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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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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