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Performing Arts Ticket Buyer Media Usage Study

August 15, 201815 August 2018

Arts participation / Performing arts

WolfBrown and Capacity Interactive

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This report aims to provide a “nuanced picture of consumers’ preferences and behavior across a broad cross-section of performing arts organizations”, including four in Canada and 54 in the United States. An online survey in August 2017 received 26,996 responses from performing arts ticket buyers. As noted in the report, “it is impossible to determine whether the sample is fully representative of performing arts attendees in general, in a statistical sense”. All surveys where respondents self-select, rather than being recruited randomly, might have response biases. About two-thirds of respondents are women (68%), and 59% are 55 or older.

The survey analysis notes that older respondents are much more likely to subscribe to performing arts organizations. There are also generational differences in media usage:

  • Media activities that are most common in younger age groups are news organization’s apps, news via push notifications, online streaming of audio and video, and social media usage (via all platforms).
  • Media activities that are most common in middle age groups are online news sites and commercial radio.
  • Media activities that are most common in older age groups are print newspaper readership, tv watching (cable, broadcast, satellite), public radio, and email news notifications.

One area where there is some consistency between generations is email being “the most important source of information across all age groups, with over 85% of all respondents saying they get information about events that way”. There were variations beyond the top ranking, however, with all age groups 35 or older indicating that “flyers, postcards, or brochures received in the mail” are the second most important source of information. For those between 18 and 34, social media posts are the second most important source of information about performing arts events.

The report notes that, “although all forms of social media use decrease with age, Facebook is used extensively across all age groups. Overall, 65% of all surveyed arts patrons report using Facebook at least once a week…. The real difference in social media usage across age groups lies in the almost exclusive focus on Facebook in the older generations, whereas the attention of younger patrons is divided.”

Overall, 79% of respondents indicated that they are “most likely to purchase tickets online”. The vast majority of these online ticket buyers did so via a laptop or desktop computer (88%), followed by a smartphone (37%) and a tablet (21%).

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