Despite economy, Oregon Shakespeare announces best numbers in history!

November 10, 2009 § 1 Comment

It is not a secret that the economy has caused a lot of problems for arts organizations throughout the past year.  Many organizations are desperately trying to stay alive, so when a theatre announces that it has set a new record for attendance and revenue during its 2009 season, you need to pay attention.  Oregon Shakespeare Festival has recently announced that is has set a new record for attendance (410,034)  and revenue ($17,098,115) during its 2009 season.  

Seeing this type of results is quite amazing considering the environment in which it took place.  How was it able to do this?  What strikes me as interesting is that Oregon Shakespeare does not sell subscriptions.  Instead it sells memberships at varying levels which correspond to a specific time period for pre-sale tickets; the more money, the earlier you get to purchase tickets.  Is this type of advanced ticketing the future for arts organizations with shrinking subscription sales?  I, someone much younger than the typical arts organization subscriber, think it may very well be.  It is not a secret that subscriptions are decreasing and single tickets are increasing, so maybe a membership fee is what is needed to garner loyalty from younger patrons.  Advanced planning is not something younger Americans are accustomed to, so why push subscriptions on these and other similar-minded groups of people? 

While I fully understand that subscription tickets are infinitely cheaper to sell than single tickets in most organizations, I see a world where traditional subscribers could become an endangered species.  Let’s keep an eye out for good ideas when they present themselves instead of clinging to the past.  

-Brian

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