows has, in the past, been for a very select group of folks, and often we kept more people out than we invited in.  And even when new folks got into the ‘club’ they often didn’t know what was happening after they wrote the check!

Since then, Broadway has gone through one of the biggest booms in its history and interest in Broadway Investing has skyrocketed.  Because when any industry posts numbers in the billions as we have, people come from all over hoping to find “the next Hamilton.”

And whenever you rush into anything, you can often make mistakes.

That’s what led me to develop a workshop on Broadway Investing several years ago, and eventually publish this book, Broadway Investing 101, a best seller on Amazon.com and the only book on Broadway Investing on the market.

But books are no substitute for the live, in-person, experience, right?  (We all love the theater, don’t we?)

That’s why, we’re reviving the Broadway Investing Workshop!  And we’ve got TWO dates coming up . . .

Tuesday, March 10th at 7 PM

Monday, April 6th at 7 PM

In this Broadway Investing workshop, you’ll learn

  • The myths of Broadway investing, and how exactly the money flows
  • Who to talk to and where to find Broadway investment opportunities
  • How to decide if an investment opportunity is right for you
  • Simple strategies to mitigate your risk and increase your chances of profitability
  • How to maximize the perks of Broadway investing

If you are interested in learning more about Broadway Investing, whether you’re thinking about investing yourself or if you’re just curious about how shows like Hamilton are funded, click here to join us for either date.

The seminar is $99 and we’re keeping the group small to make sure I can answer all your questions.

Oh, and everyone who comes will get a free copy of my book.

So grab your seat now.

 

(Interested in learning about Broadway investing, but can’t attend the live seminar on March 10th or April 6th? Click here to get your copy of my book “Broadway Investing 101: How to Make Theater and Yes, Even Make Money” on Amazon.)

3 Reasons Why The Hamilton Movie is Great for Broadway.

There was big news to begin this week, and it was broken by the maestro himself.  In case you missed it, here’s what Lin-Manuel Miranda tweeted on Monday:

With just those few fragmented sentences, the internet blew up as more specifics about the all-out war for the rights emerged.  Disney won the bloody battle, and it only cost them . . . “wait for it” . . . $75mm.

Before you start trying to figure out how much Lin-Manuel will make on that payout or what the Broadway Investors will earn, let’s look at the macro of it all first.

Because this deal is one of the most significant things to happen to Broadway since . . . well . . . Hamilton itself.

And here are just three reasons why this mega Hamilton movie deal is grrrrrrrreat for all of Broadway, not just those folks who get a piece of that $75mm pie:

  1. The story and therefore stories go on. The commercial and artistic success of Hamilton was a lightning rod of attention from theatergoers and media outlets all over the world.  I remember before and after it opened, seeing article after article in every publication I read or every show I watched.  I even think they mentioned the show in Golf Digest!  One reporter told me, “We just keep writing Hamilton articles because that’s all anyone wants to read!”  That kind of focus on a show puts a focus on Broadway overall.  Hamilton made our industry very cool.And just when the stories had cooled in the other direction, here comes this even bigger one. And just wait until the movie is released in 2021!The Producers and Creators could easily have waited another decade to release the film (like when they wanted a steroid shot to their box office since we have data that film releases always boost box office grosses).  By getting it in movie theaters early, they will keep the spotlight on the show (of course), but on all of us at the same time.  So tip your revolutionary hat to ’em.
  2. They ARE giving away their shot . . . or WHAT they shot! Disney isn’t making a new movie.  They are taking what was already shot early in the run with that amazing original cast!  Yes, the Producers had the foresight to put it down on film in case they wanted to, oh I don’t know, sell it for $75mm someday!!!  (Side note – the $75mm purchase price makes a lot more sense now, doesn’t it . . . because Disney could have easily spent $100mm to make the film.  This way they’re getting one already in the can!)What this is going to demonstrate is that there is tremendous value in putting our content down on video for later downstream revenue.  Currently, not every show can afford to do this, but the success of Hamilton will hopefully get all the parties to the table to find a way to record ALL shows for future use.  Actors, Investors, Stagehands . . .and Audiences . . . can all benefit.
  3. About that $75mm. Let’s talk about that elephant-sized load of cash in the room.  $75mm looks like it is the biggest film acquisition deal . . . in the history of the world!  And you know what got Disney to pony up that kind of cash?  Not Star Wars.  Not Avatar.  But a musical.  A Broadway freakin’ musical.Once again, this deal proves that Broadway isn’t just big business . . . it just might be the biggest business in the entertainment medium . . . because it has the most upside.  Our stars may not have as many Insta followers as an actor in the latest Marvel movie . . . but the fact is, there’s a lot of money to be made here.  And this deal proves it.And when deals like this are announced in any industry, more money flocks to said industry.  Companies, Investors, Artists, etc. will all be trying to find the next Hamilton.  And hopefully this influx of resources and talent will allow our industry to take even greater risks and create even greater art.  And maybe sell it for $80mm.

