6 August 2020

While Victorians are understandably cautious about audience-based activities, a new report points to a positive long-term outlook for the re-engagement of arts audiences across the state.

While Victorians are understandably cautious about audience-based activities, a new report points to a positive long-term outlook for the re-engagement of arts audiences across the state.

The COVID-19 Audience Outlook Monitor, a phased global study designed to track audience sentiment in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, has issued a Victorian Snapshot for the month of July.

The snapshot collates the views of 3,846 Victorian participants, who are previous attendees of cultural events, and follows a report released in May 2020.

The data can be used by artists and creative organisations to support their audience engagement activities and plans for returning to business and recovery.

In line with the Stage 3 restrictions that were in place when the research was undertaken, the July snapshot finds Victorian audiences are demonstrating greater caution in engaging in public activities compared to other states – 20% of Victorians are ready to return to cultural events and 64% said they will return ‘When reasonably confident that the risk of transmission is minimal’.

Our audiences have shown their dedication, continuing to participate from home by tuning into online programming. 52% of Victorians selected digital programs as their first preference for attending a cultural event and 45% selected outdoor venues with space to sit apart from others as their second preference.

77% of the Victorian respondents are engaging online, 4% higher than their national counterparts, and 72% say they will continue to do so after the pandemic.

Victorians are the most highly engaged in watching livestreamed performances and events (45% compared with 41% nationally), and 39% of Victorian audiences had paid for a cultural experience online in the previous fortnight.

When asked about feeling safe to return, Victorian respondents highlighted effective hygiene protocols as a critical factor in helping them feel safe at venues and events. Social distancing enforced by timed entry and venue capacity were also cited as factors that enable attendees to feel more comfortable.

On a personal level, Victorians are continuing to engage in creative activities at home with the majority still listening to music (90%), reading for pleasure (84%) and making art or craft (44%).

Since the release of the July Snapshot, Stage 4 restrictions have been put in place for Melbourne while regional Victoria has moved to Stage 3.

Creative Victoria will continue to work with audience research specialists WolfBrown and Patternmakers to undertake the Audience Outlook Monitor, and we will share future findings.

The Audience Outlook Monitor receives input from other industry partners including the Australia Council for the Arts, Create NSW, and Arts Queensland.

WolfBrown is also conducting this study in Norway and US cities including Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, New York, and the San Francisco Bay Area.

For more information on the July findings visit our Research page