Taxi! Take to me Broadway!

Did you know there are over 13,000 yellow cabs in NYC?  And over 50,000 drivers?

And guess what the #1 form of transportation is for a tourist in our fair city?

Yep, it’s a taxi.

Since tourists take taxis, and tourists make up the bulk of the Broadway audience, there’s got to be more that we can do inside those vehicles to help get the passengers to Broadway.

The tops of the taxis are covered in ads, and the TVs in the back can be purchased as well (for awhile, it seemed like Disney owned those mini-sets), but what about those 50,000 drivers?

In cities like Las Vegas, where tourists depend heavily on the taxi trade, shows and clubs invite the cabbies to experience their events, just like Broadway shows invite concierges and waiters/waitresses.

We don’t.  Ever.


Well, because NYC cabbies have a rep.  I mean, come on, my GPS is friendlier than 90% of the cab drivers I meet (at least my GPS talks to me, and doesn’t spend the whole ride on the phone).

We’ve made major strides in changing some of the perceptions about NYC over the past twenty years.  The sex shops are gone. The subway is safer.  But we haven’t been able to turn the taxi drivers into mobile concierges just yet.

If you’re reading, Mayor Bloomberg, it’s time to start focusing on turning the 50,000 drivers into our ambassadors.  It’s a major challenge, considering that driving a cab is a first job for so many that come to our country, but it’s unrealized marketing potential.  Their influence could be more powerful than any billboard, any banner ad, or any ad played on the TV set in the back seat.

After all, these 50,000 are the people that are literally driving sales.


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Trend alert: Matinees aren’t just for Wednesdays anymore. recently sent out an email to its customers with a subject similar to the subject of this blog.


Because this summer, a bunch of shows are shaking up their schedules.

  • Baby It’s You has performances on Friday at 2 PM.
  • Chicago has performances on Thursday at 3 PM.
  • Rock of Ages has performances on Friday at 3 PM.
  • Mamma Mia has a couple of Friday performances at 2 PM.
  • (Book of Mormon had some Friday mats scheduled at one point, but has since reverted to a standard sched.)

So what’s with this new strategy?  Well, it’s the summer, so more tourists are roaming the streets of Times Square, and these shows are trying to go around their competition.  While the shows may not sell out at these “odd” times,” the theory is that there are people that want to see shows at alternative times.  And while there may be 30+ shows competing for an audience on a Friday night, there may less than a handful competing for that audience on a Friday mat.  And a show just might net higher than on a Tuesday or Wednesday night.

London has always offered earlier Friday performances, and I’ve been pitching a summer “Friday at 5” schedule for years.

Most of these shows will snap back to their regular schedule when September comes, and by then we’ll have some data on whether the experiment worked.

I’ll try to do some digging to see if I can get a source from one of these shows to share.

Whether or not they work, big kudos to the decision makers on these shows for giving it a shot.  It takes a lot to deviate from the norm, especially in this change-resistant industry.

But exploration like this is how we discover new ways of solving age-old problems.


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– 87 Days to Godspell!  Read the day-by-day account of producing Godspell on Broadway here.

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A survey: what do people do when they LOSE the lottery?

My office is right next to Book of Mormon, so every day and twice on Saturdays, I see a 100+ folks crossing their fingers hoping that they’ll win the lottery and get to see the show that night.

30 or so people get lucky.

My question . . . what happens to the others?  These people are “in the mood” to see a show.  They’ve set aside the time to see a show.  They are in the location where lots and lots of shows happen.

Surely, they see another show, right?

Well as my mom always said, “Surely” is nothing but the name of our crazy neighbor with the 10 cats.

So, we decided to find out.

Last weekend, my staff and I hit the streets and asked lottery losers at Mormon, Wicked, and a few other shows in town just what they planned to do after their hopes and dreams were crushed by fate.

First of all, we wanted to know where they were from.  Do tourists know about the lottery?  Is this a NY secret?  Here are the numbers:

  • 46% of Lottery Players were from the tristate
  • 54% were from outside the tristate

It’s not the secret many of us thought it was.

