Posts filed under ‘box office’
Unfortunately, “data aggregation is not sexy“. – Terence MacFarland, CEO LA STAGE Alliance
It may not be sexy, but data aggregation is an important foundation of the LA STAGE Arts Census discussed with regards to an exciting project. The video is a case study of the featuring MacFarland and reported by National Arts Strategies in its Field Notes Blog
LA STAGE Alliance has been “empowering artists and engaging audiences since 1975“. It is “dedicated to building awareness, appreciation and support for the performing arts in Greater Los Angeles strengthening the sector through audience engagement, community building, collaborative marketing, professional development and advocacy.“
The LA STAGE Arts Census project has evolved over the last decade into a research initiative on arts participation in the greater Los Angeles region that by providing detailed information on patron demographics, geographic reach and purchasing behavior, allows participant organisations to start to tell a more comprehensive story of participation in arts and culture.
“The idea began as a list share/trade in about 2000. Over the subsequent eight years, 100 organizations participated (only 25 or so in any given year), sharing transactional data about constituents such as subscribers and single ticket buyers. At most, the combined database contained minimal information on 350,000 households at any given time and reflected little organization crossover in terms of audience.“
The project according to MacFarland has “changed the narrative of who attends arts and culture.“
“The Census now includes 200 nonprofit and for-profit organisations from a wide range of disciplines – dance, film/media, theatre, music, visual arts. Organisations participating in the Arts Census also span a vast range of budget sizes; for example, Collage Dance Theatre whose budget is around $250,000 to the LA County Museum of Art, at over $50 million. As the range and number of participating organisations grows, so does the size of the database: it now includes almost 4 million households.“
The project is founded upon data driven marketing and in implementing this strategic approach has been working at addressing a common issue in the arts when introducing new and specialist skills to thinly resourced arts organisations – the challenge of making such an intervention sustainable.
A valuable asset of this data set is the ability to measure and monitor audience crossover. Factual evidence of this from real attendance data often holds a degree of surprise for many arts practitioners, as well as marketers.
Read the LA STAGE Arts Census Report 2011
The aims of this similar project (but on a national level) were:
- To provide participating organisations with a fast and efficient way of looking at their own patron data and compare it with aggregated data from a number of other participating organisations in New Zealand
- To create a profile of New Zealand audiences as a benchmarking and trend analysis tool. This data will be used to publish information for the benefit of the wider arts and cultural sector in New Zealand.
A colleague, Tim Baker posted this article on the Thinkaboutpricing LinkedIn group. Jez Butterworth’s The River prompts fears of rise in paid queuing.
In 2012 it does seem anachronistic that the Royal Court Theatre seems to be supporting the idea that “… the queue is the happiest and fairest medium we have found so far … some things should perhaps be considered sacrosanct.“
For Jez Butterworth’s new play, The River with Dominic West at the Royal Court tickets will only be available to those who queue at the venue on the day of performance. That means no advance booking in person, by phone, by mail or online.
Tourists will be OK as they have time on their hands and it can be a unique new ‘London experience’ – queuing in the rain. Touts will be OK as they can pay people to stand in queue to buy the allowed two tickets and hand them over to touts (or touts will bid to buy) to pass them on to the market with “cost of sale” and profit?
In addition to disadvantaging the disabled, regional audiences will miss out (unless they make an early trip to London on the off chance that they will be lucky for later that day) and it would appear to disadvantage the employed with the two access options only in person at the theatre in queues at 9am and 10am?
I can’t help but feeling suspicious that given it is only a 85 seat studio, the queue is a made to order publicity stunt. It also seems to be a ready made publicity opportunity that the Royal Court Theatre can transfer it to the larger Jerwood Theatre downstairs with 300+ more seats and be seen as the good guys giving everyone a chance to see it.
But, will the existing audiences of the Royal Court see queuing as “fair”, I am sure they will not be “happy” that their previous patronage will account for nought when they try to see what is being pushed as the next ‘must see’ show.
As described this innovative access scheme does not appear to acknowledge or reward valuable relationships like friends, donors and other supporters in the form of sponsors, funders, benefactors, foundations, members and associates? Friends membership includes the stated benefit “exclusive priority booking”, I do hope they also received their other benefit of “priority advance notice” of this policy.
There are three shows ‘sold out‘ already, one month before the show even starts (or ‘bookings’ open), so maybe some lucky ones (255) are being looked after. But again, I would not be “happy” or see it as “fair” if I had travelled down to London to queue that morning to see the show on one of those nights.
A trend does look more profound or alarming when the chart has a truncated Y-Axis (in this case at 3,000,000). But despite that the numbers do speak to a 6% decline in audience numbers over 5 years 2007-2011 for 17 large opera, music, theatre and dance companies around Australia.
