The Teatreneu comedy club in Barcelona has come up with an innovative way of charging customers; they’re calling it ‘Pay-Per-Laugh’. The concept is as simple as it sounds – the club has reduced its entry fee to zero, and instead, users are charged every time they laugh. A special facial-recognition software helps track the exact number of laughs per customer.
The bizarre idea is actually an experiment in partnership with advertising agency The Cyranos McCann – it was set up in response to increased government taxes on theatrical performances from 8% to 21%, which led to a 30% drop in audience members in just one year. So Teatreneu decided to look at the situation with humor, and that’s how pay-per-laugh was born. Each seat is fitted with a facial recognition system that detects the smiles of the person seated behind. Entrance is free, and if the show produces no laughs, customers don’t pay anything. But if they do, each smile is charged 0.30 euros with an upper cap of 24 euros.