Case Study

Study | Trends in Audience Behavior: Digital Performances in the Growth Stage

Jamie Alexander

Director, JCA Arts Marketing

Jamie helps cultural organizations understand the behaviors of their audiences and create data-driven strategies to continually engage them.
March 18, 2021

In October of 2020, our team at JCA Arts Marketing launched an initial study on the behavior of digital audiences during the first six months of the pandemic, when digital performances were in their infancy.

Now, five months later, organizations have further developed their approach to digital performances and many are in the midst of producing an all-digital 2020-21 season. Thus, we have updated our original analysis to review the effect that this advancement of the digital platform has had on audience behavior.

In this updated study, we look at the transactional data of digital performances of ten major U.S. organizations of various types and sizes. Our goal in interpreting this data is to address these primary questions:

  • Who is in the audience for digital performances?
  • What is the potential for audience development through digital performances?
  • What is the revenue potential from digital performances?
  • How does ticket-purchasing behavior differ for digital audiences compared to in-person audiences?

Ultimately, this study gives you a benchmark against which to measure your own digital audience behavior. We hope it helps as you determine the future of digital programs at your organization, and plan for the day when digital and in-person performances are offered side-by-side.

  • Digital audience composition, in terms of new vs retained buyers, now matches in-person audience composition.
  • Holiday shows were among the most successful digital performances.
  • Audiences pay, on average, 40% less for digital performances than they do for in-person performances—and new digital audiences pay the least.
  • Digital audiences still book their tickets much closer to the performance date than in-person audiences, but the time between purchase and performance is growing.
  • 9.9% of digital audiences add a donation on top of the ticket price, with a median donation of $11.

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