Posted on August 13, 2012
Shubert Organization makes changes to its Telecharge website with an interactive seat finder in response to Ticketmaster seat finder
Telecharge.com, the Shubert Organization ticketing site that is the official Broadway show ticket vendor for over half of the shows on Broadway, has recently re-worked its website. Currently in Beta testing, the new version of the Telecharge website is seen by 1 out of 5 people who visit Telecharge.com (or you can click the Beta test button). Besides an overall re-branding (the primary color is now blue rather than white, for example), there are some key changes in terms of functionality and information offered. The new Telecharge.com layout features more information on each Broadway show, from cast details to handicapped accessibility information. This includes a schedule of upcoming show dates and times (and a "View Full Calendar" option) that is a much-needed improvement, making it easier for ticket buyers to see at a glance what show time will be best for them. The comprehensive pricing breakdowns are shown by performance, enabling customers to more easily see which seats are available at what cost. The most significant improvement on the new Telecharge.com site is that it now allows users to search and select seats on a map. This is helpful to Broadway ticket buyers because they are able to easily see where available seats are located in the theater and to choose their preferred seats accordingly. Telecharge's 3-D seat map gives you the option of looking at the theater from overhead or from a stage view -- if you already have your tickets, you can even enter your section, row, and seat numbers to see exactly where the seats are located, although Microsoft Silverlight must be installed for this functionality to work. Telecharge has also included functionality to see a view of the stage from your seat before buying. Not all the theatre data and photos have yet been loaded, but this function promises to be quite valuable to ticket buyers. Overall, Telecharge's seat finder is not as good as the one used on Ticketmaster.com, which handles the ticketing for most of the rest of the shows on Broadway. Though it will likely improve in time, at the moment Telecharge's map has an unfinished look, is often slow to load, is not nearly as intuitive as Ticketmaster's map, and in some cases lacks the flexibility of being able to see all the available seats on one screen. The new website still does not allow the use of discount codes, they must be used on Telecharge's other website, BroadwayOffers.com. The new site also requires Microsoft Silverlight to be installed, further limiting the penetration of their latest development, as Microsoft Silverlight has very limited user adoption and many documented problems with Google Chrome and Safari on the Mac. Similarly this functionality will not work on Apple's iPad or iPhone. On the whole, the new Telecharge website is an improvement because it presents Broadway ticket buyers with more detailed information on schedules, pricing and seating, along with a more complex search function. Nonetheless, it needs work in terms of smoothness of appearance, ease of use, and functionality.