The Business of Broadway: May 2019

 

The competition is stiff as usual. The musicals take center stage, the amount of nominations are high. Will this generate ticket sales? Will it amount high viewership for CBS? If you have not seen the productions nominated, will it even matter to you at all? Can James Corden bring it for another year? This and many other questions circle as we are one month away from the big night! Here’s May 2019’s update. Enjoy!

 

 

Updates: May 2019

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Updates: May 2019

UPDATES FOR READERS OF “THE BUSINESS OF BROADWAY”

 

May 3, 2019

 

CHAPTER 6: TONY AWARDS

As we all know, nominations, in particular in the categories of Best Musical, Best Play, Best Revival of a Musical or Best Revival of a Play, can mean a bump at the box office on the day of nominations. There is also a bump in website traffic relative to how recognized a show is on Nominations Day. These website visitors may not result in immediate sales. Their interest will be sparked by the nominations and we are now capable of following up with them via remarketing efforts. Best Musical Noms see a 137% average boost in website traffic compared to the day before Best Musical Revival Noms see a 77% boost. Musical without a Best Musical or Revival Nomination see a 24% boost.

 

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The Business of Broadway – April 2019

Spring has sprung. Ah, if only money grew on trees. Well, most of the updates have to do with money because money is always changing. So, between the crazy list of theatrical productions you have planned to see this spring, get out to Central Park and soak up some sun. After all, it’s free! Well, New Yorkers pay taxes for it. Thank a New Yorker! Here’s the April update. Enjoy!

Updates: April 2019

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Updates: April 2019

 

CHAPTER 5: (MARKETING & PROMOTION)

A recent eMarketer report announced that 2019 will be the year where US digital ad spending will surpass traditional for the first time ever. We’ve been on this course for quite some time, and it’s finally happening! For Broadway marketing, this is a major adjustment.

CHAPTER 26: (RESOURCES)

The Institute of Financial Wellness for the Arts (IFWA) is a two-pronged venture. One half is a free online database of videos, presentations, and research on the basics of personal finance, the star of which is an hour-long course deconstructing myths about art and commerce. One half is a personal coaching service, which pairs artists with financial advisors, who can assist with both planning and investment management.

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The Business of Broadway – March 2019

This month’s update is about theatre owners. We often hear about the production side of things but, the very houses these productions exist in are just as integral to the industry. The focus this month is on accessibility and the efforts in play to ensure accessibility in all Broadway houses.

Updates: March 2019

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Updates: March 2019

CHAPTER 22: Theatre Owners

Broadway theatres have increased efforts to ensure that the theatre is accessible and open to everyone. One major innovation was the introduction of the GalaPro app that offers closed captioning, audio descriptions, and in many cases language translation.These services are offered on-demand, giving those who need access the ability to enjoy any show, anytime, using their own smartphone or mobile device.
In its first half-year of use, nearly 3500 theatregoers have downloaded and used GalaPro in Shubert houses alone. The vast majority are using GalaPro’s closed captioning technology to better understand the words being spoken or sung on stage, but audio descriptions and translations are getting some play too. There was a spike in translation usage in August 2018, most likely due to higher tourism numbers from Europe.

The light from smart phones can be minimalized during the use of this App.

 

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The Business of Broadway – February 2019

Love is in the air and “The Business of Broadway” just loves to bring you updates from “The Great White Way”. If Broadway were your significant other, it would all be about money. Money makes this business. Oh, and the artistry…but, without the money…anyway, here’s February 2019’s update!

Updates: February 2019

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Updates: February 2019

CHAPTER 5: Marketing / 9: Selling a Flop

 

The Technology that has come to Broadway ticket sales:

When sports commentators note the wind speed and wind direction associated with Olympic sprinters’ race times, they’re using contextual data. The 47 extracurricular activities tacked on to a college applicant’s GPA and test scores? Contextual data. 
So what and where is this data for Broadway ticket buyers and theatergoers? A great source of contextual data are integrated messaging tools that allow people to tell a site what they’re looking for. People often provide more context within a message inquiry, so instead of just a clicking on a “Get Tickets” button, they’ll message, “I’m looking for two tickets in March for my 10th Anniversary.” 

Now we know the basics—two tickets for a March performance—but we also have a contextual data point. Since an important event is prompting the purchase we can predict a couple things: it’s more likely they will want to purchase far in advance, and they are more likely to want better seats (and a higher price point) compared to the average buyer. 

With that important info, we can provide a highly targeted offer, shorten the purchase search timeframe, and convert the inquiry at a higher rate.

 

CHAPTER 10: Producing and Investing 

There are new warnings for producers and investors about bundling money for Broadway shows. Bundling, in simple terms, is when one investor collects investment money from a group of smaller investors and presents it together for greater impact on the production. The Securities and Exchange Commission is considering slapping individuals and their lead producers with civil penalties for operating as “unregistered broker-dealers.” The SEC requires broker-dealers to be registered as such.  

To get around this rule, individuals/”co-producers” should stop publicly soliciting investors through social media or emails and avoid advising investors as to the investment’s value and financial prospects which may trigger an investigation by the S.E.C. 

