Just who goes to Broadway National Tours anyway? The Broadway Touring Demographics of 2013-14.
Studying demographics is like studying the ingredients in your food. You want know what’s in there, so you can make sure it’s gonna keep you healthy for a long time to come.
That’s why every year I post the Broadway demographics as reported by the Broadway League. But there’s a whole set of different demographics for the folks who see Broadway shows in cities all over the world. Since what happens on the road has a direct impact on what happens on Broadway and vice versa, it’s essential to study these ingredients as well.
And thanks to the Broadway League, we can.
The League just published its annual study and here’s a summary of their summary, along with a few notes from me, comparing the Broadway Audience to the Touring Audience.
- In the 2013-2014 season, Broadway shows touring across North America drew 13.8 million attendances. (NOTE FROM KEN: Broadway saw only 12.21 million attendees. The Road Audience is 13% larger than the Broadway Audience. Now do you see how important The Road is?)
- Seventy-one percent of attendees were female. (NOTE FROM KEN: The Broadway Audience is 68% female. Close to The Road, but there are still more X chromosomes on The Road.)
- The average age of the Touring Broadway theatregoer was 53 years. (NOTE FROM KEN: The Road Audience is almost 10 years older than the Broadway Audience? That makes me nervous.)
- Ninety-two percent of Touring Broadway theatregoers were Caucasian. (NOTE FROM KEN: And this one just makes me sad. Broadway’s stat here is 80%. And I thought that was bad.)
- Seventy-six percent of the audience held a college degree and 34% held a graduate degree.
- Forty-nine percent of national theatregoers reported an annual household income of more than $100,000, compared to only 22% of Americans overall.
- Forty-one percent of respondents subscribed to the “Broadway Series” at their local venues.
- On average, Touring Broadway attendees saw 4.5 shows per year. (NOTE FROM KEN: Makes sense that they see more shows, as most are going to be subscribers.)
- Women continued to be more likely than men to make the decision to purchase theatre tickets.
- The majority of audiences looked to the theatre’s website to find information about the show. (NOTE FROM KEN: This is much different than NY, again due to subscriptions.)
- The most commonly cited sources for show selection (other than being part of the subscription) were: the music, personal recommendation, Tony Awards and articles written about the show. (NOTE FROM KEN: This is all the same as in NYC, with a little less dependency on advertising, because shows aren’t in these towns long enough to have big advertising budgets. Want to be big on The Road? You better be big in NY first.)
- The reported influence of Tony Awards in deciding to see a show continued to grow. Twenty-four percent of respondents said that Tony Awards or nominations were a reason they attended the show, compared in 8% in the 2005-2006 season.
- Only 15% of respondents said that an advertisement influenced them to select the show and 12% said they were influenced by a newspaper critic’s review.
- Sixty-two percent of the audience said that some kind of incentive would encourage them to attend theatre more frequently, such as discounts or special perks.
- Nearly three quarters of respondents said they used Facebook.
- Theatregoers said that the most effective type of advertising was an email from the show or presenter. (NOTE FROM KEN: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Everyone should look to double their email list every year.)
- Forty-four percent of Touring Broadway theatregoers purchased tickets online.
- Advance sales to single-ticket buyers have been steadily increasing over the past 10 years.Thirty-eight percent of respondents said that different performance times would encourage more frequent attendance..
- Besides theatre, moviegoing was theatregoers’ most popular leisure activity.
- Thirty percent of respondents said they made a visit to New York City in the past year. Of those, 81% attended a Broadway show while in town. (NOTE FROM KEN: And this is the stat I was looking for. 81%. That’s huge. Like 3.35 million huge.)
For me, the last stat is what says it all. See a lot of people think Broadway begets The Road. But I think we should focus on the reverse. See, it’s much easier for a person in Dallas to see a show in Dallas, rather than NYC, right? So perhaps Broadway would benefit from encouraging Dallas citizens to see shows in Dallas first, before trying to sell them Broadway. Get them to buy into what’s close to them, what’s easy for them, and they’ll work their way up to Broadway.
And then we work on that 70% of those 13.8 million people who see shows out of town but who don’t get to NYC. If we got just 10% of that group to pack a bag and board a bus to NYC, why we’d add another million people to our demographic and budgetary bottom line.
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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.