Arts Revenue Survey: Surprising Results

There's a lot of press
every day about how our our economy is doing, but not much information
about how arts and cultural organizations are faring. Last December,
in partnership with TRG (Target Resource Group), we decided to undertake
a survey of arts managers to try to understand how the just-finished
holiday season turned out, in terms of revenue. We sent out nearly
8,000 surveys and got back over 300 responses, a large enough sample to
get some good directional indicators. The results, which we are
publishing today, were at once surprising and somewhat obvious.

The big learning was that 47% of the organizations that responded
indicated that they had done better than budget, and another 10%
reported that they had met budget. This kind of result has been
mentioned to me in casual conversation with many of you in the last few
weeks. It seems that despite the economy, audiences are not cutting back
in a dramatic way, at least not yet.

The main fact that didn't make it into the report is that our
industry seems to have now embraced online marketing. Fully 89.6% of
respondents indicated that they used some form of e-mail marketing, and
about 30% said that they sold at least a third of their tickets online.

You can download the full report by clicking here.

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2 responses to “Arts Revenue Survey: Surprising Results

  1. Just fabulous to have that timely report on hand so quickly,Gene. I will share some the findings with my clients, some of whom are probably down in the dumps about the economies worldwide.
    Of course, we can advise our colleagues in arts marketing that now is a good time for “house cleaning” and a reviewing of the most useful online tools to augment pure good-will and advertising. Agree?
    Neil McPherson in Germany

  2. Certainly lots of good news here. Would like to dig down given the broad swath of arts organizations included here. The most important factor seems to be that, once again, the early bird seems to have gotten the worm – that is, those organizations who marketed early and got out in front of the economic meltdown fared substantially better than those who offered a shorter sales window. I’d be curious to know, presuming there’s enough data, how the different categories fared – i.e. did museum/attractions who traditionally rely on walk-up and tourist travel perform as well as classical, for instance, who have a well-groomed, high income base to pull from? Likewise, aside from marketing spends and weather, and thinking about long term effects, did discounting play a major factor in bringing in the bodies to generate the revenue?

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