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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