Trend alert: Matinees aren’t just for Wednesdays anymore.

Telecharge.com recently sent out an email to its customers with a subject similar to the subject of this blog.

Why?

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.

 

(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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More performance time research revealed.

Telecharge released a third installment of their report on Broadway performance times recently, once again challenging us all to thoroughly examine our perf schedule and ask, “Do we have the best performance times for our customers or are we just going along with tradition?”

This report concentrated solely on Out-Of-Town buyers (tourists) and Suburbanites, since those two groups account from more than 80% of our sales.

Here are a few bullet points from the in-depth analysis:

  • Monday night has the highest percentage of out-of-towners, but Thursday has 3x as many out-of-town sales as Monday.
  • Wednesday evening is typically the weakest-selling performance, but twice as many out-of-towners bought tickets for a Wednesday evening as a Monday evening.
  • Unlike out-of-town buyers, suburban buyers show a significant preference for matinee performances.
  • Sunday and Monday evenings are the two weakest performances for sales to tourists but they have a high percentage of sales from them: 52% and 54%, comparable to Friday and Saturday night.  These performances depend more on tourists than other performances.
  • The peak performances for out-of-town buyers fall between Thursday and Sunday afternoon.
  • Thursday is a stronger performance with out-of-town buyers than Sunday matinee or Wednesday night.

What does all the data in these three reports tell us?  Should we have 7 PM performances on other nights besides Tuesday?  Should we have Thursday and/or Friday matinees?  If tourists are here between Thursday and Sunday, what about a Friday at 5 (like our friends in London)?  What about 9 PMs on Saturday?

These reports don’t have all the answers.  As a therapist once told me . . . “We don’t have all the answers, we just know what questions to ask.”

These fantastic reports challenge us all to ask our own questions about our own specific shows.  Don’t follow tradition for tradition’s sake (unless, of course, you’re doing Fiddler).  Use the stats, study your audience, and shake up your times until you find what works best.

Special thanks to The Shuberts and Telecharge for releasing this info.  (To read the summaries of the previous reports click here and here.)

Let’s hope for more of these in the future.

Or you know what would be really cool?  A Telecharge ticketing blog!

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Do tourists like matinees perfs? Do city residents like Tuesday eves? Results of study revealed.

Our friends at Telecharge, led by the Swami himself, recently completed a very detailed study of our audience and their favorite performance times.  In the words of TCharge, the objective of the study was as follows:

“We decided to see if there were significant differences in the geographical breakdown of customers by performance, using sales data from Telecharge.com Broadway shows for performances between August 31, 2009 and January 3, 2010.”

In other words, does a Manhattanite want to go to a show on a weekday or a weekend?  What about your Aunt Sally who comes in from the Shore?  And what about the family of four from New Mexico who comes in for Christmas?

Here is what Telecharge found out, and there are a few surprises:

SUMMARY

 

·
Tourists
are less likely to buy matinees than evenings.

·
Suburban
theatergoers prefer matinees over evenings. 

·
People
who live in Manhattan prefer Tuesday over Friday or Saturday night.  

·        People who live in Manhattan prefer Thursday performances over ANY other night.

·
More
tourists attend the theatre on Thursday evening than on Wednesday.

DETAILED RESULTS

·
Tourists
(customers from outside the tri-state area) are less likely to buy matinees
than evening performances. 

o    The matinees all have
a below average percentage of sales from tourists

§  The overall average
for all performances was 51%, with the lowest percentage at 41% and the highest
at 66%. 

o    The percentage of
tourists buying for Wednesday matinees was 44%. 

o    Sunday matinee was
the performance with the lowest percentage of tourists at 41%, followed by
Wednesday matinee, then Saturday matinee at 48%. 

o    There are more orders
from tourists for Friday night than Saturday night; the performance with the
next largest number of orders from tourists is Saturday matinee followed by a
big drop to Tuesday, then Thursday evening, Sunday matinee, and then Wednesday
night. 

o    The performance with
the highest percentage of tourists is Sunday evening at 66% followed by Monday
evening at 65%; however, there are more tourists seeing a show on Monday night
than Sunday night.  Friday evening is next at 57% while Saturday night is
55%.

·
Suburban
buyers prefer matinees.  There are more people from the suburbs seeing
theatre on a Saturday or Sunday matinee than there are seeing a show on Friday
or Saturday night. 

o    There are more people
from the suburbs seeing a show on Wednesday afternoon than there are for any
evening performance, including Friday and Saturday night.

o    The performance with
the most orders from the suburbs is Saturday matinee followed by Sunday
matinee, then Wednesday matinee, Saturday evening, and Friday evening.

·
Tuesdays
at 7

o    There are more orders
from tourists for Tuesday night than for Thursday evenings or Sunday matinees.

o    There are more orders
from people living in Manhattan for Tuesday night than for Friday or Saturday
night.

·
Manhattan
buyers.  Tuesday is the second most popular performance of the week for
people from Manhattan, after Thursday.  Friday night is third, then
Saturday, and Wednesday night.  The weekend matinees are a distant sixth
and seventh in order.

 

·
Customers in the Boroughs gravitate
towards weekends:  Saturday matinee, Saturday evening, Sunday matinee,
Friday night, then Tuesday night.  

 

Pretty cool stuff, right?  The above data allows you to target your initiatives accordingly.  Trying to appeal to city dwellers in January?  You now know when they are most likely to want to come to the theater.  Conversely, you now know when they don’t, and when you may have to dig into your marketing/discounting bag o’ tricks to get them out of their hobbit holes.

The other big question that the Telecharge report poses is about that matinee performance time.  Sure, suburbanites love them, but if our tourists are the bread and butter of our audience, maybe during peak tourist season, that matinee time should be later, giving them more time to dance around the city before they sit down to watch dancing chorus boys and girls.

Telecharge is promising some more research on this subject, and when it’s released, I’ll release it to you.

Tremendous thanks to them for doing the work, and for sharing it with us.

Because sharing information makes us all stronger.

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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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