Who am I surveying next? Myself!

Last week’s Tony Awards survey and its revealing results got me in the surveyin’ spirit.

When I was thinking about who to survey next, I realized that it has been some time since we have taken a survey of . . . YOU!

As you know, I’m a big believer in constantly asking your audience what they think of your show, your marketing, the amount of ice cubes in your $10 cokes, etc.  Are you going to pay attention to every comment that you get?  No.  But if you see the same comment more than thrice. . . Well, then I’d investigate if I were you.

And now it’s time to practice what I preach!

Below is a link to a quick survey that will ask you some demographic info (so we can reveal just who is reading TPP – which I will do so publicly), and it’ll also ask you to give us some feedback on the blog.  And I’ll use that feedback to make the blog better for all of you.  Promise.

So if there’s something you want less of–or more of–now is your chance.

Click here to take the Producer’s Perspective Survey!

 

(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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– Enter to win 2 tickets to the High School Tony Awards, aka The Jimmies!  Click here.

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.

 

(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

– Come to our Tony Awards Party!  Click here for more info and to get your ticket now!

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Was Rocco right? Is there too much theater out there?

Leave it Rocco to create a little controversy.

Last week, our National Endowment for the Arts Chairman had this to say about the economic challenges facing theaters around the country today:

“You can either increase demand or decrease supply.  Demand is not going to increase, so it is time to think about decreasing supply.”

This frightening rational argument set the blogosphere ablaze with comments defending our ability to increase demand.  There was a rallying cry of “We can do it!” heard from theater folks all over the country, and some even called for Rocco’s resignation for his seemingly defeatist attitude about our inability to increase our audience.

But was he wrong?

Rocco was referring to regional theaters in his speech, and since that isn’t my area of expertise, I’ll refrain from chiming in.

But I will talk about Broadway.

If you’re been reading my blog for awhile, then you know I’ve been jumping up and down and waving my arms like a crazy person about our attendance figures.  For the three years prior to this season, our attendance has dropped . . . a trend which has not occurred in 25 years.  (Gulp)  We are picking up some of those last bodies this year, but we’ve got a long way to go to get back to earlier levels.  At the same time, we keep celebrating because our grosses get bigger and bigger every year.  Less people but more money.  (I’m not sure if raising prices to make up for the gap is the most sound economic policy . . . you?)

So as Rocco said, demand has not just leveled off, it has dropped.

At the same time, this past Fall saw an increase of almost 10% of the number of playing weeks of Broadway shows.  Yep, despite less people coming, we produced more shows.  And all of this in the middle of an economic pullback.

We have to be one of the only industries in the history of industries that in the midst of a recession, actually increases production!  Imagine if right after asking for a bailout, Detroit decided to start producing more cars.  Imagine if in the midst of the foreclosure crisis, a construction company said, “What we need to do is build more homes!”

But that’s exactly what we do.

And some of the shows that have been produced, let’s face it, might not have needed to be.  (I can name at least 2 if not 3 shows that could have stayed off the Broadway boards this year and saved a lot of folks a lot of money.)

But the free market allows for anyone to produce anything, as long as they can raise the money and get a coveted theater.

What might be better for all of us, is if we took a second look at shows before we rushed out and got them done.  Slowing production, or decreasing supply, as Rocco said, might make us . . .

  • Focus on the audience that is here and give them better quality shows that they’ll enjoy more
  • Save investors money since there is more risk for failure if there are more shows than there is audience
  • Create more competion between our vendors and therefore stabilize or, God forbid, lower prices.

So, while I do disagree with Rocco in that I believe there are a number of things we can do to increase demand, and we should . . . he wasn’t wrong about the state of our supply.

We just might not want to hear it.

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Enter to win this Sunday’s Giveaway: 2 Tickets to Catch Me If You Can!  Click here.

 

Broadway audience demographics for 2009-10 released!

It’s that time to year!  Time to looking into the Broadway stocking and see what Santa stuffed it with.

Every year, The Broadway League studies the demographics of the Broadway theatergoer.  And every year, we take a look at the Executive Summary to determine if things are changing from year to year, and to see what changes we should implement in our businesses in order to encourage even more theatergoing from this group in the future.

Here’s what the study said about the Broadway audience this year:

  • In the 2009-2010 season, approximately 63% of all Broadway tickets were purchased by tourists.
  • 63% of the audiences were female. This reflects the trend of the past few decades.
  • The average age of the Broadway theatregoer was 47.9 years, older than in the past few seasons.
  • Three quarters of all tickets were purchased by Caucasian theatregoers.  Although still mostly homogeneous, audiences have become slightly more diverse in the past decade and there was a higher percentage of Asian theatregoers this season.
  • Broadway theatregoers were a very well-educated group. Of theatregoers over 25 years old, 77% had completed college and 39% had earned a graduate degree.
  • Broadway theatregoers were also quite affluent compared to the general population, reporting and average annual household income of $200,700.
  • The average Broadway theatregoer reported attending 4.5 shows in the previous 12 months.  The group of devoted fans who attended 15 or more performances comprimsed only 6% of the audience, but accounted for 31% of all tickets (3.7 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, five.
  • 34% of respondents said they bought their tickets online.
  • Also, 34% bought their tickets more than one month prior to the show.
  • The most popular sources of theatre information were Broadway.com, The New York Times, and word-of-mouth.
  • 69% of those making the purchasing decision were female.
  • At musicals, 46% of audience members said that personal recommendation was the most influential factor in deciding to attend the show while 23% cited critics’ reviews.  On the other hand, at plays, 31% cited personal recommendation and 32% named critics’ reviews.
  • In general, advertisements were not reported to have been influential in making the purchasing decision.
  • 72% of the Broadway audience said that some kind of incentive (discounts, freebies, add-ons), would encourage them to attend shows more often.

Fascinating stuff, right?  Check out previous year summaries by clicking here.  Compare the year to year!  It’s fun!

The full demographic report goes into much further detail than the above.  If you’d like to get a copy, you can order it here.  If you’re developing, writing or producing a show for Broadway, these reports are required reading.

Because this is your audience, whether you like it or not.

How can you tell a demographic is changing?

Times Square is one of the most coveted retail opportunities in the world.  Hundreds of thousands of people cross through the intersection of Broadway and 7th every single day, to sightsee, to buy tickets at TKTS, and, now, to shop.

But what kind of stores are popping out, now that we’ve lost Virgin Megastore and the Howard Johnson’s diner (remember that place?).

I’ve been watching the new vendors moving in very closely, because it’s going to give us an idea of the demo that is gonna be roaming through the block over the next several years.

If you stand in the middle of Times Square and spin around like a kid trying to get dizzy, this is what you’ll see:

Planet Hollywood
The Disney Store
Forever 21
Hard Rock Cafe
Bubba Gump
MTV Studios
American Eagle

And so on . . .

In other words?  Times Square is now a big, flashy mall.

And that means the mall demographic, including a heck of a lot of teens (and families), will be passing through our hallowed halls in numbers greater than ever before.

Which means that shows that appeal to that demo are going to have a much easier time finding their audience.

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