3 Things That Surprised Me About the Broadway Investor Survey

Last Friday, I published the results of the first ever Broadway Investor survey.  If you haven’t seen it yet, click here.

Honestly, I wasn’t all that shocked with the results.  I could have bet the capitalization of Spider-Man that the majority of Broadway Investors would be iPhone users and come from the Northeast.   Maybe that’s because I talked to a lot of people that invest in Broadway shows and/or are considering investing in Broadway shows.  Or maybe it’s because I’m a Broadway investor myself.

However, there were three things that surprised me about the survey, and as you can probably guess by the title of this blog, I’m going to share those three suckers with you here.

1.  We’re Investing In Ourselves

The industry that produces the most Broadway investors was arts/entertainment.  34.4% of those surveyed were from our own world.  It’s not a mammoth majority, but for some reason it came as a bit of a surprise.  It shouldn’t have been, but for some reason I expected to have more lawyers and doctors and other stereotypical big earning jobs.  But I was thrilled to see this number, especially after this blog post. We as an industry know first hand the importance of the theater, which is why we are and must continue to invest in its future.  (Now it’s up to us to get more lawyers and doctors to understand that importance as well.)

2.  The Majority Doesn’t Make Money But That Doesn’t Matter As Much.

We asked everyone if their Broadway investments were profitable.  Our results matched anecdotal averages pretty well, with 23.8% reporting their investments were profitable (a bit better than the “1 in 5” so many people tout).  61.3% reported that their Broadway Investments did not make money.  And an odd 14.9% answered that “they didn’t know.”  That stat alone was a shocker, but it demonstrates that while everyone loves to make money, and every producer’s goal should be to try and make money, it’s not the #1 driving force behind Broadway investing.  In fact, despite the majority admitting to losing money, a whopping 85.2% of those surveyed reported enjoying their Broadway Investing experience.  And a similar 82.8% said the #1 reason they invested in Broadway shows was not to make money, but to “support the arts.”

3.  People Don’t Invest As Much As People Think.

I was talking to a new Broadway Investor last week, and when I asked how much they thought the average Broadway Investment was, they said, “$50k-$100k, and that’s why I can’t do it!”  Well, our survey puts the majority (38.9%) of Broadway Investments between $10k and $25k.  And when you add the percentage that invest between $25k and $50k, you get 58.9%!  I’m a big fan of the smaller investor, obviously, but even I was surprised that the number skewed a bit lower overall.  Now, granted our survey might be skewed towards smaller investors in the first place, but I don’t think the margin of error is that big.  Hopefully this number will show everyone out there that you don’t need to be Warren Buffet to invest in a Broadway show.  It’s still the small independent investor that makes Broadway happen.
Obviously, I’m a data junkie, so just reading the results of this survey make me giddy.  But data like this isn’t just for getting giddy over.  It’s what you can do with the data that really gets me going.  And it should get you going too.  Now that we know who our Broadway Investor is and what makes them tick, we can hopefully find more of them, and serve them better.  A happy investor is a better Broadway.

So re-read the results and let it help you and your relationships with your Broadway Investors.


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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.