On the Discounting of Tickets (Part Two)

In a previous post, we discussed the use of ‘Pay What You Can’ ticketing strategies to attract new audiences to theatre performances.  This post continues the conversation by examining…


Under 30 Programs
An increasingly prevalent conversation, particularly in the realms of classical music and opera, is how we can attract new, young audiences to the arts.  In the past, the most common way to address this issue was through student pricing (which remains a regular feature for most companies) however, in the past several years new programs targeting individuals 30 and under have become increasingly common.  These  targeted programs address that same limitation PWYC relies upon- that arts attendance is a social ritual, and that the entire experience includes anticipation, planning, and a number of ancillary social events. To allow new audiences to enjoy this total experience, many organizations have set-up special programs allowing individuals under 30 to buy greatly discounted tickets in advance.


We spoke with our colleague Jennifer Lee, Marketing Manager at Vancouver Opera, who created the cleverly named “Get O.U.T.” (Opera Under Thirty) for the organization’s 09-10 season.  The program offers young Vancouverites the opportunity to pay $25 for seats that can regularly cost as much as $130, and to book them as early as two weeks in advance.


“We introduced the under-30 program with 100 tickets for Norma in the fall of 2009 and it was an immediate success,” Jen told us.  “Since then, the program has seen tremendous growth to the point where we’ll be offering 200 tickets for West Side Story to the under 30 crowd this fall.  It’s been an incredible way for us to introduce first-time audience members to opera. ”


In addition to the above listed benefits – unconsidered benefits of ‘Under 30’ programs, include the creation of a tuned-in, online community.  Since these offers tend to be posted and purchased so quickly, one must pay close attention to the channels the organizations use to get the message out (for Vancouver Opera it is their blog and Twitter account).  Having a large group of individuals who are attentive to the material one sends out  – especially via social media streams – is hugely beneficial and puts a company in an advantageous position to subsequently inform, educate, and encourage return attendance.



Our series on developing new audiences through ticket discounts concludes later this week with a look at group-buying websites.



Categories: Musings