scale-of-hall
Oct20

This is the final video in our series on the 6 metrics that arts leaders should be tracking and managing

Measure What Matters: 6 Metrics Arts Leaders Should Track

Metric #6: Per capita revenue

Is your arts organization generating the most revenue it can for each event? There’s a way to measure that! In this video, Lindsay Anderson of TRG Arts explains how to figure out if your pricing strategy is causing you to lose money, and common causes of lost revenue due to pricing strategy.


Posted October 20, 2015







Oct15

92% jump in subscription packages


One marketing person. A box office director. An executive director. These positions made up the core of the administrative staff dedicated to Newman Center Presents, the performing arts presenting program of the University of Denver. Yet, this three-person team was nimble and efficient. They made small changes and, even with limited budget, saw big results.

Newman Center Presents hired TRG for a full suite assessment, focusing on pricing practices, inventory management, and season ticket campaign design.


Posted October 15, 2015







Aug04

New subscribers triple in one year


Washington Pavilion's production of Elf

Washington Pavilion, located in a beautifully renovated historic building in downtown Sioux Falls, South Dakota, is one of only a few facilities in the world to bring together under one roof the performing arts, visual arts, interactive science, and educational opportunities. Washington Pavilion is TRG’s only client with an active patron base from all 50 U.S. states, plus multiple provinces in Canada. This multidisciplinary model strengthens the organization’s audience development potential. Yet the model is a challenge in complexity on both the patron and administrative sides. 


Posted August 4, 2015







Jul28



 Stephen Skrypec
Head of Sales and Marketing
New Wolsey Theatre
Lindsay Anderson
VP of Client Development
TRG Arts

“Our patrons won’t pay that…”

“Everyone wants to sit in this section…”

Our assumptions about what our audiences will and won’t want or do can stop us from pricing to optimize revenue for our organizations. But we don’t really know until we look at the data. Ignoring what patron data tells us about pricing can lead arts organizations to leave money on the table—money that could be sustaining their mission.

At The New Wolsey Theatre in the U.K., small changes to pricing strategy resulted in big revenue increases. In just nine months, the company reported a 31% increase in box office gross—without selling more tickets. In this free webinar, New Wolsey’s Head of Sales and Marketing Stephen Skrypec and TRG’s VP of Client Development Lindsay Anderson shared how the theatre updated daily practices and challenged prior assumptions about audiences, leading to their success. Learn how arts organizations, whether in the U.S., U.K., or elsewhere, can use pricing to drive patron behavior and revenue.

Click through to read more and view the video.


Posted July 28, 2015







Jul21

Photo by opensource.com (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Ever read an article on pricing in the arts and wish someone could translate it into plain English? There are a lot of specialized terms to describe pricing tickets to seated events and figuring out what prices should go where in a venue.

There’s no Google Translate for pricing jargon yet, but below is a basic glossary we originally published for our recent case study with Dallas Theater Center. We recently revised the list with even more pricing terms, provided by our consulting team. If you'd like to impress your box office colleagues, make your industry friends jealous with your vocabulary, or simply confuse your significant other when you talk about pricing, read on. 


Posted July 21, 2015







Jul06

31% one-season increase in box office gross

Photo by Mike Kwasniak.

In 2014, the New Wolsey Theatre was re-examining its financial picture, focusing on its earned vs. contributed income streams. Like many theatres in the United Kingdom, government funding still accounted for a significant proportion of their revenue. Over the three years prior, they had received moderate funding cuts totaling approximately £50,000 (around $79,000 U.S.).

 

Located in Ipswich, Great Britain, the midsized regional theatre produces a spring and autumn season, as well as a Christmas show, with a mixture of both home produced and touring product. Many of the productions were selling well, which left Head of Sales and Marketing Stephen Skrypec wondering what the theatre could do to grow earned income.

 

Stephen: We’d become as efficient as we could in the rest of the business; the only place to reduce spending was in artistic and we really didn’t want to do that. For earned revenue, I had done standard things I felt I could do—making sure there were more tickets available at the top price and making sure every single seat was sold when it could be sold. I’d gotten to the point where I’d done all I thought I could do to maximize revenue. What do I do now?


Posted July 6, 2015







Jun05

19% increase in average subscription revenue


The Situation:

The cast of DTC’s production of
Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Photo by Karen Almond.

