The comedy club using facial recognition software to charge per laugh, not per show

Each laugh is worth €0.30 and is recorded on a tablet on the back of the seat in front

Natasha Culzac
Thursday 09 October 2014 18:21
The Teatreneu club in Barcelona is charging its members by the laugh
The Teatreneu club in Barcelona is charging its members by the laugh

Facial recognition software is revolutionising security systems but it’s also helping a small arts club in Spain turn a larger profit.

Confused? The software is being used by Barcelona comedy venue the Teatreneu club to charge its audience members per laugh, instead of per ticket.

The industry has reportedly suffered huge setbacks after the government raised the tax on theatre tickets from 8 per cent to 21 per cent.

In an entertaining video outlining its efforts, the club says immediately after the move by the authorities, audience numbers reduced by 30 per cent in one year.

They had to think of an inventive and ingenious way of counteracting this decline.

In conjunction with advertising agency The Cyranos McCann, the venue began experimenting by installing tablets on the back of audience members’ seats and recording each time they laughed.

Entrance to the club is free, but each laugh amounts to €0.30 (£0.24) – to a maximum of 80 laughs for €24 (£18).

Brilliantly, customers can at the end of the performance see how much they’d spent and then post their results on their social media profiles.

The average ticket price is now up by €6 and it has resulted in 35 per cent more spectators.

As reported by the BBC, other theatres in Spain are now also following suit in the hope that they, too, could see an increase in customer figures.

A mobile phone payment app has also been launched, in addition to the theatre’s first season ticket based on laughs, not shows.

It is unclear which software is being used nor how accurate it. The Independent is awaiting comment from The Cyranos McCann.

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