QPAC/QTIX to trial Uber-style surge pricing to boost revenue

While trawling through the dozens of documents tabled online by the state government yesterday, I noticed the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) is investigating airline/Uber-style dynamic or “surge” pricing to boost revenue and presumably to make it less dependent on the $10.6 million subsidy it receives from the state government.* In its 2018-19 Annual Report on p. 66 QPAC describes dynamic pricing as “The practice of varying the price for a product or service to reflect changing market conditions, in particular in times of greater demand.” It’s a pity they didn’t have it in place when Lion King and Phantom of the Opera were showing in the past as they would have cleaned up.

On p. 18 of the QPAC 2018-19 Annual Report it is noted:

A review of the QTIX pricing model has resulted in changes such as a fee for development work specific to individual clients’ needs and an introduction of a QTIX transaction fee negotiated as contracts are renewed. A system to apply dynamic pricing to improve yield for specific events is currently being developed and will be trialled in coming months in consultation with producers.

I was very pleased to read this, and it should benefit both producers and QPAC, as QTIX (QPAC’s “ticketing arm” as they call it) receives higher transaction fees. It will benefit consumers, too, as people who really want to attend a popular show and are willing to pay to attend will be more likely to secure tickets. Also, consumers may find they can buy heavily discounted tickets for shows which haven’t attracted a lot of attention yet.

South Bank 15a

The Playhouse at QPAC, South Bank, Brisbane. Photo by Jennifer Tunny.

While I was generally pleased with the level of disclosure in QPAC’s Annual Report, I would like to see more information on utilisation rates for specific venues with QPAC (e.g. Lyric Theatre, Concert Hall, Playhouse, and Cremorne Theatre) rather than just aggregate data (see p. 11). The Lyric Theatre appears to do well, with all those cash cow jukebox musicals that are always showing there, but I wonder about the profitability of the other venues.

*Hat tip to Nick Behrens for alerting me to the state government’s pre-Riverfire weekend document dump.

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