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(New York, NY – February 7, 2007) Every second year, The League of American Theatres and Producers, Inc. (www.LiveBroadway.com) undertakes a new chapter in its longitudinal tracking study of the audiences at nationally touring Broadway productions. “The Audience for Touring Broadway” is compiled to assist producers of Broadway tours by providing an in-depth profile of the changing habits and composition of their audiences. In the 2005-06 season, 17.1 million tickets were sold to Broadway series at over 200 theatres across North America.
“One of the key goals of the League is to proactively collect and analyze data and trends that pertain to our audiences and how their theatergoing habits change over time," commented Charlotte St. Martin, Executive Director, The League of American Theatres and Producers. “We also hope to stress the importance of national Broadway tours not only in local markets, but also to the Broadway industry overall in terms of revenue, visibility and audience development. These reports are key tools for our members, our partners, the media, scholars, and anyone interested in the characteristics of the audience for this vibrant national entertainment medium.”
Among the report’s most significant findings are the changing balance of age groups, and the increasing role of electronic media in advertising and ticket purchasing.
The average age of the touring Broadway audiences for the 2005-2006 season was 46, five years younger than the 2003-04 season. Moreover, the percentage of attendees under age 18 grew from 3% to 5% in the past two seasons, while the attendance of seniors (audience members 65 or older) was 12.3% — the lowest level since the 1991 season, and a decrease of 7.7% in age from the previous recording.
These subtle changes in audience age composition were also evident in advertising and ticket purchasing habits. While television commercials remained the most effective form of advertising across all age groups, Internet ads surpassed local newspaper ads in effectiveness amongst theatregoers ages 34 and under. Local newspaper ads remained the most influential among older audiences. Younger audiences were more easily influenced by advertising, although the overall effectiveness of advertising has decreased in the past few seasons.
When deciding what show to see, similar trends in preferred sources were discovered, with younger audiences choosing to consult the web, and older theatregoers referring more frequently to their daily paper. Overall, however, respondents consulted the Internet for theatre information – a 14% increase from the 2003-2004 season. Fifty-four % consulted their local paper – a 12% decrease from the previous report, though still a strong influence. Emphasizing the growing influence of the Internet, the sales of tickets online surpassed the sale of tickets by telephone in every age group except the 65-and-older demographic.
The base of touring Broadway relies largely upon season subscriptions. However, in 2005-2006, only one-third of respondents were season subscribers, the lowest fraction in eight years, and a 17% drop from the previous report. Since the average subscriber sees 9 shows per year, as compared to the average of 4 shows for single-ticket buyers, this substantial drop in subscribers could account for the decrease in overall ticket sales over the previous season.
The average touring Broadway theatregoer was female, wealthy, and well educated. Seventy-three % of the audience was female and, continuing recent trends, 62% of audience members reported that the decision to purchase tickets was made by a woman.
The vast majority of theatregoers were Caucasian, and minorities were underrepresented in comparison to the general population, despite an increase in the number of non-Caucasian audience members since the previous report. The level of education of national theatregoers remained high, with 69% of the audience holding a college degree, and 28% holding a graduate degree. Average income was also high in comparison to the general population – 38% of respondents reported annual household income of more than $100,000 compared to 15% of Americans overall.
While the average theatregoer attended six shows in the past year, the small group of people who attended 15 or more shows comprised less than 6% of the audience. However, they accounted for 23% of all tickets sold. The effect of touring Broadway on New York theatre was also evident, as 22% of national theatregoers also attended a Broadway show in New York City.
The League of American Theatres and Producers is the clearinghouse for information on the business, demographics, and economic impact of Broadway theatre throughout North America. The League compiles various statistics and publishes extensive reports on a number of topics. Printed versions of the reports are available for purchase. To order copies, click here.