Thursday, June 4, 2009

To Subscribe or Not to Subscribe

Subscription sales are what sustains the box office of any regional theatre in this country. They are the audience base that knows your work best. Your most loyal customers and the group that you think of when you are picking a season. Many of them are donors as well. But how do you attract new subscribes? This younger generation is less apt to subscribe to a season but will pick and choose performances from various different companies. In the world of Netfix and iTunes, it's hard to keep the consumer focused on one company's season.

And as an audience member, what do you look for? What happens if a company you have been subscribing to for years suddenly decides to to four shows on your next season that you have no desire to see? Do you still renew your subscription? What if a company has an aesthetic you really enjoy, but their productions are hit or miss?The company you've supported for years changes artistic directors and their work starts to move in a whole new direction - how does that affect your decision? There are all sorts of factors that play into your choices to support a theatre and its work.

And what about those companies too small to have subscriptions? How do you go about following their season if you really like their work. And for that company itself - what are the advantages or disadvantages of moving toward a subsection model. Perhaps you don't have someone to coordinate the program. Little things like that can really affect a program.

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