A buffet, a reclining seat, air conditioning, and, oh yeah, a movie too!

Two nights ago, I went to see The Heartbreak Kid.

The movie wasn’t that great.

But my seat reclined and I had more
than enough legroom.  I had more options for food than I do at some NYC
restaurants:  chicken fingers, nachos, popcorn, hot dogs, Sour Patch Kids,
ice cream, you name it.  Even healthy options!  And get this – they encouraged me to eat in the theater!  They
even built a drink holder right into the seat.  One woman didn’t want to
pay the concession prices, so she brought in her own Chinese food and the usher
didn’t even stop her.  The temperature in the theater was perfect and my
feet didn’t stick to the ground when I left. 

The movie wasn’t that great. 

But I guarantee it would have been a
helluva lot worse if all of the above didn’t add to the experience.

Last night, I went to see a Broadway

I was chewing on my knees for the
entire show because the theater was recently renovated and they stuffed more
seats into the place.  They refused to let me bring my Coke to my
seat.  I had to hide my Sour Patch Kids in my jacket.  And the air
conditioning was on the fritz (and the guy next to me, whose arm was already in
my lap, was not very “fresh”).

The show wasn’t that great. 

But I’ll bet you the price of the
ticket that it would have felt a helluva lot better if the overall experience
was better.

A performance event doesn’t begin or
end at the rise or fall of the curtain. It’s not just about the
performance.  It’s the overall experience – from buying the ticket at the
box office to dealing with the ushers to whether or not your a$$ hurts after
sitting for 2.5 hours. 

As the movie business lost traffic to
people staying home to watch TiVo or surf the Internet, they invested in making
the “experience” better and more unique.

And when you improve the overall
experience, individual elements look better as a result.  Win x2.

I mean, aren’t you happier when
you’re eating popcorn?  Having a cold beverage?  Sitting on a
cushioned seat?  And of course that feeling transfers to whatever else you
are doing at that time.

Happier customer . . . leads to
positive feeling about product . . . leads to customer buying more product . .
. leads to healthier industry. 

The theater has got some catching up to do.
We have to stop being snobs and saying, “Our product is so unique and
since you can’t get it anywhere else, people are just going to have to deal
with long lines at the restrooms and rude personnel and knee-chewing.
It’s just the price of Broadway.” We have stop saying that.
Otherwise, people may choose to experience something else.

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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.