Broadway.com strikes deal with NY Times (HOLL, NYT)

|
Includes: HOLL, NYT
by: David Jackson

Broadway.com, the online theater ticketing business owned by Hollywood Media (ticker: HOLL), announced a distribution deal with the NY Times. Quick comments and full press release:


Quick comments:

  • Compelling deal for the NY Times, which is in a strong position due to the readership of its coverage and reviews of Broadway shows. 
  • Surprising how slowly newspapers have integrated transactional functionality into their online reviews. You'd have thought that an obvious addition to a movie or theater review would be a button that says "Buy Tickets Now".
  • Incrementally positive for Hollywood Media. Broadway.com accounts for the majority of its reported revenues (HOLL's ownership of MovieTickets.com is a 26% minority stake and its Hollywood.com cable channel is pre-revenue), and this deal could considerably boost revenues (though margins will probably fall due to profit sharing with the NY Times).
  • HOLL stated on its recent conference call that it would soon announce a major distribution deal for Broadway.com. It also stated that it is planning to launch a theater ticketing service for London, England, in the second half of the year.

Full press release:

NYTimes.com Announces Comprehensive, Fully-Integrated Ticketing for Broadway and Off Broadway Shows

NEW YORK, Jun 27, 2005 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- NYTimes.com announced today that it has launched comprehensive, fully-integrated ticket purchasing for all Broadway shows and many Off Broadway shows, powered by Theatre Direct International, a division of Hollywood Media Corp.

"The New York Times has always been a trusted leader in theater coverage," said Jason Krebs, vice president, sales and marketing, NYTimes.com. "With the addition of this new feature, we have given our readers another reason to rely on NYTimes.com for all of their theater needs. As always, they can come to the site for unparalleled reviews, complete show details, lively online discussions and now they can also buy tickets to dozens of productions. No other theater resource is as comprehensive, authoritative, or compelling."

Matt Kupchin, president, Theatre Direct International, said, "We are proud that NYTimes.com has chosen Theatre Direct to offer one-stop theater ticketing. Theatre Direct has created a first-class ticket buying experience for theater patrons and this endeavor with NYTimes.com is a testament to our ever-growing success in making theater accessible to consumers worldwide."

Additionally, the section's show and venue information pages have been upgraded to include links to up-to-date performance calendars and will soon offer show "trailers," short, edited streaming video clips from the shows.

Additional offerings available at www.nytimes.com/theater include:

-- "Show Details" page offering capsule reviews or an in-depth  plot synopsis from The Times as well as extensive director,  cast and production information for the dozens of shows  currently in production.

-- "Readers' Reviews" tool allowing theatergoers to rate  Broadway, Off Broadway and London shows, post reviews and view  other readers' opinions.

-- Schedule of shows in previews and their production details  giving readers a first look at upcoming shows.

-- Powerful search capability and streamlined navigation allowing readers to quickly find theater reviews by show title, scan productions by category and read features and reviews for  every Broadway, Off Broadway, Off Off Broadway and London  production currently running.

-- Multimedia features with audio from Times theater critics Ben Brantley and Charles Isherwood, discussing current and  upcoming theater productions.

-- Theater Forum, allowing readers to share with each other  thoughts and opinions about the latest productions.

-- "Opening Soon" feature giving readers a snapshot of upcoming productions, accompanied by related articles.

Another essential element of the NYTimes.com/theater experience is TicketWatch, a free NYTimes.com e-mail with discounted theater and performing arts offers that is sent regularly to over 325,000 subscribers who have signed up at www.nytimes.com/ticketwatch. Each e-mail provides a special offer to a specific Broadway or Off Broadway show or performing arts event. The e-mail includes a promotion code to use when ordering tickets by phone or online.

About The New York Times Company

The New York Times Company (NYSE:NYT), a leading media company with 2004 revenues of $3.3 billion, includes The New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, The Boston Globe, 16 other newspapers, eight network-affiliated television stations, two New York City radio stations and more than 40 Web sites, including NYTimes.com, Boston.com and About.com. For the fifth consecutive year, the Company was ranked No. 1 in the publishing industry in Fortune's 2005 list of America's Most Admired Companies. The Company's core purpose is to enhance society by creating, collecting and distributing high-quality news, information and entertainment

About Theatre Direct International

Theatre Direct International, a division of Hollywood Media Corp. (NASDAQ: HOLL), is one of Broadway's largest ticketing outlets with over 15 years of experience with delivering audiences to theatrical productions on Broadway, Off Broadway, and in London. Theatre Direct develops campaigns for consumer and group ticketing to encourage attendance of specific productions and to benefit the industry at large. Theatre Direct is also the engine behind its sister businesses Broadway.com and 1.800.BROADWAY, offering consumer and group ticketing for all Broadway shows as well as most London and Off Broadway theaters, hotel, restaurant and theater ticket packaging, and gift certificates.

This press release may be found at www.nytdigital.com and www.nytco.com

SOURCE: The New York Times Company

Full disclosure: at the time of writing I'm long HOLL.