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Ticket Pricing Puts ‘Lion King’ Atop Broadway’s Circle of Life

Thursday, March 20, 2014   (0 Comments)
New York Times (03/17/14) Healy, Patrick

"The Lion King" owes much of its success as 2013's top-grossing Broadway show to Disney Theatrical Productions' reliance on a previously undisclosed computer algorithm to recommend the highest ticket prices that audiences would be likely to pay for each seat at every performance in the Minskoff Theater. The theater's dynamic-pricing ticketing program makes its recommendations based on demand and ticket purchasing patterns, and it taps data for 11.5 million audience members so far, recommending prices for five distinct types of performances—peak dates such as Christmas, off-peak dates, and periods in between. “All Broadway shows are getting into dynamic pricing as a way to survive, but 'The Lion King' has really mastered it,” says Jujamcyn Theaters' Paul Libin. To help sustain strong audience demand Disney has limited ticket prices to a maximum of $227—far less than the top prices for other popular shows and making "The Lion King" relatively affordable for large groups and families. “Our theory is, because we’re in this for the long haul, we’ve decided we’re not going to set a new high ticket price for the street,” says Disney Theatrical Productions' David Schrader. A New York Times analysis of ticket sales for the Disney production found that its pricing strategy is a success, especially compared with those of other long-running shows that must contend with the traditional pattern of declining ticket sales as competition intensifies and audience interest wanes.


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