COVID-19 Audience Outlook Monitor 2021
March 4, 2021
COVID-19 Audience Outlook Monitor webinars
Join Tandi Palmer Williams, Managing Director Patternmakers and Morwenna Collett, arts consultant specialising in diversity, access and inclusion to discuss findings from the March 2021 Snapshot Report.
Date: Tuesday 29 June
Time: 12-12.45 AEST.
As the COVID-19 crisis continues, the Australia Council is working with Patternmakers and WolfBrown again in 2021 to understand changes in behaviours and sentiments of arts-goers in the wake of the pandemic.
Restrictions on public gatherings and travel forced many in the arts community to shut their doors and cancel programs and activities. Throughout 2020, the Audience Outlook Monitor tracking study provided the arts and cultural sector with crucial insights to inform planning and decision-making.
Now, as doors are reopening and programming resuming, the Audience Outlook Monitor will continue to provide valuable information with three more phases in 2021. Amid the ongoing disruption of the pandemic, we will continue to track audience sentiments and behaviours as changes occur.
Results from the March 2021 phase (Phase 4) of the study are now available, with the key insights outlined in a new Snapshot report.
All data is available in the Audience Outlook Monitor dashboard, with results from over 63,000 respondents across Phases 1–4.
Key findings from March 2021 include:
- Seven in ten have attended a cultural event or venue. Due to increasing numbers of events and outdoor programming over summer, 71% have recently attended a cultural venue or event of some kind, and audiences are spending more on ticket sales compared with September 2020.
- After months of very low infection rates, confidence to attend events in person is growing stronger. The primary reason inhibiting attendance is no longer the risk of transmission, but the risk of lockdowns and cancelled events.
- Eight in ten audiences are making plans to attend, albeit with shorter lead times. Most are booking tickets only 2-3 weeks in advance.
- Overall, audiences are generally satisfied with most COVID-safe practices at most types of venues. However, some are concerned about inconsistency in capacity and social distancing requirements.
- Audiences now feel comfortable with most venue types, including those where audiences were previously more cautious such as stadiums or arenas (76%, up from 53% in September 2020) and comedy clubs and live music venues (56% up from 37%). Comfort levels with large theatres or concerts halls has risen to 91% up from 67%.
- Nearly half of all audiences continue to participate online (47%), and many plan to continue. However, some audiences are tiring of digital experiences and face barriers to online participation.
- The proportion of users paying for online content is now 37%, comparable to levels seen in September 2020 (39%), pointing to an enduring market for premium digital experiences.
- Looking ahead to the rest of 2021, the outlook is positive, with 94% of audiences planning to get vaccinated, and most at least somewhat confident that the vaccination roll-out will help things return to normal within 12 months.
About the study
The Audience Outlook Monitor captures ‘active’ arts audiences – those who are on the contact database of at least one of the 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 participating museums, galleries, festivals and organisations.
Baseline data for this tracking study was collected in a cross-sector collaborative survey process involving 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.
Karina Utomo performs in the 2019 Perth Festival production of Cat Hope’s Speechless, produced by Tura New Music. Credit: Toni Wilkinson
List of participating organisations
|Adelaide Festival Centre|
|Adelaide Symphony Orchestra|
|Art Gallery of Ballarat|
|ART ON THE MOVE|
|Arts Centre Melbourne|
|Australian Brandenburg Orchestra|
|Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA)|
|Australian Dance Theatre|
|Australian Festival of Chamber Music|
|Australian Theatre for Young People (ATYP)|
|Bangarra Dance Theatre|
|Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre (Bathurst Regional Council)|
|Belconnen Arts Centre|
|Belvoir St Theatre|
|Bendigo Venues & Events|
|Black Swan State Theatre Co|
|Brisbane Multicultural Arts Centre|
|Brown’s Mart Theatre|
|Cairns Indigenous Art Fair Ltd|
|Campbelltown Arts Centre|
|Canberra Theatre Centre|
|Canberra Youth Theatre|
|Centre for Contemporary Photography|
|Colac Otway Performing Arts & Cultural Centre (COPACC)|
|Country Arts SA|
|Craft ACT: Craft + Design Centre|
|Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation Ltd|
|Dionysus / Art, Not Apart|
|Drum Theatre Dandenong|
|Electronic Music Conference Pty Ltd|
|Footscray Community Arts Centre|
|Forge Theatre and Arts Hub (East Gippsland Shire Council)|
|Frankston Arts Centre|
|Geelong Arts Centre|
|History Trust of South Australia|
|HOTA, Home of the Arts|
|Information + Cultural Exchange|
|Ipswich Civic Centre|
|La Boite Theatre Company|
|Linden New Art|
|Lismore Regional Gallery|
|Logan Entertainment Centre|
|Mackay Entertainment and Convention Centre|
|Melbourne International Jazz Festival|
|Melbourne Recital Centre|
|Melbourne Symphony Orchestra|
|Melbourne Theatre Company|
|Merrigong Theatre Company|
|Mildura Arts Centre – Mildura Rural City Council|
|National Gallery of Australia|
|National Gallery of Victoria (NGV)|
|National Museum of Australia|
|National Portrait Gallery|
|No Strings Attached Theatre of Disability|
|Penrith Performing & Visual Arts|
|Perth Theatre Trust|
|Perth Theatre Trust — Albany|
|Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art|
|Queensland Museum Network|
|Queensland Music Festival|
|Queensland Performing Arts Centre|
|Queensland Symphony Orchestra|
|Red Chair Pty Ltd|
|Royal Historical Society of Victoria|
|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 Living Museums|
|Sydney Opera House|
|Sydney Philharmonia Choirs|
|Sydney Theatre Company|
|Sydney Writer’s Festival (Phase 5&6 only)|
|Synergy & Taikoz Ltd|
|Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra|
|The Australian Ballet|
|The Cube Wodonga|
|The Events Centre, Caloundra|
|The Street Theatre|
|The Sydney Fringe|
|The Wheeler Centre|
|Townsville City Council|
|Victorian Music Development Office|
|Wangaratta Performing Arts & Convention Centre|
|West Australian Ballet|
|West Australian Opera|
|West Australian Symphony Orchestra|
|Western Australian Museum|
|Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company|