Dallas Theater Center (DTC) hired TRG for capacity building consulting in November of 2013. DTC faced challenges with pricing, in particular reinforcing loyalty through pricing. Founded in 1959, DTC became a resident company of the new state-of-the-art AT&T Performing Arts Center in 2009. The new venue’s flexible mainstage, the Potter Rose Performing Studio at the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre, enables DTC to configure seating differently for each production, from 1 to 573 seats. DTC also produces in a traditional 99 seat “black box” space at the Wyly and at its original home, the 491 seat Kalita Humphreys Theater, the only freestanding theater designed and built by Frank Lloyd Wright.


Posted June 5, 2015







Jul22

July 22 at 2 EDT/11 PDT

Edit: Thanks to everyone who attended this chat! Click through to read the transcript.

Ready for the kick-off of your season or fall events? More importantly, is your pricing strategy ready? Tune up your thinking and practices in this hour-long Twitter chat with industry colleagues, TRG pricing expert Lindsay Homer, and moderator Amelia Northrup-Simpson. We'll discuss topics like dynamic pricing, discounting, managing inventory, and more. Bring your own favorite pricing ideas and the burning pricing strategy questions you’ve always wanted to have answered.


Posted July 22, 2014







Mar11

94% of subscribers now subscribe to full series


The Situation:

Exterior of the Dofasco Centre for the Arts, the primary performing venue of Theatre Aquarius.
Dofasco Centre for the Arts
With the economic downturn that began in 2008, attendance and revenue at Theatre Aquarius began to decline. As the decline coupled with the financial recession continued into the spring of 2011, General Manager Lorna Zaremba hired TRG Arts to analyze the theatre’s situation and improve revenue.

This analysis revealed that there were entire elements of the Theatre’s business model that were missing, which influenced an atmosphere of waning loyalty, specifically among subscribers.


Posted March 11, 2014







Oct16

"Pricing decision-making can be subject to emotional, political, and reactive forces within an organization," TRG's Director of Consulting Lindsay Homer said in this week's webinar on pricing. "None of these forces are productive, especially if your strategy is built on fear that your prices are too high or too low or worse yet, based on assumptions about your patrons."

The webinar, entitled "3 New Rules for Pricing Right," focused on proactive ways arts managers can manage pricing strategies based on data for best results with patrons and visitors. Director of Consulting Lindsay Homer distilled two decades of TRG's ground-breaking pricing counsel and today’s dynamic technology-driven trends into a new strategic playbook for pricing right.


Posted October 16, 2013







Sep27

Glass half empty or half full?
Photo by Kalyan Chakravarthy via flickr
A recent You’ve Cott Mail round-up of articles about re-defining the arts experience

included a range of opinions on how art should be experienced, curated and critiqued. After it ran, a friend asked me about an area not touched upon: whether the patron experience is affected by capacity sold. 

In other words, is the audience sensitive to the fullness of the hall—and how might that affect their experience?

TRG’s take is that an individual’s experience is greatly affected by the number of people who are around them. Close proximity of patrons to other audience members (as well as to the performers) can create a powerful sense of belonging.

Posted September 27, 2013







Sep06

TRG Arts has been busy teaching this summer on the road and on the web. We’ve rounded up our most recent insights from last month below, in case you missed anything:

The Art of the Upgrade

President Jill Robinson gave a webinar hosted by Blackbaud last week about increasing patrons’ investment in and loyalty to arts organizations through upgrading.

“The best way to increase loyalty is to ask the patron to take the right next step with you. That’s what we call upgrading,” Jill said. “That right next step is different for each patron. And the right next step is informed by information in your database.”

The most recent version of this webinar is now available here.

Slides from the presentation:
 

Posted September 6, 2013







May28

Is your organization’s pricing strategy focused only on the cost of admission? Developed in just one department?  This 90-minute workshop, presented at the Arts Reach Canada Conference in May 2013, was designed to show leadership teams how much more there is to consider and to gain. High-impact pricing generates positive perception, improved patron loyalty, and greater revenue for every admission or seat sold.  


Posted May 28, 2013







May15

Chairs set up for a performance at Walt Disney Concert Hall.
Chairs set up for a performance at Walt Disney
Concert Hall. Photo by Dave Herholz via flickr.
I received an email last week from a client who presents touring Broadway shows.  The client needed a fast answer about potential prices for a mega-hit show he hopes to add to the schedule next season. 

“Can we possibly charge more than $160 for several hundred tickets to every performance?” he asked.  “Can a price that high work in our city? Can dynamic pricing get us that far?” 

Posted May 15, 2013







Jul19

Photo: Marja van Bochove
This article is cross-posted on Ticket News and Americans for the Arts' ARTSblog.
Harry Truman famously expressed a desire to consult only with “one-armed economists”. Our 33rd President wasn’t fond of counsel that began "On the one hand, this..." and was followed by "On the other hand, that..." Truman wanted straight talk without equivocation.

