Spanish Comedy Club Charges Customers Based on the Number of Times They Laugh

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.


The club even offers a mobile app as a method of payment, and there’s a pay-per-laugh season ticket as well. The experiment has proved successful so far, with the average price of a ticket price going up by 6 euros. The media coverage and social media shares resulted in a 35% increase in the number of spectators. Each pay-per-laugh show produced 28,000 euros more of ticket money than a regular show.


The system is now being implemented in other theaters around Spain, and other countries have been showing interest as well. James Woroniecki, director of London’s 99 club, said: “Sounds fun, just so long as all the facial recognition data doesn’t get forwarded to the NSA!” Yeah, there’s nothing funny about that… “It’d be a big technical challenge – as people laugh so often at the 99, we’d have to install a cash machine by every seat,” he jokingly added.

via BBC

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