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Will The Programme Ripoff Ever End?


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#1 OliverT

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 05:42 PM

Once upon a time the price of London theatre tickets was a fraction of that of New York. New York did not, and never has, charged for a program (not counting the souvenir monstrosities favored by ten year olds, not the topic of this post). Back in the day, London programmes cost anywhere from 10 to 50P, certainly no big deal. Now, the price of tickets in London and New York are equivalent. Because of this I can not fathom why, with ticket prices so high, people sheepishly continue to pay for what amounts to another absurdly overpriced fee. There is no question that, if people refused to be exploited in this manner, the programmes would be distributed free as theatres covet the advertising revenue they generate. In fact, I would think that advertisers would prefer a free distribution as more theatregoers would be exposed to their wares. I have not purchased a programme in over ten years. Everything you want to know about the production, the cast and the theatre is readily available online. I urge everyone, with ticket prices as high as they are, to stop being taken for suckers.

#2 Steve10086

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 06:03 PM

I urge everyone to buy what they want to buy... even a souvenir monstrosity if they fancy one!

#3 Pharaoh's number 2

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 06:22 PM

Theatres have a monopoly when it comes to programmes (obviously), and their demand is relatively inelastic. I buy a programme at everything I see- I have a collection- and if a theatre either doesn't do programmes/playtexts, or has run out, I get a bit upset/annoyed. I just enjoy having a programme, and at the end of the year, looking back at everything I've seen. Souvenir brochures don't go there, but since I rarely see musicals anyway, I rarely encounter them.

I think ATG's programmes are the biggest rip off, at £4 with degrading paper quality and contents- they get thinner and thinner everytime. The NT's are good, the Donmar's need work- very little content - but the best are Hampstead's which are nicely produced, with good articles/interviews.



#4 peggs

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 06:38 PM

Like PN2 I too always buy programmes as part of the theatre experience and as a reminder, when I buy a ticket I sub consciously factor in train and programme, I'm then tight generally on any kind of refreshments (unless Latecomer or Beth tempt me). It's only really when i see the giant pile under my bed that i'm reminded how much money i spend on theatre........

#5 armadillo

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 08:25 PM

I'm interested to know when programmes cost between 10p and 50p and when this was no big deal. If there was really a variation in price of 500%, I'd suggest 50p really was a big deal. Certainly, all my theatre-going life (30 years or so), they've been a significant amount (just like a glossy magazine which, of course, is what they are). Why is it so important to the OP that other theatregoers should boycott programmes? Presumably if all the information is available online (really? Even for the NT programmes?), you don't want free ones either so it shouldn't matter to you? And the problem with it all being available online (apart from the fact that a lot of people have no idea how to access that information), is that it isn't available online when you need it. It's during the interval that I want to check where I've seen Third Spearcarrier before, not the next day.

#6 Steve10086

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 08:35 PM

Brochures certainly do cost a lot, and when I've paid 10 and then find they are full of adverts, I'm not very impressed.  And programme prices have been going up.  But programmes, brochures, or any other theatre souvenirs are not vital purchases, and you're not forced to buy them.  If they are worth it to you (they are to me), then buy them.  If they are not worth it, then don't!  Quite simple.  Just don't like to be "urged" one way or the other really.

#7 itsuckstobeme

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 08:36 PM

I don't really understand the point of this topic. If the OP thinks they are a rip off and can find all the info online that is fine. But to call everyone who buys them suckers ?!  I usually buy them as a reminder of a great evening I've had, and they can be educational too, such as NT.
They can be expensive but nobody is being forced to buy them.

#8 OliverT

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 09:57 PM

There has not been one reply that has even been close to being on point. The question is: When ticket prices are as high as in New York, why are Londoners, unlike New Yorkers, willing to pay up to an additional 4 quid for a slight brochure full of adverts? When one glimpses some of the cretans who surround you in today's theatre with their cell phones, crinkly wrapped sweets (can't go two hours without stuffing their faces?) and constant talking, the obvious answer is stupidity. I was hoping for some enlightenment.

#9 Steve10086

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 10:03 PM

Maybe Londoners don't want a nasty Playbill printed on cheap toilet paper.  Whatever the case, who put you in charge?

#10 xanderl

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 10:09 PM

View PostOliverT, on 13 December 2012 - 09:57 PM, said:

There has not been one reply that has even been close to being on point. The question is: When ticket prices are as high as in New York

They aren't

To pick a random example - Wicked tickets are £15 to £65 in London, and $57 to $162 on Broadway

You are probably correct that programmes used to be 50p, but if you look at historical values of money, 50p in 1975 (for instance) is equivalent to £4.11 now

Quote

When one glimpses some of the cretans who surround you in today's theatre

What do you have against people from Crete?

"witty ... both made me laugh but also gave me pause" - Mark Shenton, The Stage




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