In these slide I draw on work by TRG Arts & Active Network to consider the different ways arts and entertainment organizations generate revenue to sustain their art, work and life. I also discuss ticketing policies
^ Entertainment “Experience”
Pricing is …
Emotional | Political | Reactive!
Entertainment Industries Considerations
• Vertical organization!
– The entertainment industries are vertically divided between performers, agents, promoters,
venues, and ticket agencies.!
• Perishability of offering!
• Pricing Policies!
– “Scaling the house” --- the process of pricing the front rows (referred to as the ‘golden
circle’) at high prices then other seating. Practice varies quite a lot from performance to
performance both within and across industries and across time.!
– “Discounts” under various conditions!
– “Price stickiness” --- Early consumers pay the same price as those who have to wait to get
• Primary Market --- “Partners”!
– Not all tickets are sold to the general public but some, usually those for the best seats, are
– “Deadwood” Unsold tickets shortly before the performance at discounted prices.!
• Sell-out and Rationing!
– Underpricing guaranties a sellout, and hence generates a certain amount of prestige. !
• Secondary Market --- “Middle Men”!
– Brokers, scalpers are bona ﬁde businesspeople, who buy large blocks of seats and then
pass them along at higher prices to eager consumers.!
• Resale Regulations!
1. Pricing Should Drive Patron/Audience Behavior
• A) Don’t take just organizations view [not patrons?]!
– Best seats!
– Best time, date!
– Internal bias and assumptions!
• B) Follow Data to what Patrons Value!
– Opening and closing dates!
– Day of week!
– Time of day!
– Available seats!
Example: Museum Pricing
• Full Adult Price!
• Member Price!
– Students &
• Coupons &
• Special Exhibits!
Example: Member Museum Pricing
• Visit SAIC!
• Membership Levels!
• Promotional Codes!
• National Discounts!
• Gift Membership!
Behavior Drives …
Behavior Drives … !
1. Entry Level Prices!
– Are they available?
2. Top Ticket Prices!
– Are they data informed?
3. Price Jumps or Spread!
– Are differences between
Drive Patron Behavior!
1. Provide clear “value”
– Affordable starting off price!
– Top is competitive and “worth
– Sweet sport in the middle!
2. Reasonable “differences”
– Comfortable jump from low to
– Middle to top – upgrade to best!
3. Keep it “simple”!
– Complexity motivates “no
2. Curate when and how tickets go on sale
Managing Inventory …!
Empowers you to manage
• Which seats?!
• Which admissions?!
• Which dates?!
• Which locations?!
• Which quantity? !
Do you allow patrons to buy …!
To sell or not to sell YOU
• Earliest possible
• Plan incentives: VIP’s
• Strategically distribute
and limit comps!
• Develop a good
inventory release plan. !
Event Pricing Strategies  By :
1. Set your goals and get input!
– Look at last events/year’s prices and quickly update the dates. !
– Sit down and brainstorm pricing with other team members internally. !
– Compare price breaks and fees to other events in the region and update
your fees accordingly.!
– Reach out to external resources (e.g. your race management software
provider or event management company) to get input on industry trends.!
– Action: Set a Target audience/registration number for event. !
2. Create Urgency!
– Participants need to have a reason to buy/register “now”!
– Pricing incentives and a limited capacity are the primary reasons people
buy/register early for an event.!
– Action: offer a low early-bird price that is only valid for 10 days or for
the ﬁrst 100 registrants; promote the fact that registration is limited
and will sell out soon; put a cap on category types!
Event Pricing Strategies  By:
3. Determine when to “open” ticket sales or registration!
– If you do decide to wait, it is important build some buzz around when you do open.!
– Sporting events: Immediately after event for next to take advantage of online trafﬁc ﬂooding
to the race results (often the highest web trafﬁc days of the year for events).!
– Action: When do you open tickets to public? !
4. Set price points!
– If participants are choosing to wait, it follows that they are not as price sensitive as early
birds. Maximise your opportunity on last minute sign up by increasing ﬁnal price point. Most
of those registration decisions are based on factors other than price.!
– Action: What are your price points? How many price points?!
5. Offer price breaks!
– The total number of price breaks depends on when you open and on the speciﬁc goals of
– Consider: Add a price break 1-2 weeks before registration/ticket sale closes. Last minute
are more impulsive and you can use this knowledge to get a bump in registrations and
– Consider: Set a registration/ticket cap to establish a ceiling and create added urgency.!
– Action: What are your price breaks? When do price breaks occur?!
Either you have it …!
• High demand!
• Higher yield!
• As early as possible!
• VIP Advance Priority!
• Few or none!
• Obligated by contract!
Or you don’t …!
• Low demand!
• Lower yield!
• As early as possible!
• Planned strategic pricing!
• Strategically limited!
• No hard tickets!
• Fullﬁll at ticket window!
Amanda Palmer --- The Art of Asking
TRG Arts! Active Network!
^ Entertainment “Experience”