Ask Me Anything Question
"How do you know if extending a show is the right call?"
This is definitely one of the most regular questions we get from our theatre clients. Completely setting aside things like the artistic mission of your organization or the optics of "success," it comes down to what the data is telling you. Each organization is going to be different, but here are some data points you can keep track of to help make the decision about whether or not to extend:
- How did other extensions do? The first step is coming up with a baseline for past extension performances. How were the capacities? How much discounting did you have to do to fill the houses? How much more advertising did you have to do? Were those extensions seen as "the right decision"? Split those into "good call" and "bad call" and use the sales data from those to track against your current production.
- How fast is the performance selling? Assuming capacity is the only factor in a hit show ignores a critical factor—sales velocity. Is this show selling fast or faster than other shows that extended? Are you going to reach "sold out" soon?
- Is the extra work worth it? This is the most telling of the questions. Once you know how other extensions performed and what effort was necessary in making them successful, you can look at your current production and have a very clear idea of what work your team will need to do to sell those extra tickets. If you're going to sell out the regular run with little effort, but know an extra week or two will be an uphill climb, be honest about whether it makes the sense to put in that work or to focus your efforts on something else in the season that may need far more help and attention.
The best thing you can do is decide what your organizational triggers are to extend before the question even gets asked. If you know that if "factor x" is happening by "factor y" and also "factor z" is contributing in a positive way, everyone can feel confident about the decision and trust that the data tells you it's the right thing to do.
JCA Arts Marketing collaborates with cultural organizations to increase revenue, boost attendance and membership, and grow patron loyalty. We provide consulting and software services to hundreds of cultural institutions across multiple genres, including dance, museums, opera, performing arts centers, symphony, and theatre. We can help you achieve your marketing goals.