Who sees Broadway shows on the road anyway?

The annual Broadway League report that details the demographics and habits of the audience of Broadway shows around the country was released last week.

And, I’ve got the skinny.

Audiences at over twenty theaters from LA to Boston and several in between were asked a bunch of questions, and then the data was crunched and spit out for us to analyze, and use to our advantage as we develop and market product in the future.

And if we don’t use it, then it’s totally WITHOUT value.  Information that isn’t used, is like an unloaded weapon in the middle of a war; it makes you looks like you know what you’re doing, but at the first sign of trouble, you’re dead meat.

Now that I’ve shot off that depressing simile, here are the highlights from the Executive Summary of the report.

Ready?

  • In the 2009-2010 season, there were nearly 16 million attendances to Broadway touring shows across North America.
  • Seventy-two percent of attendees were female.
  • The average age of the Touring Broadway theatregoer was 53.8 years old.
  • The vast majority of theatregoers were Caucasian.
  • Seventy-four percent of the audience held a college degree and 31% held a graduate degree.
  • Forty-six percent of national theatregoers reported an annual household income of more than $100,000, compared to only 20% of Americans overall.
  • Thirty-six percent of respondents were subscribers to the “Broadway Series” at their local venue.
  • On average, Touring Broadway attendees saw 4.4 shows per year.
  • Women continued to be more likely than men to make the decision to purchase tickets to the show.
  • Nearly two-thirds of audiences looked to the theatre’s website to find information about the show.
  • Other than being included in the subscription, personal recommendation was the most influential source for show selection.
  • The Tony Awards® were also reported to be more influential this season than in previous seasons. Eighteen percent of respondents said that Tony Awards® or nominations were a reason they attended the show, compared to 14% in the 2007-2008 and 8% in the 2005-2006 season. Furthermore, 8% responded that seeing a scene of the show on the Tony® telecast encouraged them to attend the show, compared to 4% in previous years.
  • Advertising was less influential than it had been in the past, but noted forms were print ads, television commercials, and internet ads.
  • Thirty-five percent of Touring Broadway theatregoers used the Internet to purchase their tickets, up from 26% in the 2008-2009 season.
  • Advance sales to single-ticket buyers has increased in comparison to the past several years.
  • Most Touring Broadway theatregoers attended in small groups of family or friends.
  • Sixty-two percent 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.
  • The vast majority of Touring Broadway theatregoers arrived at the venue by personal car.
  • Besides theatre, moviegoing was by far the most popular leisure activity.
  • Twenty-seven percent of respondents said they made a visit to New York City in the past year.
  • Seventy-one percent of respondents said that different performance times would not make a difference in encouraging them to attend Touring Broadway more frequently.
  • Sixty-nine percent of respondents said they would prefer to receive theatre information electronically, rather than via postal mail.

The complete report is over 60 pages and can be ordered here.

 

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Broadway Grosses End of Q2 2010 Report: Fall is full.

As we enter the final week of November, we leave behind the Second Quarter of the Broadway season.  We’re at half-time and it’s time to check in on how this year is faring so far.

According to the results provided by The Broadway League, here are the totals from Q2:

GROSS

Season to Date:  $505,746,394
Last Season to Date:  $500,376,907

% Difference:  1.1%

ATTENDANCE

Season to Date:  5,911,685
Last Season to Date:  5,806,155

% Difference:  1.8%

The positive trend in both categories continues this year, but the increases have slipped from Q1, as I predicted.

There’s another figure that continues to be up.  Way up, in fact.  In Q2 there were 744 playing weeks versus 686 weeks the year prior. That’s an 8.5% increase.

That’s a heck of a lot more shows!

And that’s somewhat of a buzz kill to the increases in gross and attendance posted above. If we have 8.5% more shows, and only an increase of 1.1% in gross and 1.8% in attendance, that means the additional cash and those additional bodies are spread pretty thin over the very full Fall schedule.

With this much more product, shouldn’t there be that much more gross and that many more people?

Unfortunately, that’s not how it worked this Q2.

Expect the playing week increase to go down dramatically this next Quarter.  I count at least 15 shows posting their closing notice in the next few weeks, and that number could be as high as 20.

Unfortunately, the gross and attendance increase will go down as well.

Broadway’s 1st Quarter Results: Summer Lovin’ happened so fast.

With the end of the summer comes the end of the first 13 weeks of the
Broadway season, which means it’s time for us to check in and see how
the grosses and attendance are stacking up so far.

And lo and behold, it looks like Santa got his seasons messed up, because we got a nice present this summer!

Grosses
are up a considerable 2.9% this quarter, as compared to the first 13
weeks of last season.  Attendance notched up 1.1% as well.

This is quite a difference from the first quarter last year, when we were down 3.2% in the gross column and 9.6% in the attendance column.

Why the difference?  Is the economy better?  Were there more tourists in town?

I think the answer is simpler than that.

In the first 13 weeks of this season, there were simply more shows.  Playing weeks were up 7.3% over last year.

I
think we’ll slip back a bit this Fall, as the season looks a little
light (I’m expecting a surprise closing announcement from at least one
show).  However, I am still holding firm with my projection that will see modest increases in both attendance and grosses for the year . . .

. . . Especially now that Spider-Man looks like it’s finally ready to cast his web.

See you in Q2!

Broadway’s 3rd Quarter results: The final furlong begins.

We’ve rounded the last turn on this Broadway season.  There are just thirteen weeks to go before we put another one in the books.

But will this one go in the record books?

It looks like the answer is yes . . . for two very different reasons.

At the end of the third quarter, our grosses are still up a fractional .5% over last year’s numbers.  If we can hold on to that itsy-bitsy growth, Broadway will have another record-grossing year.

To be honest, I thought we’d have dropped into negative territory this quarter, but we managed to hold steady. How?  Remember those 2 million dollar Wicked weeks?  Our biggest hits, including Wicked and J-Boys, mastered variable and premium pricing this year, and made up for the big grossing shows (Steady Rain, Hamlet, etc.) that came and went.

On the other end of the spectrum, our attendance is still down an unfortunate 4% from last year, which means my pre-season prediction of a drop in seasonal attendance for the third year in a row looks to be as sure as a Tony nom for Liev Schreiber.  Why will this drop go in the record books?  It’s the third drop in a row, and that hasn’t happened in 25 years.  (To cut us some slack, this last year we were in the midst of a slight economic crisis, in case any of you haven’t heard.)

But we’ve still got one quarter left, and a couple of big musicals in big houses yet to open, not to mention all those plays.  Maybe we’ll see a turnaround?

As we head into the final furlong, I’ll be cheering hard for a come-from-behind win at the wire.  But I’m not rooting for the grosses to go up . . . it’s that attendance figure I want to even out.

Unfortunately, that one’s a real long shot.

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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