    BONUS!  Here’s a 4th reason why this deal is aw-aw-awesome for everyone.

  4. Everyone will get to see it. Hamilton is the Cartier or Tiffany’s of Broadway musicals.  Not everyone can afford to see it.  But now they can.  This movie will educate and inspire a whole new generation of artists and theatergoers to get involved with the arts . . . and especially a diverse generation.  In fact, this movie could be the greatest tool we have to diversify the theater in the next decade.

You looking forward to the Hamilton movie?  Do you think it’s good for Broadway?  Comment below.

– – – – –

If you’re interested in learning how that $75mm trickles down to its Broadway Investors, click here to learn how the money from these kinds of deals flows.

 

What is the recoupment rate of REVIVALS in the last ten years? Part III

When I first started producing shows and had to talk to potential investors, I put musicals into two different metaphorical buckets to make the risk levels easier to understand.

I described the two categories of musicals (original and revival) like this:

New musicals were like stocks.  More risk, but a potential for a greater return.

Revivals of musicals were like bonds.  Less risk, but the upside was limited (lack of subsidiary rights participation, shorter runs, etc.)

Since then, I’ve produced new musicals and three revivals (Godspell, Spring Awakening and Once on This Island).

My experience with these shows as well as watching what has happened with the other revivals over the past few seasons has given me that reach-for-the-Tums uneasy feeling.

So, for this third blog in our three-part Recoupment Study (See Part I and Part II here), I decided to dig into the recoupment rate of Broadway musical revivals over the last ten years.

Here’s what I found out.

In the past ten seasons on Broadway, the recoupment rate for Broadway musicals is . . . drumroll please . . . 18.52%.

Did you pop a Tums yet?  Cuz I just downed four.

See, we know that the average recoupment rate on Broadway is 20% . . . and sure, sure, this revival recoupment rate isn’t that much under 20%, but it is under!  And we’re talking about revivals!  The “bonds” of Broadway!  A revival has brand awareness!  It also has a limited upside!  So it should be less risky.  But, in the past several years it has been more difficult to get your money back on a revival than a new musical.

Argh.

I wasn’t satisfied with just this info, so I decided to dig into this subject a little shallower . . . meaning I examined the data over the last 5 years to see if I could see a trend from the 10-year span to the five-year span.  What did I discover?

In the past five seasons on Broadway, the recoupment rate for Broadway musical revivals is . . . drumroll please . . . 16.67%.

That’s right.  It’s getting HARDER for revivals of musicals to get their money back on Broadway . . . despite their limited upside.

What does this mean?

It doesn’t mean that we should stop producing or investing in revivals.  But if we are going to produce a revival or invest in one, it does mean that we need to structure our deals with the Authors, Stars, Vendors, etc. differently, because the safety of a pre-existing theatrical brand isn’t enough anymore.  Based on this data, Producers and investors are going to need more of a reason to jump into a revival, or they will only focus on new shows . . . and leave the revivals to the Non-Profits.

