12 Case Study
Growing the Audience for Hamilton
- Since its debut in 2015, Broadway’s hit musical Hamilton has received critical acclaim and realized unprecedented box office sales. Just a year after opening, shows were sold out through January 2017 and ticket prices had climbed to $500. Such widespread success inspired the play’s management to think about how they could extend Hamilton’s footprint beyond Broadway.
- Hamilton’s digital team focused on attracting an even wider audience by establishing a presence on the Internet and in social media. They understood how these channels provided a unique opportunity for fans who had never seen the live show to experience the Hamilton brand. At the cornerstone of the team’s efforts were a series of online “Ham4Ham” videos. In these, the cast of Hamilton produced short and playful scenes—some were reenactments from the play; others were unrelated vignettes. In one, the cast recreated a popular scene from the West Wing of the White House right before they were set to perform for President Obama. In another, lead actor Lin Manuel-Miranda and Hamilton’s composer Alan Menken sang songs from Disney’s The Little Mermaid. The show also regularly publishes digital content across Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and YouTube, including user-generated postings. For example, the team manages an Instagram series called #HamArt, which depicts drawings and paintings of characters or scenes from the play created by its fans.
- Hamilton’s ability to reach unexpected markets stems from the producer’s adeptness at managing both an entertainment brand and a Broadway musical. By understanding the strength of creative content creation and uncovering new distribution opportunities, Hamilton’s digital team has been instrumental in earning the franchise a larger online audience than any other Broadway show, including long-standing blockbusters such as Wicked and the Lion King.
- Off Broadway, several factors have pointed to the play’s enduring success. In 2017, the cast and crew began a national tour across at many U.S. cities. Additionally, various pieces of merchandise—from sweatshirts to hats—and other collectible souvenirs from the show continue to be in high demand. Finally, Hamilton has connected with a youthful demographic who likely were uninterested in the theater previously but now have the potential to become habitual playgoers.
- How can Broadway leverage its success with Hamilton to increase its conversion of the younger demographic into habitual playgoers? Be specific in what Hamilton did well and whether than can translate to other Broadway shows. What challenges might be encountered? Please be specific in your answers to both of the questions.
- Using the criteria from the textbook to evaluate business leveraging options, what other growth options exist as revenue-generating for Hamilton? Please be specific in your recommendations here.
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