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Total Madness - Premium Seats In West End


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#1 CAA

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 01:22 PM

Taken from the online Stage Edition.

This confirms that the West End is going to the Dogs:

Tickets for the best seats in the West End now cost more than £70, with the cheapest priced at just under £22 on average including fees.

These are the findings of a ticketing investigation by The Stage, which discovered that the most expensive seat was £97.50 for a musical (Billy Elliot) and £97 for a play (The Ladykillers). The cheapest non-discounted seat that audiences can buy for a West End musical is for Les Miserables at £12, and the least expensive play is War Horse with tickets starting at £10.

For its investigation, The Stage attempted to book a single ticket for every show in the West End for the evening performance on Saturday, April 14 through the production’s official online retailer. If no show was scheduled, tickets for the next available Saturday performance were counted.

On average, the best seat in the West End is now £72.12 and the cheapest seat is £21.91 including fees.
As defined by membership of the Society of London Theatre, the West End includes both commercial and subsidised venues. When the subsidised venues, including the National Theatre and Barbican, are excluded, the best seat for a show in the commercial West End costs an average of £81.17 including fees. The average cheapest seat at such a show is £23.85 including fees.

In the commercial sector, the best seats at musicals are generally over £10 more expensive than those at plays. The best seat at a commercial musical costs an average of £86.53, compared with £74.83 for the best play seats. The average cheapest seats are £27.22 and £19.52 respectively, including fees.

The calculations for the most expensive tickets in the West End include premium seats. These seats often cost more than £90 in commercial venues and have been widely criticised, both inside and outside the sector.
However, Richard Howle, international sales director at AKA, said that premium prices have been introduced to prevent ticket touts scalping profits from the industry.

He said: “The reason why premium seats have come in was because there were people selling tickets way above full price and that extra money was not going to the production. If there are people willing to pay top dollar for those tickets, this is a way of making sure the revenues from those tickets go back into the industry and the investors that put on those shows.”

For full results of The Stage’s ticketing investigation, see this week’s print edition of The Stage.

#2 Honoured Guest

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 01:34 PM

But bear in mind that some theatres price very few seats at their premium rate, so at those theatres you can buy tickets for very good seats for a much lower price than these most expensive seats.

#3 poster J

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 01:40 PM

View PostHonoured Guest, on 12 April 2012 - 01:34 PM, said:

<br />But bear in mind that some theatres price very few seats at their premium rate, so at those theatres you can buy tickets for very good seats for a much lower price than these most expensive seats.<br />

And if they don't sell, they usually end up at tkts and the other booths on the day.  I got a premium ticket to Legally Blonde for £40 once...

#4 Matthew Winn

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 05:37 PM

View PostCAA, on 12 April 2012 - 01:22 PM, said:

Taken from the online Stage Edition.
[...]
However, Richard Howle, international sales director at AKA, said that premium prices have been introduced to prevent ticket touts scalping profits from the industry.

He said: “The reason why premium seats have come in was because there were people selling tickets way above full price and that extra money was not going to the production. If there are people willing to pay top dollar for those tickets, this is a way of making sure the revenues from those tickets go back into the industry and the investors that put on those shows.”
Nice to see they're owning up to their motivation at last, although I suspect it's more because the explanation they used when premium prices were first introduced - that it was to help combat touts - was greeted with as much outright contempt here as it was on Broadway. Even so, essentially saying "if anyone is going to give the punters a proper shafting it's going to be us" is unlikely to improve the public perception of premium tickets.

Nice try, guys, but the fact that prices have risen by two and a half times the rate of inflation over the last quarter-century isn't something you should be proud of.
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#5 Zippy

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 05:44 PM

Does anyone other than tourists pay premium prices for seats? Most of the time they're the ones you get discounted at the tkts booth!

#6 Mark_E

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 06:28 PM

My partner and I got premium tickets for the first preview of Rock of Ages. They were the only front stalls seats remaining. People do buy them, especially for popular shows.

#7 Ian

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 06:47 PM

What annoys me is the quote from Nica Burns:-
"The moment we moved from manual box office to computer box office the the costs of running a box office tripled." and "But in the world of modern technology, people expect to be able to buy their ticket at any time of day and from a place of their choosing"

I would love to see the research behind that. I suspect that was a simple question along the lines of "Would you like to be able to buy a ticket online at any time?" rather than the reality of "Would you like to pay up to £12.25 [The stage figure] per ticket to buy a ticket online at any time?"

I strongly suspect the answer would have been very different. I, for one, could live with having to contact a box office between the hours of 10:00am and 7:00pm for a fee free purchase. Now it is almost impossible to contact the box office direct. Plus the agencies have no knowledge of how bad a "restricted view" seat actually is, how high the stage is for a particular production, nor if the cut off from the rear stalls affects a particular show or not. All of which, in the past, would have been known by the box office staff at that theatre.

... and don't even start me on Jonathan Browns justification on charges ....... !
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#8 Latecomer

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 08:27 PM

Can't believe running a computerised system is more expensive than a box office! All it is is code and once programmed it should be very easy (and cheap!) to run! Far cheaper than employing real people!

#9 Honoured Guest

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 08:59 PM

View PostLatecomer, on 12 April 2012 - 08:27 PM, said:

<br />Can't believe running a computerised system is more expensive than a box office! All it is is code and once programmed it should be very easy (and cheap!) to run! Far cheaper than employing real people!
This post reminds me of the elderly lady who told me there was no reason for meat to be so expensive because all the farmers had to do was put the animals in a field so they could eat the grass and then round them up to take them to slaughter.

#10 Matthew Winn

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 06:05 AM

View PostLatecomer, on 12 April 2012 - 08:27 PM, said:

Can't believe running a computerised system is more expensive than a box office!
Not least of all because it's difficult to see the business case that would have led them to switch to a system that cost three times as much. I can believe that the initial layout could have tripled the cost taken over a suitably short period, but in the long run the business as a whole must have been better off or they wouldn't have done it.
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