OK I admit that what I’m about to write about science talks is grossly unscientific, but I’m doing it anyway. Two upcoming science shows I have tickets to have been down-sized or cancelled and I’m seriously wondering if the public’s appetite for rock-star-priced science shows has been misjudged.
A few years ago there was the Brian Cox show. Pretty expensive, but cool to get someone with that level of international exposure in Sydney. Then the Brian Cox shows came back again and again with ever-increasing prices. Other similar shows were brought out either with locals or with international names – all with serious venues, and very serious prices.
By the way, the pricing thing is exacerbated because often people will, in contrast to actual rock-star shows, take the whole family along so you have a multiplier on the total cost.
But even without that, the shows have become seriously expensive. And there are lots of them.
Now I love the fact that Sydney is getting the opportunity to see World-class minds in action. But realistically at several hundred dollars per show, there has to be a limit to the potential audience willing to go. If we’re hitting that limit, my real hope is that the promoters will reset their approach rather than abandoning it. There clearly is interest and a market for science-y shows – just perhaps not quite so many at quite such a premium price.
It also has to be said, that not all of the offerings have the cache and the entertainment value that Brian Cox brings to the stage.
Of course it may turn out that my sample (of two shows that I happened to have tickets for) were cancelled and shifted for completely different reasons. In which case… whoops…
But I don’t think it changes the underlying point that trying to persuade a distinct market to repeatedly pay such premium prices for shows is going to be an up-hill battle. Perhaps a re-think is in order.