So, here is a bit of economic straight talk from the data vaults of TRG Arts. Forget everything you learned in that Econ 101 class you took in undergraduate school. You can also forget what you learned at Business School. It doesn’t apply to tickets.

Posted July 19, 2012







Jul18

It’s summer—the time of year when an arts manager’s thoughts turn to poolside fun, family vacations and—of course—planning for A Christmas Carol, The Nutcracker, yuletide concerts and other holiday blockbuster events. Not on your calendar yet? Then you are missing a major opportunity.

In partnership with TRG Arts, New York City Ballet found ways last summer to increase revenue from The Nutcracker in December 2011, and as a result it generated an additional $1.1 million. In this webinar, NYCB’s Director of Marketing Karen Girty joins TRG’s Keri Mesropov and Lindsay Homer to detail how they did it—and how you can get your organization on track for big holiday season success.

Posted July 18, 2012







Jul03

Photo by Gabriel Saldana
For most non-profit arts organizations, a surge of revenue comes reliably twice a year:
  • during subscription campaigns,
  • and again during annual holiday blockbuster events like A Christmas Carol, The Nutcracker, and yuletide concerts.
Blockbusters boost annual revenue from time to time, but holiday events consistently and reliably provide sustaining revenue for the rest of the year.

Therefore, an organization’s annual holiday productionand the marketing campaign and box office operations surrounding itis one of the most important things to get right. In TRG’s consulting experience, starting early is a key factor in a successful holiday (or any) blockbuster. For holiday shows, the time to start is NOW.

Posted July 3, 2012







Jul03

$1.1 million revenue increase 

for The Nutcracker


New York City Ballet Nutcracker New York City Ballet (NYCB) was selling out most performances of the annual production of The Nutcracker, but lacked opportunity to grow Nutcracker sales and admissions because the Company was not able to add more performances. Director of Marketing Karen Girty had already built a solid marketing program, but she contracted TRG Arts in 2009 to help her find ways to maximize overall revenues, including Nutcracker.

Need to maximize revenue from The Nutcracker.

Sales were flat for The Nutcracker, which had traditionally been a staple blockbuster year after year. NYCB came to TRG with the question, “How do we make more from what we already have?”

Posted July 3, 2012







Jun27

Update: Thanks to everyone who signed up for the webinar. If you missed it, you can still view the recording here.  
New York City Ballet's The NutcrackerChristmas in July:
Maximizing Holiday Revenue Starts Now
           
Date: Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Time: 2-3 p.m. EDT/11-noon PDT
Cost: Free--register here.

It’s summer—the time of year when an arts manager’s thoughts turn to poolside fun, family vacations, and—of course—planning for A Christmas Carol, The Nutcracker, yuletide concerts, and other holiday blockbuster events.

Not on your calendar yet? Then you are missing a major opportunity.

Holiday productions equal big money for arts organizations. But how can you get the most out of this once-a-year opportunity?

New York City Ballet (NYCB) wanted exactly that—to maximize revenue. The company had been selling out most of its performances of The Nutcracker. However, NYCB could not add more performances. Growth had to come from the schedule already in place.

Posted June 27, 2012







Apr12

Small Company sees Big Subscription Success


Curious Theatre Company Subscription RevenueCurious Theatre Company (CTC) is a Denver-based theatre company with a budget under $1 million. CTC hired TRG Arts at the end of 2008 for full suite consulting to address revenue problems and to review the scaling and pricing of their theater.

Unpredictable Subscription Sales.

Subscriptions grew in 2006-07 and 2008-09, fueled by strong programming and single ticket sales in previous years. Since the 2006-07 season, renewal revenues were up 43%, but new subscription revenues were down 23%. 

Posted April 12, 2012







Jan16

New Subscribers Fuel Sustaining Revenue


Theatre Calgary's 2010-2011 production of
The Drowsy Chaperone. Photo by Trudie Lee.
Theatre Calgary had seen growing earned revenue for several years, but in 2009-10 the Theatre experienced a sharp decline in both single tickets and subscription sales, due in part to the economic downturn that occurred in Calgary in early 2009. It became clear to the Company that, beyond outside economic factors, achieving sustainable levels of revenue required changing past practices.

Posted January 16, 2012







Nov04

A version of this post originally appeared as my guest commentary for Ticket News, an online resource for ticket industry news and information.
a shot of Broadway by Bobby Bradley
Photo by Bobby Bradley via Flickr
When it comes to pricing ticketed events, what works? For nearly two decades, TRG Arts has answered that question for hundreds of non-profit arts and culture organizations. About four years ago, TRG also began working with a number of commercial entertainment clients, mostly Broadway productions.

