Leading Museums, Museum Leaders

AusCo Audience Outlook Monitor March 2021

COVID-19 Audience Outlook Monitor 2021, 4 March 2021

COVID-19 Audience Outlook Monitor webinars

COVID-19 Audience Outlook Monitor 2021

Join Tandi Palmer Williams, Managing Director Patternmakers, and Matt Morse, Executive Director Strategy and Programs at Creative Partnerships Australia to discuss the main findings related to leveraging audience support from the March 2021 Snapshot Report.

Date: Tuesday 27 April 2021
Time: 12-12.45pm AEDT


Watch the previous webinars or register for upcoming sessions.

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 concert halls have 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 that are included.

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