Also, lead producers should limit the way co-producers” (“bundlers”) can participate. After finding a potential investor, a co-producer can only introduce that investor to the lead producer. The co-producer should operate as a finder, and not a broker-dealer.

CHAPTER 10: Producing and Investing

January 2019: Forbes Magazine is telling us that musicals are making more money on the road than on Broadway. While box office revenues on Broadway have fallen in recent weeks as tourists left New York and the cold winter weather set in, box office revenues of Broadway shows touring across the nation are still quite high. In fact, some musicals made more money last week on the road than on Broadway. … The highest-grossing musical each week on Broadway, Hamilton, also appears to make more money on the road in larger theaters. The tour made $4,309,027 during the previous week, which is more money than the record-breaking show has ever made during a week on Broadway.

CHAPTER 15: Actors

Actors’ Equity Lab and Workshop Contracts have been replaced by a three-tiered agreement with the Broadway League (producers and theatre owners). This comes after 33-day strike prohibiting actors from participating in developmental labs and workshops of new shows. Some rules from the staged reading contract remain. 

Actors and stage managers who develop a show with a League producer will split 1 percent of a Broadway show’s profits once it reaches 110% recoupment, according to the new contract, in an arrangement that lasts 10 years. It will also include profits from touring productions.

Salaries were also increased. Tier One (2 weeks of development work), which does not allow props or choreography has set a minimum weekly salary of $550. Tier Two (2 weeks of work), which allows choreography only), pays a minimum of $900 per week. There is no profit-sharing in either of these tiered contracts. Staged reading rules apply with strict limits on the number times a work can utilize the contract.

In Tier Three of the new agreement, which covers developmental work that lasts between two to eight weeks and includes props and choreography, the minimum salary is now set at $1,250 plus profit-sharing as stated above. All of the above includes pension and health payments as well.

The fact that only 18,000 out of 50,000-odd members of Actors’ Equity ever worked in a given year, and worked, on average, just 16.4 weeks during that year, is more than just unimpressive. (Equity’s own report) And there had not been a raise given in to actors working in “Labs” in over 11 years.

The union had taken the bold move of warning that all non-union actors and stage managers “will be prohibited from joining the union in the future if they agree to take work that is subject to Equity’s strike.”   

With the fortunes being earned by mega-hits like Hamilton, actors who worked in and contributed to the show in its earliest stages were not happy that there was absolutely no financial reward for their work. Hamilton and Mean Girls responded by previously agreeing to profit-sharing realizing their debt to these performersand Equity saw this as a way forward. Of course, the chance that the vast majority of shows earning a profit to share is extremely small.

 

 

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Updates: 2018

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The Business of Broadway is essential reading for anyone interested in producing, investing, or working in theatre. Engaging and illuminating, Mitch Weiss and Perri Gaffney explain the myriad of people and roles they play to collaborate on a show from development to opening night and beyond.


 UPDATES FOR READERS OF “THE BUSINESS OF BROADWAY”

2018 Updates

January 2018

March 2018

April 2018

May 2018

June 2018

July 2018

August 2018

September 2018

October 2018

November 2018

December 2018


Archived Updates

 Updates 2015

Updates 2016

Updates 2017

 

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Updates: January 2019

CHAPTER 10: Producing and Investing

Under a provision of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which began taking effect in 2018 and will appear on tax returns for the first time in 2019, owners of limited liability companies and other pass-through entities are eligible for a tax deduction of up to 20 percent of qualified business income. However, individuals who work in the performing arts, including theater investors, have been excluded from the deduction under the initial guidelines written by the U.S. Treasury Dept. Members of the Broadway League met with the Treasury Department in the fall to argue for the inclusion of Broadway investors. If no new guidelines are released before tax returns are prepared, accountants will operate under the assumption that theater investors are not included. 

CHAPTER 10: Producing and investing; and CHAPTER 13: Box Office

Is it prices or demand for Broadway shows? Total grosses for 2018 were $1.074 billion, up 17% over last season’s pace and attendance up nearly 10%. For sure, prices went up. Not known is whether some producers are inflating their attendance numbers by reporting comps (free tickets) and in some cases, buying their own tickets, as has been reported in past decades. And that would mean that tickets prices increased even more than we know they have.

CHAPTER 14: Press Agents, and CHAPTER 18: Managers

As of Sept 10, 2018, ATPAM salaries increased 3% (per year for the next 5 years) and weekly welfare costs change to $225/wk. This affects Press Agents, House Managers and Company Manager.

CHAPTER 15: Actors

As diversity is embraced in society and on the stage, the estates of certain dead playwrights are objecting vehemently. Arthur Miller’s estate, overseen by Rebecca Miller, the playwright’s daughter, declined to let director Gregory Mosher cast two black actors in a pair of sibling roles normally played by white actors in All My Sons. … In response, Mosher quit the Roundabout Theatre Company revival. 


Jack O’Brien, a Tony-winning director with a long Broadway résumé, is taking over, and the production will continue as scheduled. According to Roundabout, there will be actors of color in All My Sons, just not in the configuration Mosher envisioned

 

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