Digital Streaming Report
October 2020

The Audience Outlook Monitor is a joint project between AMS Analytics and WolfBrown
About this study
This snapshot report updates key findings using the September and October deployments of the Audience Outlook Monitor (AOM) in the United States, a study that is tracking how audiences feel about attending arts and culture events in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The following pages offer an in-depth review of respondent feedback on the role of live streaming content throughout the sector. This report reflects data collected by all participants in the AOM study, as indicated in the following pages.
Impact of live-streaming content
The following section of this snapshot report pertaining to live streaming content is based on data collected from the most recent waves of surveys deployed in August, September and October 2020.
Consistently, four in five respondents claim to have watched a live-streamed performance of music, dance or theatre at home.
Respondents most frequently utilize a computer or television to livestream content, though one in four consistently use a tablet or phone.

Eagerness to attend live performances and strong affinity toward specific institutions drive engagement with live streaming content. Those who are very eager to return to live performance were also more likely to have engaged live-streaming content. Similarly, nearly four in five possessing a strong bond with their organization have watched a live stream, while only two thirds of respondents claiming a weak bond with their institution have live streamed.

All ages are engaging equally with streaming content, but eight in ten respondents from the northeast region utilize live streams, versus seven in ten in other regions nationwide.
78% of respondents are at least ‘somewhat comfortable’ navigating on a computer or mobile device to stream a live performance.
Though most express general levels of comfort navigating streaming platforms on their electronic devices, an inverse correlation exists between age and comfort. At the extremes of the demographics, only four in ten respondents over 65 report being ‘very comfortable’ with the task, while seven in ten under 35 are very comfortable with navigating their devices.
58% of respondents would be at least ‘somewhat likely’ to purchase tickets, knowing that they may have to watch some or all of the performances at home via live stream based on social distancing requirements.
While aggregate data suggest the presence of support for live streaming as an alternative, specific subgroups of respondents are inclined to purchase tickets if live streaming becomes the only offering. Of those respondents who say they will return as soon as gatherings are permitted, less than three in ten would purchase tickets knowing they might have to watch some or all performances at home.

Health factors also impact willingness to engage in live streaming as an alternative to in-person attendance. Those with health vulnerabilities are more inclined to pay for tickets given the possibility of having to watch some or all of the performance remotely via live stream (60%), as compared with those who do not have a health risk (51%).

Intimate connection or bond with the organization also has a bearing on willingness to consider live streaming as an alternative to in-person attendance. In October, 62% of donors to their organization reported that they are at least ‘somewhat likely’ to purchase tickets given these conditions, whereas only 54% of non-donors will do so. October deployments also reveal that more than six in ten respondents who claim to have a strong bond with their organization will be at least ‘somewhat likely’ to purchase tickets even if they are required to watch via live stream, while only four in ten of those with a weak bond would do so.
Two in three respondents would consider the live stream option more attractive if provided the option of watching any time during the week following the live performance.
Nearly eight in ten respondents believe that live streaming is a temporary stopgap measure rather than a permanent option for the delivery of arts content.
The view of live streaming as a temporary platform provides some level of confidence that live performance is in great demand and the value of in-person events cannot be replaced.

Of those who will return as soon as gathering is permitted, more than nine in ten see live streaming as only temporary. Respondents with prohibitive health conditions also view live streaming as a temporary stopgap measure; two thirds of those who will not return until there is no risk say that live streaming is only a temporary solution.
In October, more than eight in ten of those who are very eager to return to live performance reported that they consider live streaming to be a temporary measure; of those who are not eager to return only six in ten consider live streaming a temporary solution.
Subscribers are also more apt to view live streaming as temporary, compared to those who are former subscribers or those who have never subscribed at their organization.

While the barriers to engage with streaming content continue to diminish and audiences are increasingly engaging with the content, the motivations for doing so vary. In many cases, patrons (particularly those who are more loyal) report engaging in live streaming simply to stay connected with and support their institutions. Many still believe that streaming options cannot compare to the value and uniqueness of live performances and wish to return to attending in-person events, though under a variety of health safety conditions.