Or maybe, as Little Shop and Fiddler have proven, the way to produce a revival today is to do it Off Broadway and not on.

But we need to do something, because while I am so proud of the three revivals I produced, one of which got me a Tony Award, the numbers have spoken and they are saying to this Broadway Producer, “Don’t produce another one.”

It’s hard not to listen to numbers.

– – – – –

Want to learn more about investing in Broadway, including how it works and tips on how to pick a “winner”?  Read the only book ever written on the subject.  Click here.

 

The Demographics of the Broadway Audience 2018-2019

One of the many great services of the Broadway League is the demographic survey they do of our audience.

It’s essential for any industry or business to find out who its customers are in order to . . .

  1. Tailor our marketing dollars towards the people who are coming to make our advertising more efficient.
  2. Find out who is NOT coming, so we can make concerted efforts to get them TO come.

The future of our industry and our art depends on the above, which is why these surveys are so important, and why I summarize them for you here.

Here are the top-level bullet points from this year’s demographic survey of the Broadway Audience:

  • In the 2018–2019 season, Broadway shows welcomed 14.8 million admissions, an all-time high.
  • Approximately 35% of those attendances were by people from the New York City metropolitan area.
  • Sixty-five percent of admissions were made by tourists: 46% from the United States (but outside New York City and its suburbs) and 19% from other countries.
  • This represents the highest number of attendances by foreign visitors in history— 2.8 million.
  • Sixty-eight percent of the audiences were female.
  • The average age of the Broadway theatregoer was 42.3 years old. This average has hovered between 40 and 45 years old for the past two decades.
  • Along with the overall growth in attendance, the number of admissions by non-Caucasian theatregoers reached a record high of 3.8 million.
  • Of theatregoers age 25 or older, 81% had completed college and 41% had earned a graduate degree.
  • The average annual household income of the Broadway theatregoer was $261,000.
  • The average number of attendances by the Broadway theatregoer was 4.4 in the past year. The group of devoted fans who attended 15 or more performances comprised only 5% of the audience, but accounted for 28% of all tickets (4.15 million admissions).
  • Playgoers tended to be more frequent theatregoers than musical attendees. The typical straight-play attendee saw seven shows in the past year; the musical attendee, four.
  • Respondents reported having paid an average of $145.60 per ticket.
  • Fifty-nine percent of respondents said they purchased their tickets online.
  • The average reported date of ticket purchase for a Broadway show was 47 days before the performance, four days more than the previous season.
  • Google was the most common initial source theatregoers named when they were asked where they looked for information about Broadway shows. Ticketmaster and Broadway.com followed Google.
  • Twenty-two percent said that they relied primarily on word-of-mouth from people they knew.
  • Most theatregoers attended in pairs or small groups of family or friends.
  • The vast majority of current theatregoers had some connection to theatregoing as a child.

 

Want your copy of the full report (which goes into MUCH more detail than the above?  Click here.)

In case you weren’t there, here’s what I said – in a picture.

The only thing I enjoy more than speaking to Theater Organizations (and I’ve had the honor of speaking to a bunch over the last few years, from The Irish Theatre Forum to The International Thespian Society), is speaking to Non-Theater Organizations.

And last September, I was asked to speak at Cre8Con in Portland – which brought together creative types from across all industries.  It’s a great conference and, if you’re in the Northwest, go check it out next year.

I did one of my favorite talks – about “serving the tennis ball” and the one thing that the most successful people I know have in common about how they got started.

I had almost forgotten about it . . . and then Cr8Con sent me the coolest thing – a graphic encapsulation of the talk.  I thought it was such a unique “gift” that I had to share it.

See if you get a clue as to what the @#$% I was talking about it from the below.

And go check out Cr8Con!

 

 

 


One of my missions is to get more people talking about the theater and the arts.  So if you want me to speak at your next event, click here.

Ken Davenport
Ken Davenport

Tony Award-Winning Broadway Producer

I'm on a mission to help 5000 shows get produced by 2025.

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