Cristian Garcia

Digital Business Strategy

where data and creativity collide

Product Management Series: TodayTix

I ran into TodayTix looking for theater options in London. Once I started using the app I realized that -as a proper digital gateway- it had an endless scrolling with all sorts of plays for really good prices. 

After buying over 45 tickets on the app in just over a year, I realized I was hooked to its smooth usability and engaging content display. And even after trying other options like StubHub [from eBay] or TicketMasterUK I had to admit, the switching cost was too high for me. 

The app was created in New York (2013) by two Broadway producers and part of its success it’s on the fact that by then, only 1% of al the Broadway tickets were sold via mobile.

7 years later, the app operates in 3 continents and over 10 major cities. During its first year and half, TodayTix increased the ticket sales via mobile to 3% [before it was 1%], and in the upcoming years, has raised almost $100MM from different venture capitalists.

The market

According to TodayTix, the theater industry is worth $50B and Broadway represents $1.27B. Out of that pie, there's at least 20% of tickets that go unsold (30% in London), which is one of the main targets of the app: dynamically priced tickets in order to have sold out shows.

Even though the app might compete in the ticket brokers industry, along Ticketmaster and Telecharge, the founders say they compete with Netflix or bars (anything people might think of on a weekend evening, to have fun and relax) which makes difficult to “label” the industry they play in, however I'm going to assume they compete on the ticketing industry, with companies such as the ones mentioned before.

What is the JTBD

This one is quite difficult, because at the end, what pain are we solving?

Is it what to do when I have free time and money? - I have a tendency to think so, and as a user I could compete with other live events, or even Netflix and Playstation.

I will work with that assumption and in that case, TodayTix facilitates making a decision with the most important attributes: where, how much and what.
The product helps you navigate with these 3 critical questions in mind and I love that. This also, makes complete sense when you think 70% of TodayTix users look at 5 plays on average, before choosing where to go.

As a user, those are the 3 things I pay attention the most because -believe it or not- I don't really care about the plot of the play or musical, I prefer to buy and be absolutely surprised.

Product

The app and website for TodayTix are all about content discovery and easy purchases.

The iOS app has an “almost” endless scrolling with tons of plays. There ́s different ways to discover titles ( re: if you have a limited budget, you are going on a date or feel like watching a musical) and once you have found the one, the app displays relevant information such as trailers, title, summary, the cheapest ticker or theater. 

Once you click on the card, you get more information on the play and a detailed view on the different band prices. The month calendar has the cheapest tickets available per day displayed on the actual theater seats layout. Here, there's a lot of room for improvement:

How many times have I bought restricted view tickets (the app warns you later on) but everything would be better if we could get an actual image of the stage from each sit in the house before paying for my ticket.

When is time to pay, you can do it directly with Apple Pay or any other credit card.

The next step in the process is getting a confirmation screen in which you can add your ticket to Apple Wallet and your calendar. Absolutely wonderful and easy to do.

The navigational menu is also very simple and intuitive. You can save your favourite plays into “My list”, see all your previous and upcoming shows on “My orders” or discover new plays segmented on “Netflix like” categories.

On desktop, the product displays fully using beautiful images, clear call to actions and a very useful information display, that also includes media outlet reviews on the play.

The TechStack for TodayTix has some of the following solutions

  • Postman: Only complete API development environment

  • Madrill: Send transactional, triggered, and personalized email, then track results.

  • ElasticSearch: Open Source, Distributed, RESTful Search Engine

  • MongoDB

  • React

  • MySQL

  • Redis

  • Apache Tomcat

  • AngularJS

  • Docker: Enterprise Container Platform for High-Velocity Innovation

  • Vim: Highly configurable text editor built to enable efficient text editing


Life cycles

The first 5 years for the company were about connecting plays and the audience. But now that it has proven to be a solid alternative and after conducting millions of transactions, the company is entering a new stage in which it will start creating content for specific niches.

With this, the company should aim to increase its revenue, diversify its offerings and solidify its presence in keymarkets, while increasing operational margins.

Some analysts question TodayTix $100MM´s investment, while “only” selling 4MM tickets over 6  years, however the potential lays on targeting an audience that has not been to the theater before and slowly, changing this behavioural pattern.

Alternatives

TodayTix has 90 full time employees and a $5MM annual revenue.
Revenue per employe:  $50,000

SeatGeek: SeatGeek is TodayTix's biggest rival. SeatGeek was founded in New York, New York} in 2009. SeatGeek operates in the Movies & Entertainment industry. Compared to TodayTix, SeatGeek generates $22.6M more revenue.
Revenue per employe:  $82,000

Goldstar is TodayTix's #2 rival. Goldstar's headquarters is in Altadena, California, and was founded in 2002. Goldstar competes in the Movies & Entertainment field. Goldstar generates 88% of TodayTix's revenue.
Revenue per employee: $28,000

TicketIQ is TodayTix's #3 competitor. TicketIQ was founded in 2009 in New York, New York. TicketIQ operates in the Systems Software industry. TicketIQ generates $8.4M more revenue than TodayTix.
Revenue per employee: $559,000

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Future

Since TodayTix doesn't see itself in the ticket sales industry, they think about the future in different terms. Given the huge amount of data they have, the company recently launched in the US a TodayTix Presets series which creates original content targeting purchasing behaviour based on analytics. This also connects the growth of the app with strategic alliances and partnerships with theaters worldwide which is a key stakeholder to continue evolving.

TodayTix is still a small (but promising) player in the ticketing industry. After 6 years building a strong data driven company and changing consumer behaviours (before TodayTix millennials were not going that much to the theater, with the usage of apps, that demographic group its seeing more plays now), the company aims to reach its new growth stage and also solidify its operational margins and revenue. At the same time, this new “netflix” era should be about expanding partnerships and alliances but also creating niche content for high growth potential audiences.

Last but not least, TodayTix needs to secure key markets (such as London or Sydney) and owning the theater industry.
As a super user, can´t wait for the next play.

Cristian Garcia (cc) by-nc-sa | Made in 🇬🇧 |  2005 - 2019