The Sound of Audience
Last Thursday night, 18.5 million people watched The Sound of Music performed live on television.
Last season, 11.5 million people saw any show on Broadway.
Quibble about the performances. Quibble about the production. Say (correctly) that the two experiences are not the same. Say (correctly) that you can’t monetize a TV viewing the same way you can monetize a theater visit.
But here’s what it comes down to.
When the only way to experience the product is in the building, you’re not losing 10% of the audience, or 25%, or 50%.
You might be losing 99%.
Because they got to see it on TV, do you suppose people are suddenly LESS interested in The Sound of Music?
Not a chance. It doesn’t work that way. For every potential ticket buyer for this show whose itch has been scratched by the TV broadcast, there are 100 who learned about it first and now want to see it sometime. And probably 1,000 who’d heard about it and had some level of interest, and they’re now actively thinking about the show.
Do you think they’ll be more or less likely to buy a ticket the next time they have a chance?
Time to get real about this.
UPDATE: Fortunately, NBC didn’t listen to the whiners on this and has decided to do another live musical next year at the holidays. Thank them later.