Today, in response to a reader’s question, we’re going to talk about marketing and advertising costs for a Broadway musical! Just having the Broadway brand and a great new Broadway musical doesn’t mean the general theater-going public will know about your show. If you’re the producer, it’s your job to get the word out.
I’ve seen first hand how marketing budgets (which include online, radio, print, TV, theater signage, ad agencies, direct mail, social media, press agents and more) can vary depending on the show, the time of year, target audience, and a million other factors.
So…while it would be impossible to give you exact figures* for your specific show, a quick scan of my Broadway budget file reveals the following marketing and advertising numbers for some current Broadway musicals:
Show #1: $50,000/week
Show #2: $75,000/week
Show #3 & #4: $85,000/week
That adds up to between $200,000 and $340,000 per MONTH!
A portion of the initial marketing budget is raised in the show’s capitalization (e.g. when they say a show costs $15,000,000 part of that is for the roll out of marketing & advertising leading up to previews).
The rest ideally comes from weekly profits…if there are any. There’s the rub – sometimes great shows fail because they didn’t have enough initial capital to do adequate marketing early on and the first few weeks of box office receipts didn’t leave any cash to spare after covering the fixed expenses like salaries and theater rental.
There are some “free” opportunities for promos and trades with other brands, grassroots guerrilla marketing, free press, and the all important word of mouth. Successful shows harness every possible opportunity for visibility.
Before you panic about your marketing skills, however, remember that Broadway producers don’t do this alone. Specialized Broadway Marketing and Advertising firms and Press Agents who know the industry inside and out can help develop strategies and execute marketing plans. However, at the end of the day YOU, the producer, are responsible for filling those seats to keep your show going strong.
*This Broadway Budget series is for general information purposes only. If you are taking a show to Broadway you will want to enlist the services of a General Manager who will create budgets specific to your new musical.