I haven’t really done a full analysis of the COC’s recently released financials but what I have done suggests cause for cautious optimism. As anyone who reads this blog knows I have, for the last three years or so, pointed up the rather stark reality underlying the company’s relentlessly optimistic propaganda. To whit, a steady decline in seats sold, revenue and realisation (actual revenue dollars per seat sold). This year doesn’t look so bad.
2014/15 was the first year in the move to six productions rather than seven (though only one less performance scheduled, a rather curious thing) so some decline in ticket sales was pretty much inevitable. Every full season subscriber was going to be buying one less ticket. That would, other things being equal, suggest a 14% drop in subscriber ticket sales. In fact the drop was only 7% (63603 plays 68682) due to a 6.2% rise in the number of subscribers. It looks as if the introduction of “value subscriptions” worked. Better, single ticket sales were up marginally from 38066 to 38667. It meant a small drop in capacity utilisation from 94% to 92% but a small rise in realisation from $90.87 per seat to $91.91 per seat. That suggests that the revenue impact of the very cheap value subscription tickets was more than offset by less discounting. Certainly the discount offers seemed less frequent and frenetic than the previous couple of years. Coupled with the drop in costs associated with fewer productions that equates to a break even overall financially.
It’s far from the heady days of the first couple of seasons in the new house when there were many more performances and near full houses but it does seem to break a declining trend. It may also indicate that the company is being more successful at attracting the elusive “younger” audience. There’s nothing directly in the figures to suggest this but there’s lots of research that younger patrons are far more likely to be single ticket buyers than subscribers.