Audience Rewards, which began in 2006, is now an unprecedented business alliance that includes The Shubert Organization, Jujamcyn Theaters and members of The Independent Presenters Network.
According to a June 28 announcement, "Consumers can enroll in the program at the official site, www.audiencerewards.com, where membership details are featured and existing members can log-into their own personalized account. In addition, the site serves theatregoers as an inclusive online information resource for Broadway, Off-Broadway, National Touring Shows and other live entertainment events. Additional featured content includes production notes for shows, links directly to the authorized ticketing company for each venue, information on how members can receive a variety of special benefits and beginning this fall, the inclusion of earning points towards theatre tickets, merchandise and special experiences."
Audience Rewards was introduced in September 2006 as "a national appreciation program for Nederlander patrons."
James L. Nederlander, president of The Nederlander Organization, said in a statement, "The feedback from our patrons was very enthusiastic and our initial pilot program far exceeded our expectations in terms of audience engagement and ticket sales. We are delighted that other New York theatre owners, as well as presenting organizations from around the country, have accepted our invitation to work in partnership with us to expand the scope of the project. As a group, we can realize our shared vision of delivering meaningful benefits and services to Broadway's national audience."
Nick Scandalios the Nederlander executive vice president, stated, "Audience Rewards provides its partners a national brand that promotes all our shows, enables individual theatres or producers to work together, and facilitates a direct two-way communication between venues and the consumers who deserve to be rewarded for their years of patronage. With our strong relationship with Ticketmaster, we can assure that all Broadway Ticketmaster theatres can participate in this program." In order to design a "coalition" program that includes multiple independently owned/operated theatres, The Nederlanders engaged Bonfire Partners and Points.com, whose principals have vast experience in creating and managing loyalty programs for a wide variety of companies as diverse as Starwood Hotels, Delta Airlines and Visa.
"Over 75 million consumers in America belong to one or more of the over 2,500 loyalty programs in the market today," stated Mark Lacek, managing director, Bonfire Partners. "Audience Rewards is the first such program to unite the Live Entertainment industry. We believe this program will deliver a significant value to consumers and, in return, happy customers will help expand the business of Broadway."
Gerald Schoenfeld, chairman of the Shubert Organization, stated, "We are very pleased to join our colleagues at the Nederlander Organization in the formation of Audience Rewards. Encouraging attendance at America's performing arts institutions is vitally important and Audience Rewards provides a way to acknowledge our patrons, and to meaningfully recognize their passion for the theatre."
Rocco Landesman, president, Jujamcyn Theaters, stated, "We are excited to be part of Audience Rewards. This alliance, unprecedented in that producers and theatre owners are joined together for an inclusive, nationwide marketing initiative, is a big step forward for the industry."
Charlotte St. Martin, executive director, The League of American Theatre and Producers, added, "As the representative of the commercial theatre, we believe that Audience Rewards enables our members to work cooperatively to build a powerful marketing platform that will strengthen the industry. We are so pleased that Broadway now has a way to recognize, connect and reward our most important constituents — passionate theatergoers. This is a milestone that reinforces our belief that Broadway is the longest street in America."
To make the program a national one, The Nederlanders invited members of the Independent Presenters Network (IPN), a group of performing arts centers and Broadway presenters, to join the coalition of New York theatre operators.
"The IPN was initially formed to enable theatres to invest in individual productions and secure performance dates," stated Al Nocciolino, Chairman of the IPN. "Today, the business of Broadway is not just about presenting good shows. Our local participation in Audience Rewards is recognition that customer service, benefits and value-added experiences are essential ingredients in attracting and keeping our patrons."
IPN members to join the coalition to date include Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, Charlotte, NC; Broadway Series South, Raleigh, NC; Bushnell Performing Arts Center, Hartford, CT; California Musical Theatre, Sacramento, CA; Civic Center of Greater Des Moines, Des Moines, IA; The DuPont Theatre, Wilmington, DE; The Fox Theatre, St. Louis; NAC Enterprises, Buffalo; Pittsburgh CLO; Providence Performing Arts Center; The Starlight Theatre, Kansas City, MO; and Theater of the Stars, Atlanta.
These and other participating theatres will be featured on AudienceRewards.com.
Tom Gabbard, CEO of Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, stated, "In addition to providing my ticket buyers with new benefits, Audience Rewards gives me a powerful new tool to tap into a larger audience of known theatregoers outside of my region who have not yet visited my theatres."
Financial terms of the program were not disclosed.