Over the past decade, the ways in which customers find out about Broadway shows has changed dramatically. This we know, but just how much has it changed? We sought to find out how exactly our customers gather information and decide what show to see. The results were fascinating, though not necessarily shocking.
Over 95% our survey respondents have searched online for information on Broadway shows, and websites devoted to Broadway theatre were very popular, with 84% indicating they had visited a site like Playbill, Theatermania, Broadway World, and Broadway.com at some point in time.
When asked where they went to find out what’s playing on Broadway, more people (29%) said they relied on theatre websites, as compared to The New York Times in print (12%) or nytimes.com (5%). The Sunday "Arts & Leisure" section was more popular among New Yorkers (16%) than suburban (11%) and out-of-town (10%) buyers.
Speaking of The New York Times, fewer than half of our customers said they consult the Times's Theatre Directory (a.k.a. the ABCs), though that varied quite a bit by geography. Many more New York City residents use the ABCs, as compared to suburban and out-of-town customers. Of the people who do use the listings, most expressed an interest in seeing more information: prices, performance schedule, or a brief description of what the show is about. We might assume they're talking about all theatre advertising in this case.
Interestingly, two-thirds of respondents said they had already decided on what show they wanted to see and were just looking for information on where to buy tickets. Most New Yorkers (75%) knew what they wanted to see, but fewer out-of-town customers had made up their minds (56%). That's a lot of potential buyers trying to figure out what show to see, and the challenge is getting their attention at the right moment.