Ladies Loosen Purse Strings for Broadway Shows

BY Courtney Huckabay
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The vast majority of theater tickets were purchased by middle-​aged white women, according to an audience demographic report conducted by the Broadway League, a trade association.

The average theatergoer is a 44-​year-​old woman who attends plays frequently, the report said. Not surprisingly, the report found that most people who go to Broadway plays are well-heeled.

"Maybe that’s because the average ticket price is north of $100," Gregory Bresiger wrote for The New York Post.

Theater lovers also tend to be highly educated, according to the report.

"Those heading for a night on Broadway are most likely from Queens, Long Island or Westchester. Also, the number of playgoers from out of town or other countries is rising."

"In the 2013–2014 season, a record-​breaking 8.52 million tourists bought tickets to a Broadway show, representing 70 percent of all tickets sold."

Domestic tourists purchased approximately 49 percent of all Broadway tickets, and international tourists, 21 percent, according to the report.

This analysis came after the best-​attended and highest-​grossing year in Broadway history. The Broadway League said total gross for the 2013–2014 season was $1.362 billion, and attendance was 13.13 million.

Theaters can target different segments of Broadway lovers with audio. AudienceSCAN data reveals 24.2% of Broadway-​Style Musical Attendees listened to an audio podcast in the past 6 months. Try some podcast spots!

Here are some other highlights of the report:

  • Sixty-​eight percent of the audiences were female
  • Eighty percent of tickets were purchased by Caucasians
  • Broadway theatergoers were affluent compared with the general population, reporting an average annual household income of $201,500
  • Of theatergoers over 25 years old, 78 percent had completed college, and 39 percent had earned a graduate degree

Repeat theatergoers are a big part of the industry. The report said the average Broadway theatergoer went to four shows last season.

The devoted fans, the report continued, those attending 15 or more performances, comprised only 5 percent of the audience, but accounted for 35 percent of all tickets (4.2 million admissions).

"While Broadway is a big hit with middle-​aged white women from high-​income households, it gets a tepid response from many males and those of moderate or low incomes, as well as African Americans."

We are aware of the trends of the traditional Broadway audience and are working on developing the next generation of Broadway theatergoers,” said Charlotte St. Martin, executive director of the Broadway League.

She said the industry is developing programs aimed at attracting “a younger and more diverse audience.” This includes some $10 tickets for those who can’t afford to pay full price, as well as programs encouraging blacks and Hispanics to visit Broadway. These are critical issues, says a successful producer.

Theaters need to get the word out on these diversity programs. Advertise all the programs with daily deals! AudienceSCAN research reports 30.4% of Broadway-​Style Musical Attendees took action based on daily deals they saw in the past month.

We’re always worried that we’ll become the opera,” said Ken Davenport, a producer of hits such as “Godspell and “Kinky Boots.”

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to AdMall for Agencies, or with the SalesFuel API. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the AudienceSCAN Reports in AdMall.