How a theatre increased prices and got 35% more spectators using creative pricing and computer vision

Have you ever bought a ticket to a comedy show and found yourself struggling to laugh at the humour and regretting the decision to buy the ticket?

TeatreNeu, a comedy club in Barcelona, Spain is experimenting with a novel solution combining image analysis, gamification and virality to address that.

The trigger for this experiment was the sharp drop of 20% in ticket prices and 30% in audience due to a crippling tax increase from 8% to 21% for theatrical shows imposed in 2013.

Partnering with advertising agency The Cyranos McCann, the theatre installed tablets on the back of each seat to detect laughter in real time. While the entry to the event was made free, each laugh is charged at 0.30 euros with a ceiling of 24 euros.

The comedy club also launched a mobile app as a method of payment, as well as its first pay-per-laugh season ticket.

Once the show is over, spectators can see each and everyone of their smiles on an app and also have the option of sharing them on social media.

The average price per ticket rose by 6 euros with the new pricing in place and resulted in 35% more spectators.

According to BBC, the system is now being copied in other theatres around Spain.

This 2 min video clip summarizing the story is worth a watch.

And it is not just a creative use of technology and algorithms. This experiment successfully integrated emotion into the whole purchase experience.

What makes this story extremely exciting is that even small entities are beginning to leverage the power of advanced algorithms in Computer Vision combined with thoughtful design.