Survey of Arts Management

Course blog for American University PERF-570, Fall 2014

Pay per Laugh

pay per laugh

Comedy Club, Teatreneu, in Spain has developed a new payment model to entice audience attendance. This “pay-per-laugh” business model is made possible by facial recognition software on tablets located on the back of the theater seats. The model already boasts a significant increase in the number of patrons attending and with a max cost of $30 per person, it seems the audience goers are fine with their monitored reactions to the show. It is easy to be skeptical of the facial detection abilities of the software, BUT if an audience is willing to agree to enter a show with this caviat, than they must be as excited to be a part of the experiment as they are to see the show.

How would this model possibly transfer into other fields of the art world? The author mentions the ability of censors on the skin to determine neurological responses to performance or experience. Acknowledging that the costs for such audience participation would be high, how could the arts consider this model as one that legitimately takes into account the value audience members have for the art itself and their experience?

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2 comments on “Pay per Laugh

  1. Jenni
    October 14, 2014

    I think this is creative and fun, because it can give the audience more control, help them feel more engaged, and can maybe even raise the value of their experience because they have tangible proof of how it affected them. I’m just not sure how it would transfer to other forms of theatre and art. I think that it might be a good deal harder to adapt this model for something like a dramatic play or art gallery viewing, since there are so many different focuses and smiling/laughing may not be the goal or intention of the work.

    It’s an interesting idea though! I’m curious to see what else can be done with it and how it affects the audience’s experience overall.

  2. hgenetos
    October 17, 2014

    I think it would be hilarious to watch these monitors and watch the cheap people try not to laugh. It is like watching an SNL cast member trying not to break character.

    I am curious how this will play out and if other arts will try to follow suit, a quarter for every piece of art you linger in front of. I was thinking about a trip to Spain for spring break and now I might just need to test this out, for academic reasons naturally.

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