Posted November 4, 2011







Oct18

Record-Breaking Nutcracker


TRG made us the hottest ticket in town. -Artistic Director Marco AngeliniTulsa Ballet’s annual production of The Nutcracker had performed well in previous years, but in 2009, both total tickets sold and revenue dropped by about 20%. As for many ballet companies, The Nutcracker was usually a high-demand show and bolstered the company’s financial health for the rest of the season. So why was revenue on the decline?

Low cost-of-sale.

“Cost-of-sale” refers to matching anticipated revenue to the marketing investment. Tulsa Ballet was investing a disproportionate amount into marketing productions with niche audiences and not putting enough into marketing blockbusters like The Nutcracker, where the Company will make the most return-on-investment.

Posted October 18, 2011







Oct18

$3 million two-year revenue growth


Arts Club Theatre CompanyFor years Arts Club Theatre Company (ACTC) had seen healthy revenue growth. By 2007 subscription numbers had leveled off and the company’s efforts were falling short of revenue goals. Some of the issues included:
  • Pricing.  ACTC had priced all seats the same, varying prices only by the day of the week.   Patrons were not buying the lowest-priced tickets, prompting a high proportion of tickets—one in every three—to be offered at a discount.  Some patrons got double discounts (i.e. corporate seniors got a corporate discount on top of the senior discount).
  • Inventory management. In addition to offering deep discounts on tickets, ACTC filled seats by offering large numbers of complimentary tickets—22,000 in the 07-08 season alone...
  • Timing of marketing campaigns. ACTC had a complaint that is standard among arts organizations—their patrons were buying later and later. To accommodate them, ACTC was also marketing and selling shows later and later.
  • Subscription offerings. ACTC offered a wide variety of subscriptions—several fixed seat subscriptions, and many flexible subscription packages. Many more patrons opted for the lowest-price flex package rather than the full series; flex series renewed at low rates.

Posted October 18, 2011







Oct17

Moving into a New Performing Home


Kauffman Center The Lyric Opera of Kansas City (LOKC), along with Kansas City’s ballet and symphony, was moving into the new $362 million Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.  As the Company prepared for their first season in the new centerwhich opened in September 2011they hired TRG to help make the most of this once in a lifetime opportunity.

Pricing the Hall.

There had been a lot of local and national press about the Kauffman Center, and LOKC knew they had an opportunity to capitalize on what would undoubtedly be a high-demand season. Pricing needed to be right for the Company as well as its communitylow enough to welcome everyone in to the new hall and high enough to convert robust demand into increased, sustaining revenue for LOKC.

Posted October 17, 2011







Oct03

Usually when organizations consider their ticket sales, they look mainly at total revenue. After all, revenue is what keeps an organization running, and total revenue is the 50,000-foot view of how well an organization is doing.  However, when considering how to optimize ticket sales, calculating and analyzing per-capita revenue becomes a critical measurement.

Yes, “per-capita revenue” sounds boring, complex and technical, but stick with me—the reality is that it allows you to zoom in and see how tickets are selling on a season-by-season or show-by-show basis and that’s actually pretty useful.

Let’s break it down:

In laymen’s terms, per-capita revenue is the average price paid for a ticket. You can calculate per-capita revenue for an individual performance, a series of performances or an entire season. You can also break per-capita revenue out by group tickets, single tickets or subscription/membership purchases.

Posted October 3, 2011







Jun03

The national conference season is officially in full swing. Right now, I am in Washington, DC participating in the annual meeting of the Association of Arts Administration Educators while my partner, Jill Robinson, heads to San Diego for the California Arts Presenters annual Artist Information Exchange conference. By the end of this month, my colleagues and I will have participated in ten conferences so far this year.

At almost every arts industry conference, Demand Based Pricing has been a ubiquitous topic – nearly as popular as the sessions about the importance of social media. If you know TRG well, you are aware that we’ve been preaching the message of fundament change in ticket pricing for more than a decade. It’s strange to suddenly find oneself at the center of a debate about a topic that for years was too geeky for most arts industry conversations.

There are many organizations using the techniques TRG pioneered back in the early days of the last decade. TRG’s demand-based pricing strategies date back to a project with our brave friends at Pacific Northwest Ballet, whose first effort grossed a whopping $1,500 in incremental revenues. (Subsequently, PNB has annually generated six-figure income improvements from demand pricing tools.)

Posted June 3, 2010







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Contributors


Jill Robinson
Adam Scurto
Amelia Northrup-
Simpson
J.L.Nave Vincent VanVleet Keri Mesropov