The Playgoer: "Variable Pricing" hits B'way?

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Monday, May 18, 2009

"Variable Pricing" hits B'way?

Ken Davenport is not only a blogger but an actual living commercial Off Broadway producer. (Thought they were extinct, didn't ya.)

Last week he offered some inside dope from a Broadway League conference that at least one Broadway box office is experimenting with a more flexible pricing strategy akin to airlines and hotels--presumably leading to some highly inflated "peak" ticket prices but, hopefully, bigger blocks of affordable seats as well.

That's a computer screen . . . on the wall of the box office at Chicago! On that screen are the digitally displayed price for each performance that week, as well as the price for future performances. Obviously that screen and those prices can be changed with a few key strokes, depending on demand.

Chicago is the guinea pig in this program but I'll make a prediction that you'll see screens in all the box offices in twelve months time. Kudos to the producers of Chicago and the Shubes for giving this a go.

I spoke to Ken (his real name), one of the box office staffers and a proud 751 member, about the screen and its effectiveness. He said he thought it was definitely helping, and was another tool in his toil to "never let a person walk away without a ticket." He explained his strategy of using the spread on prices to help close every sale at the highest level possible.
The question remains, though: what is the theatrical seat equivalent to the 6am flight?

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