3 Companies Broadway should partner with post pandemic

We can’t do this alone.

I’m bullish about Broadway’s return and the roarin’ 20s renaissance that IS on our horizon. But my positive prediction doesn’t mean it’s going to happen overnight.

To get our business doing the #s we did before (and employing the number of people we did before), we’re going to need help.

But who?

One of the things I learned watching the world deal with this crisis, is that when the COVID hits the fan, competitors can become partners.

Governments, drug companies, big tech . . . came together to solve the problem.

So this is an opportunity for us to reach across the aisle and shake the hands (yep, we’re going to be able to do that again when we’re all vaccinated), of companies and industries we’ve never gotten along with before.

And the types of partners we need?  They’re not “branding partners.”  Oh no. Branding ain’t going to get our nose up in the air as fast as we need it. We need direct-response, straight-to-consumer, sales channels.

And here are three companies and industries we should do sit down with right away that can help us with just that:

1.  Amazon
Rumor has it that Amazon wanted in the Broadway ticket game a few years ago. And that conversations with the ticketing companies went pretty far. Until they blew up at the 11th hour over the sharing of customer data.

And they walked away.

Now is the time we should head back to the table, with our Chorus Line (italicize) top hat in hand.

Because we all know how Amazon has grown over the past year. They have even more customers than they had before.  And guess what?  That’s not going to stop anytime soon.

And what do we need? We need to reach our customers in new ways (and where they already are). And we need to find NEW customers.

Yes, they’re going to want data. But, honestly? They are better at data than we are! So if we gotta give something up, to access to their recommendation engine, one click buying, and more, I’m all for it.

A partnership with Amazon may NOT have been the best thing for us before. But now?

Sign me up.

(Imagine Broadway Prime – where you pay a yearly fee and don’t pay service fees no matter how many tickets you buy!)

2.  Ticket Brokers
Grrrrrrrr.  That’s the usual reaction when you mention Ticket Brokers to a Broadway Producer.  In fact, one of the original reasons for the creation of The Broadway League back in the early 1900s was to prevent brokers from getting too much control.

But let’s think about this a second.

Ticket Brokers have thousands and thousands if not millions of buyers.

And those buyers? A ton of them pay MORE than full price. And are happy about it!

Ticket Brokers have our BEST customers. The premium buyers. The high rollers.

And Business 101 says that when you need cash (and the shows coming back will), go to your biggest clients first.

The Ticket Brokers could reach them for us.  And now could be a time we help them with some of their needs if they help us get their customers back to Broadway.

This is sacrilege in theater industry circles – which is ironic, because we already do big business with a huge ticket broker (you know it as Broadway.com).

Netflix has an appetite for Broadway.  They’ve done Diana, Oh Hello, American Son and more. And I happen to know they have been in conversations about lots of other titles.

They also have capital. You know what we have?  Content.

We also have challenging union agreements that make the economic model fragile at best. If NETFLIX could come in, and cut a “NETFLIX” specific contract and guarantee a minimum number of shows in a year, shows could reach a global audience . . . before they open.

Remember how cool it was when Andrew Lloyd Webber released the Jesus Christ Superstar concept album BEFORE the show opened?  I predict that the streamed full production of a show could be the NEW concept album.

Now is the time for new partnerships, both on Broadway and in the theaters and businesses wherever you are. If you’re looking to rebuild your business, look to the people and companies you would normally look away from.

You may find that you’re both in the same spot right now . . . and you could use each other.

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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.