It seems to be an unavoidable rule in the United States that performing arts organizations lose money on their daily operations. Whether you're talking about symphony orchestras, opera companies, regional theaters or dance companies, among others, ticket revenues seldom come close to operating expenses, forcing the organizations to depend on contributions, government grants, corporate sponsorship or sometimes endowment income for their survival. And these sources may not be enough; several symphony orchestras, in particular, have closed or drastically scaled back in recent years.
There are a number of possible causes for this revenue/expense mismatch - too much competition for the public's entertainment spending, lack of effective pricing power, poor control of expenses, or sheer mismanagement, just to name a few that come to mind. Is this assessment accurate? Are there other issues I haven't mentioned? And lastly, do performing arts organizations outside the United States face a similar struggle?