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Is Opera Failing to Do the Math?

Following in the footsteps of the New York City Opera and Opera Pacific in Orange County, the San Diego Opera will be calling it quits at the end of the 2014 season.Ian Campbell, the company's general director, told the Los Angeles Times that ticket sales had been declining as well as donations, primarily because of death and the economic downturn.A follow-up piece by the Los Angeles Times expressed surprise (and a little outrage) at the closing, using San Diego's...

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Marketing

Pro Tip: Cancel Campaigns Without Pity

Most marketing and sales managers are mediocre. Of course, that’s true by definition, unless you’re in Lake Wobegon. But in the case of marketing management, it means the marketing programs they run are usually only either slightly better than if they’d done nothing at all, and frequently worse.Just about any professional marketing manager, even these mediocre ones I’m talking about, has skills. They can develop marketing materials; they know how media buying works; they negotiate effectively; they deliver campaigns...

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Marketing

My Dear Aunt Sally

I don’t have an Aunt Sally.That was just my way to get you to start reading this before I tell you that I’m going to talk about math …But before you click "back" or shriek in Wicked Witch-like horror when doused with water, know that I majored in English in college! I wrote a thesis about Frankenstein. I like T. S. Eliot.I’ve got non-math-person cred.So stick with me. If you’re a live entertainment marketer and you’re math-phobic, I’m going...

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Marketing

If You Can’t See It, It’s Not There

I went to business school with a rocket scientist.I mean that literally. One of my classmates, and somebody that I found myself working with frequently, was an actual NASA rocket scientist, and just as you’d expect, he was wicked smart.One time, we were working on a project where we were evaluating the marketing programs that a company in this case study had done to figure out whether they should continue them, cut them or add to them. We graphed...

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Marketing

Was “Crazy” Promotion Worth it?

A Houston furniture store launched a promotion before the Super Bowl where if you bought $6,000 or more in furniture during the promotion and the Seattle Seahawks won, you’d get a full refund on that purchase.Seven million dollars in furniture purchases later, the Seahawks did win, and Gallery Furniture is on the hook for the refunds. The CEO says he’s “thrilled” with this outcome, because the media -- national and local -- have made a huge fuss about the...

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News

Uptick in Vinyl Sales Proves Value of Recorded Music Headed to Zero

In another universe, I'm one of the people cheering and holding a pennant that sales "Vinyl!" on it.But in this one, I'm just not that gullible. When we talked about music sales recently, I knew that people would take the bait on the deceptive infographic showing the "explosion" of sales of recordings on vinyl. Up 33%, while digital is down 8%! Of course, you don't need a degree in statistics to look just slightly deeper at those numbers and...

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Marketing

An Unexpected Upside to Niche Programming

Programming content for a  venue has more impact than probably anything else on sales. A lot of people approach this with the assumption that it's best to appeal to more people -- as many and as broad a group as possible.Funnily enough, it often works the other way around. Narrowing the focus of your content to a group that can seem unbelievably small can be even more effective. An off-Broadway show called Craving For Travel (bit of an awkward...

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P&L

Think Twice Before You Complain About Sales

This infographic about music sales in 2013 is designed to entertain you, but I think it needs a headline. I'll give it one now:Recorded Music Sales Shrink Again.Let's give it a subhed or two:Even Most Popular Albums Sell Relatively Few Copies. Digital Formats No Longer Growing in Sales.Remember this whenever you start feeling a little whine coming on because you're in the live entertainment business.

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Marketing

Three Ways to Look at Tourists Dominating Broadway Sales

Theatremania calls it “well over half," but a more accurate characterization is two-thirds of tickets sold to Broadway shows are to people who are not from New York. How should Broadway think about this?• It’s a problem. The home market is huge and full of theater consumers. Local customers are cheaper to reach and easier to get to repeat. Being more successful with them would mean a more reliable and profitable baseline for the Broadway theater ecosystem.• It’s a...

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Pricing

Broadway Sales Go Crazy Over Christmas

A few amazing highlights of the Broadway box office numbers from the week of Christmas:• Wicked breaks $3 million on nine performances. That’s more than $300,000 every time that curtain goes up. Average paid ticket price was $184.50. Wow. • A play (not a musical) did $1.4 million. That was Betrayal, starring Daniel Craig. • Four other musicals broke $2 million, a number that a few years ago seemed unattainable. Those shows were: Kinky Boots, Spider-Man, Lion King and, of course,...

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