The Demographics of the Broadway Audience 2014-2015
Broadway Marketing is an open book test. Literally.
Every “this time of year,” The Broadway League sends all of its members a book. That book contains a complete breakdown of who came to Broadway shows in the last calendar year, where they heard about Broadway shows, why they came, how much money they earn, whether they bring their families, and so on, etc. etc.
For Producers like me, who sometimes wish demographic data was a liquid I could dive into and bathe myself with, it’s one of my favorite things to get in the mail every year.
When you know who the primary customers in an industry are, it is much easier to create a marketing plan to reach them. You wouldn’t go on a trip without knowing where your destination was, would you? Not researching who the primary customers are in your chosen field, whether that’s Broadway or worm farming, is the quickest way to get lost, and lose a lot of money.
Now, that’s not to say new audiences can’t be found and shouldn’t be cultivated (I always portion a piece of my marketing budget to developing an audience that I feel may be unique to the show I’m working on), but if there is one thing we know about Broadway shows . . . it’s that we live/recoup or die/don’t recoup based on how the traditional audience responds to what’s on our stage.
That’s why I love doing a pencil dive into the pool of demographics The League sends out each year.
And it’s also why I share some of that data with you!
Below, please find the Executive Summary from The League’s office report (along with some comments from me).
And if you want the full 52 page book from The League, click here to order your own copy.
Enjoy the swimming!
- In the 2014-2015 season, there were a record breaking 13.1 million admissions to Broadway shows. Approximately two-thirds of those were made by tourists: 49% from the United States (but outside New York City and its suburbs) and 18% from other countries.
- Sixty-eight percent of the audiences were female.
- The average age of the Broadway theatregoer was 44 years.
- Almost eighty percent of all tickets were purchased by Caucasian theatregoers. (NOTE FROM KEN: It will be interesting to see if this number changes in next year’s report since we have such a diverse group of offerings this year including The Color Purple, Hamilton, Eclipsed, Shuffle Along, On Your Feet, etc.)
- Of theatregoers over 25 years old, 78% had completed college and 39% had earned a graduate degree. (NOTE FROM KEN: College kids may not want to pay a lot for tickets now, but they obviously will in the future . . . so we should focus on this audience big time.)
- The average Broadway theatregoer reported attending 4 shows in the previous 12 months. The group of devoted fans who attended 15 or more performances comprised less than 5.6% of the audience, but accounted for 32% of tickets (4.2 million admissions). (NOTE FROM KEN: 5.6% representing 32%? Wow. So much for the 80/20 rule.)
- Playgoers tended to be more frequent theatregoers than musical attendees. The typical straight-play attendee saw eight shows in the past year; the musical attendee, four.
- Over one-half of the respondents said they purchased their tickets online.
- The average reported date of ticket purchase for a Broadway show was 36 days before the performance. (NOTE FROM KEN: Got a promotion? Make sure it launches a month before you want folks to show up.)
- For musical attendees, personal recommendation was the most influential factor in show selection. Playgoers cited a specific performer as the greatest lure. (NOTE FROM KEN: I guess the star-driven revival is here to stay.)
- The most popular reported sources for theatre information were Broadway.com, Ticketmaster.com, and the New York Times. (NOTE FROM KEN: Two of the three were ticketing sites? Huh.)
What do you think of the above? How would you use this to market your Broadway show?
Or, how would you use this to develop your Broadway show?
(Got a comment? I love ‘em, so comment below! Email Subscribers, click here then scroll down to say what’s on your mind!)
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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.