The Big Story Blog

Groupon's influence on the arts?

Posted at 4:12 PM on December 7, 2011 by Paul Tosto
Filed under: Arts

I'm not a Groupon guy. But I was intrigued when MPR News arts editor Euan Kerr mentioned Groupon's growing influence on ticket purchases for the arts.

In a quick search, I could only find a couple references to the phenomenon from last year in Chicago: One from an arts marketing blog and a second from the Chicago Tribune on Groupon's influence when it picked Joffrey Ballet tickets as its deal of the day. Excerpt:

On Aug. 18, the Groupon online "deal of the day" offered discounted subscriptions to the upcoming season of the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago. Within 24 hours, 2,338 people had taken the bait, the Joffrey announced the following day in a press release.

To offer some perspective, the Joffrey had about 4,900 subscribers on Aug. 17. In other words, the ballet company saw a nearly 50 percent increase in its subscription base in one day. And they said subscriptions were dying. Or dead. Nonsense.

The huge success -- in arts terms, at least -- of the promotion has been taken as evidence of the Chicago-based Groupon's potentially massive impact on culture. That's surely the case. But as Chicago's arts organizations begin to roll out their fall seasons, there are several other useful lessons here for the city's cultural leaders.

Anyone got a perspective on this?

About Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto writes the Big Story Blog for MPR News. He joined the newsroom in 2008 after more than 20 years reporting on education, politics and the economy for news wires and newspapers across the country.

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