As the Broadway season winds down, some preliminary numbers on the soon to end season have come out. It's been reported that grosses are up a bit (0.6%), as is attendance (1.6%). In this, the year of Hamilton, and the eternal mega hits from Disney and Wicked, it is perhaps curious that the average ticket price is down for the first time in many years to $103.24.
It might be hard to wrap one's head around this odd happenstance, but I believe a major reason for this is the continued rise of TodayTix, that app that resells Broadway tickets via its mobile platform.
TodayTix specializes in promoting the most inexpensive seats available for Broadway show. Their ubiquitous ads and easy to use app have appeal to the young and less well heeled theater goers. While this price conscious cohort has historically been the main audience at the TKTS booth, or users of various coupons and codes that are offered by Broadway show producers, TodayTix has been successful at diverting these folks to their cheaper offerings.
TKTS and other discounts offered by Broadway shows typically apply to the highest priced tickets. Half off of an orchestra seat at TKTS will still cost upwards of $75-$80, and perhaps more on a direct mail offering. TodayTix actively promotes from the bottom up. That is, they advertise the lowest price available to the public, usually balcony or rear mezzanine.
The result of the TodayTix sales, and the sales of their rapidly sprouting competitors, is that a portion of the Broadway audience is being moved away from higher priced discounts to lower priced seating choices. The audience may be roughly the same in number, but the revenue received by the shows will, of course, be less. Hence, the lower average ticket price this year in spite of the shockingly high prices some shows are getting.
TodayTix has claimed that they are bringing in new audiences. That claim remains unproven, but the numbers on the Broadway season speak for themselves.