The telephone and online box office for this year’s BBC Proms season opened yesterday. Figures from transactions so far show that a total of 85,921 tickets were sold yesterday. 376 tickets sold every minute in the first hour.
Last year’s total ticket sales across the season came in at 313,000. This year’s similarly sized season has already seen 27.45% of that target-to-beat reached. That in itself is an impressive signal that the season still commands a great deal of attention amongst audiences. Or maybe some of them were bowled over by the interviews I did on BBC Proms launch day. Maybe.
With my concentration fixed on something else entirely, spending an extended period of time in a virtual queue to purchase tickets with money I haven’t got wasn’t on my list of priorities. But seeing as 71,808 of those tickets were sold online, lots of others clearly made use of the Royal Albert Hall’s online ticketing system to bag themselves a seat at some of this year’s concerts.
In online terms and given the demanding infrastructure serving an online ticketing system where users are held in a virtual queue before they have an opportunity to select their seats and concerts, the fact that so many users are opting for online over telephone, postal or face to face booking is impressive.
This is now the second year the online ticketing system has been used. I didn’t use it last year either, ending up purchasing seated tickets for all the concerts I ended up wanting to go to either on the day (there’s usually a decent seat somewhere on the hall) or by ringing for returns. Last year’s visit to the packed out and utterly brilliant Sondheim Prom was as a result of ringing for returns.
But I’m impressed more people are buying at the top of the season for big number events. It shows there’s a hunger for the programme and that the online system is working.