Ben Eltham surveyed 17 companies for Crikey and of these “10 have seen declining audiences since 2007. Perhaps most worrying, this figure includes all six of the largest performing arts companies with audiences of more than 200,000 annually.“
“Longer-term trends may also be at work: Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows the percentage of Australians attending performing arts events such as classical music concerts, operas and the theatre has barely changed in more than a decade. The most recent Australia Council data for the sector also backs up this.“
“Whatever the reasons, the flatlining aggregate attendance data suggests that all is not well with our nation’s flagship performing arts institutions. At a time of ever-expanding options for the culturally minded consumer, our nation’s largest orchestras, operas and theatre companies face significant challenges in maintaining and renewing their audiences in the coming decade.“
“It’s really ####ing shady!“ Viagogo employee in The Great Ticket Scandal.
“at viagogo you’ll work with fun people who are committed to helping fans gain access to tickets to the best live events in the world!“
One of the required Skills and Attributes is “A sense of humour”
The Great Ticket Scandal in summary:
Viagogo takes the most flack (not surprisingly they attempted to block the broadcast with an injunction), but Seatwave and others named are not without blame. Promoters LiveNation and SJM are also incriminated for duping fans with a 90/10 split (in their favour) on the markup on tickets withheld from the primary marketplace and allocated to resellers like Viagogo.
1. SECONDARY MARKET COMPETITION WITH PRIMARY MARKET
“Viagogo staff compete directly with real fans to buy tickets from primary ticket sellers, like Ticketmaster, for in demand events as soon as they go on sale. To get around systems put in place to prevent bulk buying of tickets, Viagogo staff use multiple credit cards registered to different addresses.“
2. PRIMARY MARKET SHORTCHANGED
“major promoters allocate hundreds or even thousands of tickets to be sold through their (Viagogo) website at well above the face value. Tickets for recent gigs and tours by Coldplay, Rihanna, Westlife, Take That, and V Festival have been allocated by the promoters in this way.“
The Dispatches episode on the Channel 4 website:
The Great Ticket Scandal (not available online outside the UK)
Outside the UK watch the exposé on YouTube (in 4 parts):
The Great Ticket Scandal (outside the UK)
Various recent articles:
The video is not new now (2007), but it seems that everyone is only keener now to roll out NFC, we may be just waiting for ticketing providers and venues to support NFC.
PayPal has been trying out mobile to mobile payments via ‘bumping’ in PayPal bringing NFC to Australia in months
Visa and ANZ have been trialling NFC this year as reported in NFC Is Coming To Australia Sooner Than Later
Coming to a turnstile near you … soon
Just maybe we have some potential precedents looming internationally … finally! It is not Ticketmaster taking it in the neck this time. However, the industry practice of venue exclusive ticketing contracts (introduced by Fred Rosen in the 80′s when CEO of Ticketmaster) is being questioned.
There are two cases currently, one in Singapore and the other South Africa, that are considering the anti-competitive impact of venue exclusive contracts.
Competition Commission Singapore – Abuse of Dominant Position by Sistic resulting in a $989K fine with the appeal hearing on 3rd October 2011.
The Infringement Decision was 4th June 2010 – CCS Fines SISTIC.com Pte Ltd for Abusing Its Dominant Position to Foreclose Competition in the Ticketing Services Market
“CCS finds that SISTIC is the dominant ticketing service provider in Singapore with a persistent market share of [85-95]%, and that the restrictions under the Exclusive Agreements are harmful to competition by restricting the choices of venue operators, event promoters and ticket buyers. Symptoms of such harmful effects have been observed in the market, such as an increase in SISTIC’s booking fee for ticket buyers in 2008.“
Competition Commission South Africa – Exclusionary Conduct by Computicket. Next hearing 13th October 2011
Press Release from the SA Competition Commission announcing the case of exclusionary conduct against Computicket back in May 2010.
“With a market share exceeding 95%, the Commission identified that Computicket is dominant in the market for outsourced ticketing services for entertainment events including theatres, festivals and live events.“
“Computicket’s exclusive contracts prevent rivals from entering the market thereby reducing choice and convenience for consumers. As a result the commission and fees that it charges for its services are higher than they would have been in a competitive market,” said Commissioner Shan Ramburuth. They don’t seem to be addressing the whole issue by focussing (maybe by legal necessity) on the B2C impact as opposed to the B2B effect upon event owners and presenters.
If these cases do set an international precedent, will we see an enduring change to the current ticketing model for venues and agencies?
An entry in the 2011 Australian Mobile Awards in the Online Shoping & Payments category – Ticketing on your mobile with Moshtix.
There are a variety of notable elements in this implementation:
- Mobile optimised site – not an app.
- Ticket delivery via a mobile barcode allowing scanning direct on the phone – no paper ticket or physical fulfillment
- PayPal integration
- After purchase ticket buyers receive an SMS linking to their mobile barcode ticket
- Integration with Google Maps
- Social sharing of events through Facebook and Twitter
- Forwarding of tickets to friends from the same mobile
I was surprised by the candour of this website TicketBots – automating human efforts.
“Ticketmaster Helper Application is designed to help brokers, so that they get more organized and save time while purchasing tickets. This product is legal and developed by authorizing the lawsuits. Ticketmaster helper application just helps the user to reduce manual work that user does while purchasing tickets. It is just a transformation of human efforts into an automatic process of buying tickets.“
It appears that they are covering a fair few of the scalping opportunities with a suite of offerings: