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.

 

(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

– Enter to win 2 tickets to The Illusion Off-Broadway!  Click here.

– Seminars in Chicago, the weekend of July 9th.  Click here!

 

2 Ways to get rid of discounting on Broadway forever.

I promised this blog for yesterday, then bumped it to today.

And now I feel like a guy who is about to tell a joke and quickly realizes his audience has heard it before.

Because my two ways of decreasing discounting on Broadway are not that revelatory.  In fact, they are so simple, you’ll probably want to electronically punch me in the face for hyping the thought that I had a from-the-mountain-top type of answer to solve Broadway’s discounting ills.

So, without further a-doo-doo, here they are:

1.  Make better shows.

Great shows sell tickets.  Full price tickets.  Now the real question is, “What makes a show ‘better’?”  As I’ve said before, people aren’t price resistant . . . they are value resistant.  They have no problem paying full price plus some when they feel the value of the experience outweighs the cost.  What increases value?  Great writing, big stars, big belly laughs, sloppy tears, spectacle, etc.  It varies for every audience.  Find out what your audience values and do more of that.  If you want a clue as to what the Broadway audience values, well, that’s easy . . . just look at what shows sell out and at full price.  You might not like what you see, but that’s the story, morning glory.

2.  Produce less shows.

There are a pretty fixed number of people that see Broadway shows every year.  It varies by a few percentage points every year (and this year it’s going back in the right direction, thank whomever you pray to), but it stays somewhat constant.  If we reduced our supply for those wanna-see-a-show folks, discounting would decrease, because customers would end up fighting over seats, rather than waiting to get a discount offer in their inbox.  Less supply, greater demand.  It’s Econ 101.

So there are my two ways to get rid of discounting.  What do you think?  Want to e-punch me yet?  I kind of do, because they’re both “duh” ideas.  #1 – We’re all trying to create better shows, right?  No one sets out to create crap (although I do think we can get a lot better at remembering who our audience is before we spend a few million bucks).

And #2?  People aren’t just going to stop producing. And that’s the great thing about this country, this city, and our business.  If you’ve got an idea that you’re passionate about–so passionate that you can convince other people to follow you and put up a few million (and you can get a theater)–well, then, by golly, you should be able to produce your show.  But, since there are only a fixed number of people that see Broadway shows per year, and since there seems to be more available theater seats than that number, you best be prepared to discount.

Discounting is here to stay (and actually it ain’t that new, it’s just more out in the open).  The modern consumer doesn’t just want a discount, they feel entitled to one.

So trying to get rid of discounts altogether is futile.

What we can do is get a lot smarter about how we use them.

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FUN STUFF:

– Enter The Sunday Giveaway!  Win 2 tickets to see Billy Elliot The Musical on Broadway!  Click here and enter today!

– The next Get Your Show Off The Ground seminar is Saturday, April 2nd.  Register today.

 

Where the @$&# is Broadway anyway?

If you asked a NYer where Broadway was, they’d probably point you to the street that runs the length of Manhattan.

If you said, “No, where’s the Broadway they talk about in books,” they’d probably look at you funny,  maybe point you to Times Square and say that’s where most of the theaters are.

They’d have to explain that Broadway doesn’t have an exact physical destination.

Which is why I think it’s time we give it one.

I did something I’ve always wanted to do this weekend and made the drive from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, two tourist destinations that do a very good job of telling you exactly where you are and making a tourist attraction out of it.

How do they do it?  The old-fasioned way.  With a sign.

The Hollywood sign is one of the most famous landmarks in the LA area.  It screams from the hills that you have entered the land of the silver screen.  It even has a website!  And on that website the sign is described by Hugh Hefner as “not simply a sign but a symbol of inspiration.”

In Vegas, when you’re driving down the strip towards the man-made mecca in the desert, you are first greeted by the infamous Welcome To Fabulous Las Vegas sign which was put up in 1959.  It even has a Wikipedia entry!  And more importantly it has a place where you can stop your car, get out, and have your picture taken next to it.

On Broadway . . . we’ve got . . . eh . . . uh . . . huh.

We don’t seem to have a symbol or sign that we’ve entered the theatrical capital of the world.  Sure there are street signs that say Broadway, and there’s the statue of George M. Cohan in Duffy Square, and maybe even the Red Steps and the TKTS booth (but I’m not sure we want a discount destination representing where Broadway begins).  But nothing that says, “Broadway is here!”

So if we don’t have one, maybe we should make one. Maybe it’s a marquis that sits in Times Square.  Or a lit sign on 42nd St.  Or maybe the sign is written in the sidewalks (which reminds me of this blog I wrote about our own Walk of Fame).

Is this cheap?  Or even practical?  Probably not.

But I guarantee that we’d have a ton of tourists taking their pictures in front of it, and it might even inspire a few more to actually take in a show while they are in town.

And maybe, if we’re lucky, it would even have its own Wikipedia page.

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FUN STUFF:

– Play “Will It Recoup?”  You can win a Kindle!  Click here and enter today!

– Need a writing partner?  Come to our Collaborator Speed Date!  RSVP today!

– Enter this Sunday’s Giveaway!  Win 2 tickets to see Priscilla Queen of the Desert!  Click here!

This ain’t no instant win game.

I know what you’re thinking. Because I’ve thought the same way too.

If I can just get the show open, if I can just get the product launched, it’s going to be a instant smash hit.  It’s that good of an idea, script, score, whatever.

The money will pour in. The reviews will be stellar.  And the tickets will sell like hotcakes at an ‘I Love Hotcakes’ convention.

It’s perfectly fine to think that way . . . it’s perfectly fine to fantasize . . . as long as you’re ok with that fantasy not coming true.

Because odds are, it’s not going to happen.

Does that sound negative?  It’s not.  I’m not saying that your show, product, whatever isn’t going to be a super smash hit, but I just wouldn’t count on it being an overnight sensation.

Because business is not like the lottery.  You don’t wake up one morning and find that you’ve hit the jackpot.

No matter how good your show, your product, or your hotcakes are . . . you have to be prepared to put in the work.

But if you’re an entrepreneur, that’s when you’re going to have the most fun anyway.

– – – – –

FUN STUFF:

– Play “Will It Recoup?”  You can win a Kindle!  Click here and enter today!

– Need a writing partner?  Come to our Collaborator Speed Date!  RSVP today!

– Enter this Sunday’s Giveaway!  Win 2 tickets to see Priscilla Queen of the Desert!  Click here!

 

We’re looking for a few good . . . interns

The fall class of interns are getting close to their graduation date, which means we’re looking for a new crew of responsible, hard-working and hungry folks for our spring semester.

If you or anybody you know is interested, check out the intern positing in the classified section of the blog for info on how to apply.  It’s right here.  (There is also a permanent link to the CLASSIFIEDS on the home page of the blog.)

Our interns work hard and have a lot of responsibility, so don’t apply, or send people our way, unless you know that the applicant is willing to get their hands filthy.

But remember how when you were a kid, playing in the mud was fun?  Well, that’s what we strive for.

We also pride ourselves on having a very successful post-internship job placement program.  I’ve promoted 10 interns to full-time positions over the last few years.  And recommended many more.

We think our interns learn a lot, too.  What specifically do they learn?  Well, I’m glad I asked!  I thought it would be interesting for my full-time staff members to find out what our current interns learned this year, so I asked the interns.  When I saw their responses, I thought you might find them interesting as well.

So . . . here are a few of our Intern Takeaways!

Jonny:  I learned the value of working as a team.

Andrew:  I learned how to get a show from rehearsal into its run and make it seem (to the audience, press, general public) like it was effortlessly smooth – and ensure that no one had a nervous breakdown behind the scenes, either.

Jaki:  I learned that networking and job hunting aren’t about what you are looking to do for other people, but about listening to what they need from you, and finding the balance that keeps you wanting to show up and them wanting you there.

Veronica:  I learned the value of seizing opportunities.

For more details on the internship program, click here.

And  if you are looking for a job in any category (acting, technical, admin), make sure you check out our classifieds!  New jobs go up daily.

And Employers?  My readers are just plain awesome.  Smart, motivated, and ready to take your company to another level.  Post your job with us.  Why?  Because it’s free.  We don’t charge.  We want you to find the best people, because only then can the entire theatrical industry improve.

To post a classified for free, click here.

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