2013/14 saw the decline in ticket sales and box office revenue at the COC continue, though less precipitously than in the previous couple of years. Sales were down from 109297 tickets in 2012/13 to 106748 seats sold in 2013/14. Revenue was also down from $9.9 million to $9.7 million. A reduction in performances boosted capacity utilisation to 94% but heavy discounting at both ends of the season left the revenue per seat essentially static at just under $91.
The financial picture is harder to read without a full set of accounts as the COC is actually a rather complex set of companies and endowment funds. On the face of it the company had an operating loss of around $4 million on a total cost base of a little over $40 million. This has been covered by various “accounting expedients”. Bottom line, the change in programming and pricing strategies adopted for the current season really need to pay off. Initial signs are not bad with Falstaff selling out and Madama Butterfly looking OK box office wise.
The good news is that the company has been achieving considerable artistic success with strings of awards and some shows at least playing to great critical acclaim. The audience is also notably younger than at many Toronto classical music venues (though that’s not saying much). Somehow that’s not translating into bums on seats. Yet, at least.