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The Future of Subscriptions


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This presentation was given by Anita Hansen of TRG Arts and Charlie Wade, consultant and former director of marketing, Atlanta Symphony at the 2013 Association of California Symphony Orchestras Conference.

Talk about a changing universe! What does the future hold if subscriptions are truly a thing of the past? Current thinking postulates that a long-term decline in audience commitment is inevitable. A meteoric shower of “one-time” promotions and discounts – crowdsourcing, Goldstar, Fill-A-Seat, Living Social – has captivated the general public and given us options for filling our venues. But is this solution sustainable? Let’s assess the situation and determine if belief in accepted prevailing societal trends will lead to an ever-downward spiral to obscurity. Identify the “hidden” and unique performance assets you already possess to cultivate patron loyalty and grow participation. Perhaps there’s a way to re-create a winning game with new awareness of how to play.

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The Future of Subscriptions

  1. 1. The Future of Subscriptions: Is There One? Anita Hansen – TRG Arts Charlie Wade - Consultant July 26, 2013 •
  2. 2. Top Ten Major U.S. Orchestras
  3. 3. Why the Decline? • Cultural shift • Shrinking role of classical music • Rise of “convenience” as decision driver • Generational shift • Changing sales landscape
  4. 4. Group Question What is the greatest tool your organization has recently used to build subscriptions?
  5. 5. Five Tools for Subscription Sustainability • Programming alignment between artistic and marketing • Data driven marketing strategies • Disciplined execution of marketing tools • Relentless focus on retention and loyalty • Organizational commitment to improving the customer experience
  6. 6. CSO’s net revenue from new Main Series subscribers increased by 71%. More on this case at
  7. 7. Over 3 years: • 71% increase in subscription units sold & 75% increase in revenue. • 49% one-year subscription revenue growth in the first year • An all-time high in subscription revenue for 2011-12.More on this case at
  8. 8. The Era of the Customer Customer experience is the sum of all experiences a customer has with your company over the duration of their relationship with you. From awareness, discovery, attraction, interaction, purchase, use, cultivation and advocacy.
  9. 9. Why Focus on the Customer Experience? • Strengthens your brand by differentiating you from competitors • Expectations of customers is very high • Improve customer loyalty (boost revenue) • Lower costs by reducing churn
  10. 10. Group Question What is the "next step" that your organization uses to invite first-time single ticket buyers back to your orchestra?
  11. 11. The Future of Subscriptions: Is There One? Anita Hansen – TRG Arts Charlie Wade - Consultant July 26, 2013 •
  12. 12. • A 118% increase in subscription revenue and 75% increase in units • The full, 8-concert package drove growth and showed big increases—81% in two years. • Single ticket revenue increase in the classical series by 116% total. ASO saw a 154% increase in average revenue per concert.More on this case at