Print Print Share LinkedIn

COVID-19 Audience Outlook Monitor

May 18, 2020

COVID-19 Audience Outlook Monitor

May 18, 2020

The Australia Council is working with Patternmakers and WolfBrown to understand changes in behaviours and sentiments of arts-goers in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, to support decision-making and forward planning across the sector.

Restrictions on public gatherings and travel have forced many in the arts community to shut their doors and cancel programs and activities. This tracking study is designed to support important decision-making in the coming months about when to open again and resume programming in spaces where people physically gather.

Results will be published progressively starting in May, providing artists, cultural organisations and the broader arts sector with valuable information as changes occur.

Results from the first phase of the study are now available, with the key insights outlined in this Snapshot Report. Future data collection phases are planned for July and September 2020.

All data is available in the Audience Outlook Monitor dashboard, with results from over 23,000 respondents.

Key findings from the first phase include:

  • Overwhelmingly, audiences plan to return to arts and culture events in future, with 85% planning to attend just as they did in the past (78%), or even more often (7%).
  • On average, 22% of audiences are comfortable attending as soon as restrictions are lifted. 67% will attend when they deem the risk of transmissions to be minimal, while 11% won’t be back until there is no risk at all.
  • However right now, there are mixed views about attending large venues, as there are with all kinds of public places. Most audiences are not comfortable attending performance venues seating large groups of 100 people (56%).
  • Three quarters of audiences (75%) are also participating in online arts and culture activities, like watching arts video content (52%), watching live-streamed events (42%), or doing online classes or tutorials (36%).
  • Online participation is also allowing audiences to discover new works. Confirming the audience development potential of this time, a sizeable proportion (29%) have discovered a new artist, artwork or performance online, or they know someone who has (13%).

About the study

Baseline data for this tracking study was collected in a cross-sector collaborative survey process involving 159 arts and culture organisations, including museums, galleries, performing arts organisations and festivals. These organisations simultaneously sent a survey to a random sample of their audiences, who had attended a cultural event since January 2018.

The responses span a diverse range of event types and encompass people who attend all types of events. The large sample provides detailed insights about different art forms, types of events, demographic groups and parts of Australia.

Read more about the methodology and the types of events which are included.

How do results compare to other studies about response to the pandemic?

The Audience Outlook Monitor captures ‘active’ arts audiences – those who are on the contact database of at least one of the 159 participating organisations and have attended a cultural event since January 2018 – rather than the general population. The results will be most relevant for activities that rely on people being in public spaces, similar to those of the 159 participating museums, galleries, festivals and organisations.

However results from the Audience Outlook Monitor broadly align with results of other studies capturing Australians’ readiness to be out in public again. A large proportion of audiences are still hesitant to attend large events, and people are still worried about being in crowds.

Karina Utomo performs in the 2019 Perth Festival production of Cat Hope’s Speechless, produced by Tura New Music. Credit: Toni Wilkinson

Delivery partners

Supporting partners

List of participating organisations

ACMI
Adelaide Festival Centre
Adelaide Film Festival
Adelaide Fringe
Adelaide Symphony Orchestra
Art Gallery of Ballarat
Art Gallery of New South Wales
Art on The Move
Art, Not Apart
arTour
ARTRAGE INC
Arts Centre Melbourne
Arts Margaret River Inc
Artsource
Artspace
Australian Brandenburg Orchestra
Australian Centre for Contemporary Art
Australian Dance Theatre
Australian Festival of Chamber Music
Australian Museum
Australian Theatre for Young People
Barking Gecko Theatre
Bathurst Regional Council T/A Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre
Belconnen Arts Centre
Bell Shakespeare
Belvoir
Bendigo Venues & Events
Biennale of Sydney
Black Swan State Theatre Company
Brisbane Festival
Brisbane Multicultural Art Centre (BEMAC)
Brisbane Powerhouse
Brisbane Writers Festival
Brown’s Mart Arts Ltd
Bunbury Regional Entertainment Centre
Bundaberg Regional Council
Bunjil Place (City of Casey)
Cairns Indigenous Art Fair
Campbelltown Arts Centre
Canberra Glassworks
Canberra Youth Theatre
Centre for Contemporary Photography
Chamber of Arts and Culture WA
Chunky Move
Circa Contemporary Circus
Circus Oz
Colac Otway Performing Arts & Cultural Centre
Country Arts SA
Cultural Media
Dancehouse
Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation Ltd
Darwin Entertainment Centre
Design Centre Tasmania
Drum Theatre
Electronic Music Conference (EMC)
Empire Theatres Pty Ltd
Faculty of Fine Arts and Music, University of Melbourne
Feast Queer Arts and Cultural Festival
Footscray Community Arts Centre
Forge Theatre and Arts Hub
FORM building a state of creativity
Frankston Arts Centre
Fremantle Press Inc
Geelong Arts Centre
Geelong Gallery
Gladstone Entertainment Convention Centre
Goldfields Arts Centre
Hayes Theatre Co
History Trust of South Australia
HOTA, Home of the Arts
HotHouse Theatre
Ian Potter Museum of Art, the University of Melbourne
Information + Cultural Exchange
Ipswich Civic Centre
La Boite Theatre Company
Lighthouse Theatre Warrnambool
Linden New Art Inc
Lismore Regional Gallery
Logan Entertainment Centre – Logan City Council
Mackay Entertainment & Convention Centre
Malthouse Theatre
Melbourne Fringe
Melbourne International Comedy Festival
Melbourne International Jazz Festival
Melbourne Recital Centre
Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
Melbourne Theatre Company
Merrigong Theatre Company
Mildura Arts Centre
Multicultural Arts Victoria
Museums Victoria
Music Victoria
National Gallery of Australia
National Gallery of Victoria (NGV)
National Museum of Australia
National Portrait Gallery
Nexus Arts
No Strings Attached Theatre of Disability
Opera Australia
Opera Queensland
Orange Civic Theatre
Penrith Performing & Visual Arts
Perth Festival
Perth Theatre Trust
Perth Theatre Trust – Albany Entertainment Centre
Platform Youth Arts
Powerhouse Museum
Propel Youth Arts WA
Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art
Queensland Museum Network
Queensland Music Festival
Queensland Performing Arts Centre
Queensland Symphony Orchestra
Queensland Theatre
Real Film Festival
Red Chair Pty Ltd
Royal Historical Society of Victoria
SALA (South Australian Living Artists) Festival
Screenworks
Scribblers Festival
Smith’s Alternative
South Australian Museum
Spare Parts Puppet Theatre
State Library of Queensland
State Library Victoria
State Opera South Australia
State Theatre Company South Australia
SWELL Sculpture Festival
Sydney Dance Company
Sydney Opera House
Sydney Philharmonia Choirs
Sydney Theatre Company
Sydney Writers’ Festival Ltd
Synergy & Taikoz Ltd
The Australian Ballet
The Cube Wodonga
The Events Centre, Caloundra
The Glasshouse
The Sydney Fringe Inc
The Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra
The Unconformity
The Wheeler Centre
Theatre North Inc
Theatre Works
TOPOLOGY
Townsville City Council
Townsville City Council Galleries
Tura New Music
Umbrella Studio Contemporary Arts
Victorian Music Development Office
Victorian Opera
Vitalstatistix
Wangaratta Performing Arts & Convention Centre
West Australian Ballet
West Australian Opera
West Australian Symphony Orchestra
Western Australian Museum
Womadelaide foundation Ltd
Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company