Comps cost money.

If you’ve ever gotten a free ticket to see a show, you cost the Producer money.

With ticket printing costs and liability insurance, you could be looking at fifty cents to a dollar per comp, not to mention the labor associated with filling the orders, etc.

Doesn’t seem like a lot, right?  Well, one of my favorite sayings is that a lot of a little equals a hell of a lot.

It would not be unheard of for a Broadway show to have 10,000 comps during the first year of a run (think papering for previews, trade deals, etc.)

That’s $5k – $10k.  That’s some expensive paper, isn’t it?

So what if we took a lesson from mail order companies that offer FREE products as long as the customer pays for the “shipping/handling”?

Here’s my proposal that I’m going to institute at my shows this week:  Charge $1 processing fee for each comp to cover your costs.  And, if you can get that fee up front, you’ll also get a stronger commitment from the consumer to actually show up for the show, as comp ticket attrition is one of the biggest problems with papering.

The takeaway?  When producing a show and looking to cut expenses, a lot of people just look at the big things.  Don’t.

Termites aren’t very big, but put a whole lot of them together, and your house will be history.

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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.

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