When they lost the lottery, here’s what our responders said they’d do instead:

  • 31% see another show
  • 24% go home
  • 22% do something else (movies, shopping, lunch, etc)
  • 16% don’t know
  • 7% try to get tickets to that show (cancellation line, SRO, box office)
So what does that tell us?
Good news and bad news.
The good news is that 47% of the losers (“see another show” plus “don’t know”) could be ripe to buy tickets to something else (maybe your show).
Your challenge is making sure they find their way to your show.

The bad news is that 53% are not inclined to go to another show if they lose, even though they have the time, some cash, and are steps away from TKTS, other lotteries, theaters, etc.

And that’s the challenge for all of us.


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– 92 Days to Godspell!  Read the day-by-day account of producing Godspell on Broadway here.

– Win 2 tickets to Silence, Shrek or Rocky Horror. Click here!

Godspell tickets officially on sale starting today.

officially entered its “soft sale” period today.

If you’ve enjoyed my blog, I hope you’ll get a ticket today.

Because I know you’ll love the show.

Get Godspell tickets here.

And if you want a definition of “soft sale,” click here.


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– 94 Days to Godspell!  Read the day-by-day account of producing Godspell on Broadway here.

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Why are Wednesdays the worst night of the week?

Wednesday evenings suck.

That simple.

If it wasn’t for the more successful Wednesday matinees, most shows would take the whole day off.

But why are they so bad?  Ok, it’s the middle of the week.  It makes sense.  You’re sitting on the hump, so who wants to go out and see a show?

That’s not the only reason, though.

Our friends at Telecharge shared some more data yesterday that helps us understand one of the reasons why a show’s Wednesday mats might be strong and the evening weak.  Take it away, Telecharge!

We look at a lot of data on theatergoers whose addresses indicate they’re from out-of-town, but we often neglect the fact that they may not be overnight visitors. Many of them are from nearby metro areas within the Northeast Corridor, who are traveling into the city just for the day. And while most overnight visitors arrive closer to the weekend, these day-trip visitors come to the city, see a matinee, and return home — many on weekdays. Almost three-quarters of the people who arrived on a Wednesday saw a show on Wednesday — the highest percentage for any day of the week — and nearly 80% of those out-of-town customers live within the Northeast Corridor.

If we take a closer look at the habits of these Northeast Corridor day-trip buyers, we see that 70% of these visitors who attended a Wednesday show saw a matinee; on Saturdays, 60% of Northeast Corridor visitors saw the matinee. This is probably not surprising, but it helps us understand why some shows struggle to sell Wednesday nights. If most of the Wednesday tourist audience are day-trippers who leave town after the matinee, then are shows who depend on tourists trying to paddle upstream by playing Wednesday nights?

Visitors from the Northeast Corridor have buying patterns similar to suburban customers.   In fact, the performances preferred by Northeast Corridor visitors in order of sales are:  Saturday Matinee, Saturday night, Sunday Matinee, Wednesday Matinee, and Friday evening.

So next time you think about how your show markets itself to buyers from Philly or Hartford (or even Boston and D.C.), consider that those folks may just be here for the day.

Good stuff, right?  I love these reports and was happy to see this one arrive in my inbox, so thanks T-Charge.   Looking forward to the next!

But back to the Wednesday nights for a sec – if we all know they suck, and since it’s really hard not to play them, shouldn’t we try to figure out a way to make these performances more special?

Should Wed eves be cheaper than other performances?  Should Wednesdays be like bat-day at Shea Stadium and every ticket holder get a piece of merch?  Should it be Wednesdays at 7 instead of Tuesdays at 7?  Should we work with the unions to figure out an easier way to play the Wed mat without the Wed eve (playing it now means you also have to play Tuesday night, which is another night when tix are in less demand).

We’ve isolated an issue.  And thanks to the Telecharge data we even understand why it is the way it is.  Now we have to address it.


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