Barcelona comedy club introduces 'pay per laugh'
Date Posted: 14/10/14
New comedy is famously hit and miss, but one Barcelona club is attempting to eliminate the risk of paying for an evening that isn't enjoyable by introducing a pay-per-laugh system.
The scheme at Teatreneu in the city's Gracia district will involve installing iPads into the backs of chairs. These devices will utilise facial recognition in order to identify how often people laugh, with the prices starting at €0.30 (24p) a chuckle.
However, if you giggle all the way through the entire evening, you can expect to pay the full whack of €24 (£18).
Owners of the club told the press that they had come up with the creative scheme in conjunction with advertising agency The Cyranos McCann, in an effort to increase ticket revenues following a rise in theatre tax across Spain that has decimated audience figures.
So far, the novelty pricing has been a complete success, with people rising to the challenge of trying to laugh less and failing - the average price paid per person in the end is around €6 euros higher than before the system was introduced.
Critics have been quick to point out that the novelty might not take long to wear off, leaving the club struggling, but others have suggested that the concept might well be copied across the country as venues adapt to the new tax.
And indeed, it might not just be imitated within Spain, with James Woroniecki, director of London's 99 Club, expressing a playful interest. "Sounds fun. 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 told BBC News.
Those visiting the Teatreneu club will need to install an app on their smartphones in order to take advantage of the Pay Per Laugh scheme.
Posted by Hayley Brent
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