Non profits can do it. Why can’t we?

I’m not talking about not paying taxes.  I’m talking about subscriptions.

Could a commercial theater subscription exist?

One of the principal elements of a strong financial foundation for a not-for-profit theater is selling a season of shows through a “subscription”.  Buy 6 shows for 1 low price, but you have to do it now!  Touring “road houses” do the same.  You get cash in the bank, before you need to spend it (unless your ticketing company holds on to it), and a reassurance that a good chunk of your seats will be sold.

Broadway theaters don’t cycle several shows through its theaters per year (hopefully), so the subscription model doesn’t make sense.

But could it?

Most tri-state area musical buyers are multi-musical buyers, meaning that they see more than one show a year.  Could we sell them on three shows in advance IF the shows were happening at different times of the year?  (Subscriptions work because the time commitment is spread out – it’s not three shows in a 6 week period.)  Could the Producer of Addams Family get together with the Producer of Catch Me If You Can and the Producer of Ever After and do a mailing over the summer with an offer for all three (the customers would need a great incentive to purchase all three – great seats is one)?

Is splitting the cost of the mailer the only upside for the Producers?  What about connecting with other brands?  “See The New Shows On Broadway!”  Is it a League sponsored initiative for all the new plays or all the new musicals?  Could there be a League subscription?  “Pick 5 shows a year for $250!”

To tell you the truth, I don’t know if it would be worth it.  It would be a heck of a lot of work and more importantly it would depend on a lot of cooperation, which might as well be a four letter word in this industry.

But in this economy, that’s a word we all need to get comfortable with, or we’re all going to be four-letter-word-ed.

Do you think there is a way to make this work?

– – – – –

Speaking of subscribing, my feedburner account is being transitioned.  The best way to insure that you’re getting the latest PP (yes, I said “latest pee-pee”), is to subscribe via email.  Look for the box to the left.)

Related Posts


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.