BRANSON, Mo., July 22, 2012 — It’s no secret, this year has been a really tough year for many shows. Why? Simply put, “There’s not enough ‘PBIS’ (Paid Butts In Seats.) This might seem trite but it is PBIS, the “gross” revenue generated by each “butt” in a seat, that provides theatres and show owners with the major revenue source to pay performers, staff, taxes, operate theatres, costuming, sets, marketing, a myriad of other costs and hopefully, make a “net” profit.
“But Seagull, don’t they make revenue from their gift shops and concessions stands too. That’s not dependent on whether or not the customer making those purchases paid for a seat?” “Sure they get revenues from those sources, but the governing words are ‘the major revenue source.'” An Ole Seagull just has to believe that, although certainly a peripheral source of income, no one opens a theatre or a show planning its fiscal success or failure from gift shop and concession sales.
Over the years an Ole Seagull has heard many theories as to why PBIS drops. His theory is pretty simple and, he believes, based on reality, “PBIS drops for Branson shows in general and individual shows because, for whatever reasons, either consciously or unconsciously, people choose to do something else.” It might be as general as the choice not to come to Branson at all. If they come to Branson, it could be the choice to spend their vacation funds and time on something else rather than shows or, if they chose to go to a show, the choosing of one show over another.
There are some who believe all we have to do is bring more people to Branson and all will be well. According to the figures of the Branson Lakes Area CVB, at one time over 60 % of all the people coming to Branson went to Branson Landing, yet, at the same time those figures were being reported, individual businesses were complaining and having problems. The fault wasn’t with a lack of people coming to Branson Landing or its marketing, it was with the failure of the individual businesses to take advantage of that traffic to increase their PBIS (Per Butt In Store) count.
There are others who say the ticket resellers and receptives are the problem. Oh really, how can someone who is buying their tickets wholesale, through a theatre based on a mutually negotiated price, including tax, for resale at retail and whose livelihood depends on PBIS for theatres possibly be the problem? It gets even more ludicrous when one considers that most ticket resellers and receptives don’t make a dime until they PBIS as a result of a ticket sale.
“Ah Seagull, I have a couple of thoughts here.” “What would that be?” “Could some of those be people who make their living marketing some of those very shows who are hurting because of low PBIS and are looking for someone else to blame for their failure?” “Wow, that never crossed an Ole Seagull’s mind.” “Really?” “No, he was just joking.”
“Seagull, what is the reason for the low PBIS?” “Well, Grasshopper, let’s think on that one for a couple of weeks.”