Why The Theory Didn’t Work

Two years ago when we were deep into the recession, I posted a blog about how the live entertainment industry would come out of the recession first.  I was wrong!  The reason I was wrong is because of price. 

It had long been the theory that while the entertainment industry is the first to feel a recession, we are usually the first to come out of it.  The theory went on to say that when consumers are depressed, out of work, and sitting in the house doing nothing, they need an escape.  During the Great Depression the movie industry did record business. It made Hollywood into a powerhouse!  Customers only needed a nickel to escape for a few hours.

I was working in the live entertainment industry during the 80′s recession.  The theory held up in that recession as well. The reason was again price.  It didn’t cost a car payment to see a show.   Here are two examples of prices then and now:

  • Concert ticket price:  1989 - $20.00 / 2011 – $100+      
  • Family show ticket price: 1989 – $10.00 / 2011 – $50+ (remember, a family needs to buy more than one)

We can no longer be the escape from recession because our prices put live entertainment into the luxury category. Consumers now look to other less expensive escapes. We used to “market to the masses not the classes” as stated by the late Allen Bloom. The words are reversed today.

Hollywood made its mark by making sure everyone got the opportunity to see a movie.  All of us in live entertainment need to give everyone an opportunity to see a show.

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One Response to “Why The Theory Didn’t Work”

  1. JC Says:

    This is true. The problem I see from a promoter’s stand-point is that the costs associated with live entertainment is still inflated from a venue rental stand-point, talent-booking cost, transportation, lodgning and fully-comprehensive marketing budget viewpoint.

    Many of the entities involved refuse to lower their rates which forces the promoter to pass on these inflated costs to their potential consumer base as the break-even point is still relatively high.

    Without heavy corporate sponsorships of these events, there is no way that ticket prices can fall substantially.

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