Part 1 of the ‘Call it a Tenner’ report for Arts Council England presents a number of case studies from a wide range of arts organisations, according to the pricing strategies adopted. Lessons learned are then incorporated into an set against current pricing theories and models. The impacts cover income, new audience development, marketing tactics and loyalty.
Cambridge Arts Theatre’s fair prices
As far as the paying public is concerned, Dave Murphy’s overriding aim as chief executive of Cambridge Arts Theatre is to provide them with ‘a good programme priced fairly’. To be seen as fair, the venue tries to set out its prices in as clear a way as possible – clear in the dual sense of comprehensible and transparent. Only twice in the three years he has been in post has Dave tried a two-for- one deal, and would only consider it if a production was going disastrously.
Perishability and the peculiar nature of arts pricing
‘The problem is that ticket prices are too high. If only they could be reduced, more people would come.’ The complaint echoes through press articles, boardrooms and funding meetings. But should price always get the blame for poor audience figures?
Thousands of people pay around £40 every week to watch ninety minutes of football. Would they pay the same to watch contemporary dance? Would they pay £10, or £5, or even £1? In most cases, probably not. But price is not the problem – it’s the value they associate with the experience on offer.