In the arts community, summertime means subscription sales. However, in 2020, it’s different. Non-profit Performing Arts organizations generate a majority of revenue solely on ticket sales, loyal subscribers, and generous donors; which sometimes makes up 75% or more of annual budgets. Organizations are planning ahead to maximize subscription sales in the midst of uncertain times.
As arts organizations await guidance from local or state governments on moving forward with live events, it will be critical to have subscription options in place. Packages now require added flexibility to support refunds and exchanges, or the option to move your seats. Here are a few examples of how some of our partners are using seat maps, flexible pricing, and new packages to help drive sales this summer:
DEVELOP GATED DIGITAL CONTENT: Virtual events create the opportunity to reach new and untapped audiences that may not have been willing to try something new, hire a babysitter for the night, or even drive a distance to the theater. It’s more convenient, makes content accessible, and creates a new revenue stream. Recently, SFJAZZ has debuted its very own Digital Membership starting at as little as $5/month. By signing up members gain access to an exclusive members-only virtual concert series.
OFFER INCENTIVES: Outside of “buy more and save” there are many perks that will entice patrons to subscribe. Last week, we shared the top incentives which drive charitable giving to arts organizations. Most of these donor incentives can also apply as subscriber benefits:
- Gifts such as access to raffle tickets, auction items, giveaways, concession vouchers, etc.
- Recognition in the form of a subscriber spotlight in a newsletter or social media
- Exclusive access to subscriber-only content and events like meet ‘n greets (via Zoom or in-person) with cast and directors
While some “traditional” subscriber benefits such as discounted concessions, front of line access and secured seats may be on hold – many organizations are finding ways to digitize these perks or create unique online experiences for their subscribers.
OFFER FLEXIBLE PACKAGES: Even with all the precautions in place, patrons may not feel comfortable yet committing to a full season of programming. Some organizations are offering a “Choose-Your-Own” mini-subscription package. Patrons can choose the shows or events they want to attend and customize their own packages. Offering partial subscriptions with flexible options to swap productions or dates might ease the fear of commitment to return to the theater again.