On Set: Live Performance Theaters in the US Industry Market Research Report Now Available from IBISWorld

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The Live Performance Theaters industry eased down a bumpy road over the past five years. A dip in disposable income in 2009 aggravated consistent audience declines and, therefore, revenue. Although the industry made a slight rebound thanks to a successful theater season in 2010, it dropped back off again in 2011 due to sustained low disposable income. Lower federal funding and escalating competition from other forms of entertainment are expected to further impede industry revenue growth in 2012. In the next five years, theater attendance is expected to gradually recover along with disposable income. Intensified marketing tactics are drawing in larger crowds, and theatergoers are anticipated to return to see shows in the future. For these reasons, industry research firm IBISWorld has added a report on the Live Performance Theaters industry to its growing industry report collection.

IBISWorld Market Research

IBISWorld Market Research

Theater attendance is expected to gradually recover along with disposable income

The Live Performance Theaters industry eased down a bumpy road in the past five years. A dip in disposable income in 2009 aggravated consistent audience declines and, therefore, revenue. Although the industry made a slight rebound thanks to a successful theater season in 2010, it dropped back off again in 2011 due to sustained low disposable income. “Lower federal funding and escalating competition from other forms of entertainment are expected to further impede industry revenue growth in 2012,” says IBISWorld industry analyst Agata Kaczanowska, resulting in a 0.5% decline. Consequently, IBISWorld estimates an annualized five-year revenue decline of 2.1% to $4.8 billion at year-end 2012.

New technologies, such as automated ticket price adjustment software and automated lighting options, have resulted in higher worker productivity and a long-term decrease in Live Performance Theaters industry employment. Furthermore, tight budgets and diminishing audiences led theater companies to slash employees in order to stay in business in the past five years. As such, employment declined at an estimated 6.9% annualized rate to 48,488 people in the five years to 2012. In the next five years, theater attendance is expected to gradually recover along with disposable income. Says Kaczanowska, “Intensified marketing tactics are drawing in larger crowds, and theatergoers are anticipated to return to see shows in the near future.”

Broadway's bright lights attract a significant share of theater attendees. Even during the recession, the general growth in this segment, combined with the immense success of some shows, continued to attract investors to the industry. For example, the musical Next to Normal debuted off Broadway in 2008 and made its way to Broadway success within two years. As a result of continued growth in certain segments of the industry, new company formation is expected to offset the shuttered operations in the past five years. As such, enterprise growth has been flat, with 1,909 estimated live performance theaters operating in 2012. Many industry operators are nonprofits, while others are small operators that operate primarily on a local basis. According to the National Endowment for the Arts, the number of nonprofit theaters has doubled since the 1990s, following an increase in government and personal funding through grants. This long-term growth paused in the five years to 2012, though, due to budget pressure on smaller theaters because many continue to rely primarily on contributor income, which dipped during the Great Recession. The industry’s three largest players are the Shubert Organization, Nederlander Organization and Jujamcyn Theaters. For more information, visit IBISWorld’s Live Performance Theaters report in the US industry page.

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IBISWorld industry Report Key Topics

Companies in this industry stage live performances of musicals, operas, plays, comedy, improvisational, mime and puppet shows. This industry includes dinner theaters, which also provide food and drinks.

Industry Performance
Executive Summary
Key External Drivers
Current Performance
Industry Outlook
Industry Life Cycle
Products & Markets
Supply Chain
Products & Services
Major Markets
Globalization & Trade
Business Locations
Competitive Landscape
Market Share Concentration
Key Success Factors
Cost Structure Benchmarks
Barriers to Entry
Major Companies
Operating Conditions
Capital Intensity
Key Statistics
Industry Data
Annual Change
Key Ratios

About IBISWorld Inc.
Recognized as the nation’s most trusted independent source of industry and market research, IBISWorld offers a comprehensive database of unique information and analysis on every US industry. With an extensive online portfolio, valued for its depth and scope, the company equips clients with the insight necessary to make better business decisions. Headquartered in Los Angeles, IBISWorld serves a range of business, professional service and government organizations through more than 10 locations worldwide. For more information, visit http://www.ibisworld.com or call 1-800-330-3772.

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Gavin Smith
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