Late last year, popular ticketing app TodayTix started a podcast, Broadway Backstory, which gave listeners a behind-the-scenes look into how a play went from ideation to execution. Next up in TodayTix’s content play: A glossy, monthly print magazine dubbed The X, whose first issue debuts on October 1.
“When we started looking at all the ticketing companies that would typically come to mind to the average consumer, they have very little to no content period,” Brian Fenty, TodayTix’s newly anointed CEO, told me. “And I think that’s in large part because if you’re selling tickets to Beyoncé, the New York Giants, and Hamilton, it becomes very hard to create generalized content that is appealing.”
But TodayTix’s connections with Broadway and the theater world, Fenty believes, could be its ticket (sorry!) to creating a magazine that feels organic and fresh, while also filling a void. “There’s not a tremendous amount of content—with the exception of Playbill and Variety—because the business is often viewed as a small niche industry,” Fenty says.
TodayTix’s magazine will be complimentary when distributed via its Concierge ticket delivery service–which is how it delivers to most Broadway shows–positioning The X very close to a heavyweight like Playbill, which has long been the only magazine actually circulated inside of theaters. (Single-copy issues of The X will also be available for purchase online.)
But Fenty insists he isn’t trying to beat Playbill at its own game. “Playbill is iconic,” he says. “It’s a landmark property, and it serves a very specific purpose. It will have show-specific content, as it always has, which ours does not. [The X] is really meant to be more of an editorialized piece that sort of sits adjacent to Playbill and hopefully adds to the experience.”
His hope is for The X to evoke Vanity Fair or Vogue. The X‘s first issue, for example, includes an indulgent 11-page photo spread and feature on Broadway star Aaron Tveit, as well as a section called “The Wanderer,” which offers recommendations on where to eat, drink, and hang post-show or pre-show. In the coming months, the print issue will also be accompanied by audio and video footage online, according to Fenty.
Part of the calculus behind The X is TodayTix’s customer base—3.5 million people across 11 cities, with an average age of 29—which gives the magazine a considerable audience and opportunity for monetization right out of the gate. (Fenty claims the magazine will break even or potentially even be profitable within its first quarter.) That also explains why TodayTix opted to go the print route: In New York City alone, where The X is launching first, Fenty says TodayTix’s concierge service delivers more than 50,000 tickets each month, with a high of about 150,000.
Fenty also thinks the magazine will double as marketing for TodayTix, which currently accounts for 10-20% of tickets at shows that sell well on the app. That may well be the case if The X proves to be a more entertaining pre-show read than Playbill.