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Theatermania buys Whatsonstage

Companies see transatlantic growth potential

Gotham-based legit website Theatermania has acquired U.K. site Whatsonstage in a bid to exploit growth potential in the theater industry’s frequent trans-Atlantic traffic.

Whatsonstage is one of the most prominent theater websites in Blighty, with editorial content, performance listings, a branded annual awards show and a subscription club offering discounts and other perks to theater avids. Theatermania has similar components in its portfolio — including an awards show, the Drama Desks, which the company took over last year — as well as OvationTix, a ticketing system that’s been adopted by performing arts orgs around the country.

Acquisition combines the pools of audience tracking info separately accumulated by Whatsonstage and Theatermania, including the email databases of legit consumers that have long been acknowledged as a fundamental tool in reaching the industry’s core demo. Theatermania topper Gretchen Shugart said she hopes the access to broader audiences will help boost revenue from advertisers, particularly non-legit advertisers, looking for attention from the generally wealthy, well-educated theatergoer demo.

A trans-Atlantic link in stage awards shows may also boost sponsorship possibilities, she continued, adding there could be a potential market in the U.K. for expanded ticketing activities.

The past decade has seen the Internet become an increasingly dominant platform for the purchase of theater tickets, while new-media initiatives take up larger and larger chunks of the industry’s advertising and marketing dollars. Theatermania is one of a handful of Gotham Web outlets combining editorial content and some version of ticketing or discount activities, including Broadway.com and Playbill.com.

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