image of people outside la mama theatre

La Mama reopening festival - December 2021. Credit Darren Gill

What is the COVID-19 Audience Outlook Monitor?

Creative Victoria is part of a global study to track audience sentiment in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The COVID-19 Outlook Monitor research is being conducted in stages to understand how audiences feel about engaging with, and returning to, creative events and venues. The study also explores the measures that will make people feel more comfortable about returning.

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

Respondents to the study are previous attendees.

The full results are available to explore in the freely accessible dashboard.

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Victorian Digital Engagement Outlook March 2022

Complementing the COVID-19 Audience Outlook Monitor report, March 2022, the Victorian Digital Engagement report looks at how Victorians are engaging with arts and cultural activities online.

As Victorian audiences return to in-person events, there has been an overall decline in those participating in online experiences (-9%). However, Victorian audiences are the most likely to be participating in online arts and culture activities compared to their national counterparts.

Digital experiences are seen to offer accessibility, safety and a broader range of content, and 36% of audiences are continuing to pay for digital experiences.

27% of Victorian audiences see a substantial role for digital arts and cultural experiences in their lives, 25% are tired of tech and don’t see a role for it now that in-person events are possible, and 49% continue to selectively engage with digital content as long as it is high quality and provides flexibility.

Read the Victorian Digital Engagement Outlook March 2022

Read the National Digital Engagement Outlook March 2022


Phase 7, March 2022

With the state's COVID-19 case numbers stabilising in early March 2022, audience attendance levels in Victoria are at their highest levels in two years. 7 in 10 Victorian attendees have returned to cultural events, jumping from 23 per cent in November 2021 – though many are still conscious of the risks.

There are varying needs and vulnerabilities amongst the 4 in 10 Victorian audience members who remain cautious.

Key COVIDSafe measures will continue to play an important role in consolidating confidence. Victorian arts audiences are in favour of vaccination requirements, and nearly two-thirds are encouraged by mask-wearing despite masks no longer being mandatory in cultural and entertainment venues.

The arts continue to be perceived as vital to community recovery, providing an avenue for healing, joy and social connection during challenging times. While some audiences are yet to return, they are firm in wanting to support artists and help cultural activity to flourish in new ways.

View the accessible version of the March 2022 Report

Audience behaviours

  • 72% of Victorian audiences are attending in-person events
  • 54% say the risk of transmission prevents them attending as they used to
  • 63% feel encouraged by mandatory masks for attendees aged 12+
  • 90% of Victorian arts attendees have had three doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Thought starters for organisations and events

Most arts venues continue to be seen as safer than common public activities, like using public transport and going to the gym

  • 74% of audiences are ‘very comfortable’ in arts and cultural venues, with outdoor venues with fixed seating continues to be perceived as safest.
  • 62% of audiences spent $50 or more on cultural activities in the last fortnight
  • Cautious audiences will be relying more upon the COVIDSafe policies of individual venues to mitigate the risks of transmission.
  • Some audience members will be looking to cultural organisations to adopt a robust approach to COVID safety in order to communicate inclusivity and care for those who are more vulnerable.
  • After being hit hard by repeated lockdowns, the live performance sector can expect a boost – with 61% of audiences, up from just 39% in November 2021, making plans to attend a live performance.
  • Shorter booking timeframes are still common in the state and most Victorian audiences are making plans for local (69%) or intra-state events (60%) – which are perceived to be less risky.

Access the results dashboard

The survey data is aggregated in a freely available dashboard, to assist artists and cultural organisations with their decision making and forward planning.

Access the dashboard by following the link below and entering the login details provided. For guidance on how to use the dashboard, visit the Australian homepage for the dashboard, where you can watch a tour or download a guide.

Link: https://dashboard.intrinsicimpact.org/

User: access@AOM.com.au

Password: Australia

Other resources


Research methodology

Respondents were people who had engaged with an arts event in the last two years.

Baseline data was collected in a cross-sector collaborative survey process involving 159 arts and culture organisations in the initial study, including museums, galleries, performing arts organisations and festivals across Australia. Approximately 120 organisations have participated in the 2021 studies.

These organisations simultaneously sent a survey to a random sample of audience members who had attended a cultural event since January 2018. Read more about the methodology and the types of events that are included.

No individual respondents or organisations are identified.


Study partners

Creative Victoria is working with audience research specialists WolfBrown and Patternmakers to undertake COVID-19 Audience Outlook Monitor, along with industry partners including the Australia Council for the Arts, Create NSW, and Arts Queensland.

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