The Week in Light & Sound
Tuesday, 28 June 2022
Top Ticket prices - Prices for top tickets to see West End shows have risen by 21% since before the pandemic, according to research by The Stage. The average top ticket price is currently £140.85, up from £116.09 in June 2019, the publication says. The most expensive show in the survey is Cabaret at the Playhouse, for which some tickets will set you back £303.80. But the research found that the lowest-priced tickets have risen by an average of just 3.3% since 2019, up to £22.56.
The most expensive seats for West End musicals now cost an average of £154.36, although that was a relatively modest increase of 3.5% since 2019, The Stage said. Plays had an average top ticket price of £114.69 - a jump of 38% compared with three years ago.
One factor in the high ticket prices for Cabaret was the redesign of the theatre to accommodate the production. Several hundred seats were stripped out, reducing the Playhouse's capacity.
The Stage editor Alistair Smith said that on the surface, the average face value of top-price tickets has "skyrocketed", but that overall it "is more of a mixed picture than previous years", partly because London's lucrative international tourist market has not fully recovered.
Reasonable - Andrew Lloyd Webber has said ticket prices for West End shows are "incredibly reasonable" given the cost of bringing a production to the stage. The composer, whose hits include Cats and Evita, is charging from £15 to more than £99.50 - for premium seats - for his London musical School of Rock. "Theatre is incredibly labour intensive," he said. "On the whole, the prices of West End theatre are incredibly reasonable considering the cost of what it is to put something on." Last year, Lord Lloyd-Webber revealed that the physical running costs for one of his theatres was £38,000 per week.
Job Cuts - Netflix has announced another round of job cuts as it grapples with slowing growth and increased competition. The streaming giant said it was cutting 300 more jobs - roughly 4% of its workforce - mostly in the US, after axing 150 people in May. The moves come after the company reported its first subscriber loss in more than a decade in April.
"While we continue to invest significantly in the business, we made these adjustments so that our costs are growing in line with our slower revenue growth," Netflix said in a statement on Thursday, adding that it was continuing to hire in other areas.
Eurovision - The body behind Eurovision says it "understands the disappointment" over its decision not to hold next year's song contest in Ukraine. The country's entrant Kalush Orchestra won the contest in May in a symbolic show of public support. Normally, that would mean Ukraine would host the competition next year. But the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) announced last week it could not be held in Ukraine following Russia's invasion.
Instead, the EBU said it was in talks with the BBC to host the contest in the UK. British entrant Sam Ryder came second in this year's contest with his single Spaceman. The announcement was met with disappointment by Ukrainian Culture Minister Oleksandr Tkachenko, who issued a statement "demanding to change the decision".
Mykola Chernotytskyi, head of the managing board of Ukrainian broadcaster UA: PBC, said: "It is a pity to see such an unappealable statement [from the EBU]. Therefore, we ask our partners to hold further negotiations." But on Thursday, the EBU doubled down on its position, saying in a statement that it "fully understands the disappointment that greeted the announcement".
"The decision was guided by the EBU's responsibility to ensure the conditions are met to guarantee the safety and security of everyone working and participating in the event, the planning of which needs to begin immediately in the host country," the broadcasting body said in a statement.
"At least 10,000 people are usually accredited to work on, or at, the Eurovision Song Contest including crew, staff and journalists. A further 30,000 fans are expected to travel to the event from across the world. Their welfare is our prime concern. It is therefore critical that decisions made in relation to such a complex live television event are made by broadcasting professionals and do not become politicised."
(Jim Evans)
28 June 2022

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