The difference in Broadway Demographics in six years.

You know why I love you guys?

No, it’s not because you laugh at my jokes . . . because obviously I can’t hear you if you do laugh . . . which is probably better off, because I’d probably cry in my buffalo wing sauce if you didn’t.

I love you because you ask smart questions.  And you make me think.  And you make me learn.

Example . . .

Last week, I posted my annual by rote post revealing the latest demographic information of the Broadway Audience as released by the Broadway League.  And as always, there were great nuggets to mine about our current audience, and I’ve already used the data at least a handful of times in coming up with marketing strategies for my current and future shows.

And then in the comment section, “Stephanie” said this:

I always love these statistics, and I would be really interested to see what, if anything, has changed over the last few reports.

I mean . . . duh, right?  Why didn’t I think of that?

Again, that’s why I have you.

So, Stephanie, and all you other readers out there . . . below you’ll find a comparison of the first demographic report I published on the blog, which detailed the demos of the 2007-2008 Broadway Audience, as compared to the most recent report about the 2013-2014 Audience.

Let’s see what has changed over the past six seasons, shall we?

  • In 2007-2008, 65% of Broadway tickets were purchased by tourists.
  • In 2013-2014, 70% of Broadway tickets were purchased by tourists, an increase of 5 percentage points.  (NOTE FROM KEN:  Hence our current boom.  Although it should be noted that tourists to NYC increased over 15% between these two seasons – so we’ve got more tourists to capture, for sure.)
  • In 2007-2008, the average age of our audience was 41.5.
  • In 2013-2014, the average age of our audience was 44, a 2.5 year increase. (NOTE FROM KEN:  This is one of the most disappointing trends as it means that we’re losing the battle for the young-ins.  We need more high impact strategies to capture the kids.)  
  • In 2007-2008, 75% of our audience was Caucasian.
  • In 2013-2014, almost 80% of our audience was Caucasian.  (NOTE FROM KEN:  This is even worse than the above stat!  How are we not getting more minorities?  The minority population in the country is growing rapidly – but we’re losing them.  And we didn’t have many to begin with.  Grrrrkajl;kjwoierjhaskdjfad.  That’s me so frustrated I just slammed my forehead into my keyboard.)
  • In 2007-2008, the typical musical goer saw 4 shows.
  • In 2013-2014, the typical musical goer saw 4 shows. (NOTE FROM KEN:  Ok.  No blood.)
  • In 2007-2008, 40% of tickets were bought online.
  • In 2013-2014, 54% of tickets were bought online. (NOTE FROM KEN:  You all knew this would be the case, but it’s still startling to see.  Where do you predict it will be in six more seasons?)
  • In 2007-2008, 38% of theatregoers were prompted to buy tickets by advertising.
  • In 2013-2014, 25% of theatregoers were prompted to buy tickets by advertising. (NOTE FROM KEN:  Ok, ok, so this is where things get super interesting.  The impact of advertising is going down???  And I’d bet that we’re actually spending more.  Is this the effect of social media?  Is this because there is so much advertising out there that people are becoming more numb to it?  Should we slow our spending?  Increase our spending?)  
  • In 2007-2008, word of mouth was cited as the strongest factor in deciding to purchase tickets.
  • In 2013-2014, personal recommendation was cited as the strongest factor in deciding to purchase tickets by musical goers and a specific performer was cited as the strongest factor in deciding to purchase tickets by straight-play goers. (NOTE FROM KEN:  Ahh, the star driven revival. Note to self – do a play, use a star, or suffer.  That doesn’t mean you won’t come out on the other side, but it will be a slog.)

Thanks again for the poke to do this comparison, Stephanie.  It was insightful to say the least. I’m going to go cut my ad budgets on all my shows now . . . and just put that money into making the shows better.  Because season over season, that is what sells every single time.

What do you think these changes (or lack thereof) mean?  Let me know in the comments below!



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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.