Tomorrow's Audience: Insights from new research on UK performing arts audiences
Get the crucial context you need to make data-led decisions
- Indigo’s collaborative audience survey, which gathered over 30,000 responses from 72 UK arts organisations, focused on understanding audiences who have recently attended the performing arts for the first-time
- Aggregate data from 340 organisations to track trends in audience behaviour, especially that of first-time attenders.
- Focus groups with a range of new arts attenders to dig deeper into their attitudes and behaviour.
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This video offers optional captioning.
TranscriptSo just to take a step back, my name is Brooke, my pronouns are she/her, and I'll be your host today. I'm so pleased that you've joined us today to hear the results of Indigo Share: Hot Topic, Tomorrow's Audience, led by Indigo in partnership with Spektrix and in association with the consortium of many of the UK's leading arts organisations. But first I'm gonna just cover those points up again to ensure that you have a great experience today. We have live captioning, which you can turn off and on using the CC button at the bottom of your screen. We also, as has just been pointed out, we have BSL interpretation available. And that option is on the bottom of your screen as well. The webinar's going to last about an hour today and we will have time for Q&A at the end. So please use the Q&A button to submit questions along the way. We are recording today's session and we will be sending you the video along with the slides and the resources in the days following the webinar. We've got three incredible speakers for you today, Katy, Kerry, and Liv, who will introduce themselves as we proceed. So I'm going to hand over to Katy, and I'll pop back a little later to facilitate your questions.- Thanks, Brooke. So I'm Katy Raines, I'm CEO of Indigo, and I'm delighted to be able to share the findings of Tomorrow's Audience with you today. I'd like to thank Spektrix for partnering with us on this Indigo Share: Hot Topic, bringing their data and their expertise to the table. And to the consortium of arts organisations, you can see all their logos on the bottom there who first talked to us about this in the autumn of last year and who helped to fund it. We met with the CEOs of a whole host of cultural organisations and they all seem to be saying three things. One, they don't think that the pre COVID loyal audiences have come back in the number or the frequency that we had hoped. Secondly, they're seeing the post-COVID audiences behaving quite differently from the pre COVID ones. And then thirdly, they seem to be seeing larger numbers of new attenders since COVID. So together we were looking for some answers. We had a few routes we could consider. We could talk again to all the audiences who haven't been back and try and find out why. But we did that quite comprehensively with our Missing Audiences work last year. And I think we probably know the answers to most of that now. Or in order to try and plug the gap left by those audiences, we could talk to non attenders to see what might persuade them to attend. But of course, that's pretty hard, isn't it? Because you could end up talking to lots of people who may never attend or never intend to. Or we could look at those larger numbers of new attenders and try and find out what made them tip over into attending and what might encourage them back. If we've lost yesterday's audience, or certainly yesterday's audience behaving as they did, then what is the potential for these new attenders to become tomorrow's audience? What is different about them and is what they're looking for from us different too? So with our friends and partners at Spektrix, we designed this project to try and answer some of those questions. Are we really seeing more new attenders since COVID or is it just that they've replaced the attenders we had before? And is it true that first time attenders are harder to get back and retain than existing ones? And of those that are brand new to the arts, what made them tip over from being a non-tender into an attender? What would it take to get them back again and again so that they indeed become tomorrow's audience? So that's what we we're here to find out today. The way we've gone about constructing this project is by putting together three different sources of data. Firstly, aggregate ticketing data from Spektrix from their huge body of UK customers. This sample of bookers spans hundreds of organisations of all types and sizes. So we are really confident that this data sample is a more than suitable proxy for how all audiences across the UK have behaved. Secondly, audience surveys, 72 of you sent out this to your new attenders or people who look like new attenders on your databases, gathering over 30,000 responses. Again, the range of organisations included is representative of the whole UK sector, and with such a large number of responses, we can be really confident in these findings. And finally, qualitative focus groups with people who are brand new to the art since COVID to try and understand in more depth what made them attend for the first time, and therefore, whether there are any clues for us in how to get more non-attendance to make that leap or how to ensure that these new people return to us quickly. So firstly, I'm gonna hand over to Liv from Spektrix to take us through the aggregated ticketing data findings. Thank you, Liv.- Thanks, Katy. I'm Liv Nilssen, Director of Sector Strategy at Spektrix. It's been very exciting to work with Indigo to bring the unique strengths of aggregate data, surveys, and focus groups together to form a clear insight into tomorrow's audiences. Before I jump right into our results, I'm going to take just a moment to give you all a sense of what our data actually is. Because of the way we work with our clients and how our technology is structured, Spektrix has access to what I believe is the largest single set of data that exists on ticketing, marketing, fundraising in the arts and culture sector. For this reason, whenever possible, we try to share the insights to help inform the sector about trends and benchmarks. One way or another, we've been publishing on this topic since 2014. For this particular project, we've been able to utilise a large anonymous data extract, containing over 10 years of data on audience behaviour. As Katy just mentioned, our dataset is a representative sample of the UK arts and culture sector. This slide shows just a few of the organisations we work with. The full extract features the data of 340 Spektrix user organisations and represents organisations of all sizes, all arts forms, and all four nations of the UK. The data we will be sharing represents the average or median organisation in our dataset. Every organization's data differs a bit, and we'll share some resources with you later on to help you better understand your own data. With that said, aggregate data is a great way to help show patterns, analyse trends, and develop benchmarks to help you make meaningful decisions about your own data. In other words, it can be pretty useful to understand what is happening sector wide. So let's dive in. The first question we are looking at is are we actually seeing more first time bookers post lockdown? For the average organisation, the answer is most likely yes. In 2023, first time bookers represented 54% of all bookers. That's very close to an all time high in the period we reviewed. With that said, in the last 10 years, the segment of bookers has been at least half of all bookers, so it's obviously an important segment. In 2023, we also saw record high numbers of bookers on average. So combining those high numbers of bookers with near record high proportions of first timers, we can infer that many organisations are seeing very large cohorts of first timers in 2023. Attracting them back is a significant growth opportunity, but will they return? To be blunt, historic trends did not make me optimistic. Pre COVID one year retention rates show a slow but steady decline in ticket booker retention in the pre COVID period between 2013 and 2019. Here we're looking at the percentage of bookers who booked for an event the year before as well as the year on the chart. For example, on the left side we see that just under 32% of bookers for a 2012 event also booked in for a 2013 event. It turns out retention rates have been in decline for as long as we can measure them. This chart is one year retention, but the pattern holds for two years and three as well. But the question at hand is whether first time bookers will come back. Unfortunately, the pre COVID trend for first time booker retention is even more discouraging. Here in green, we isolated first time bookers to compare their behaviour with all bookers. Because getting a booker back a second time is often more difficult than subsequent times, we might have all expected first time booker rates would be lower, I did. But what I didn't expect was the steeper rate of decline. We've been losing audiences after their first booking at faster and faster rates over time. Remembering that first time bookers make up over half of all bookers, we can conclude that these rapidly declining retention rates for first time bookers are driving the overall decline. Further, those who are not first time bookers seem to be doing a lot of returning to make up for the first timer shortfalls. Sadly, we all know what comes next and what happened after 2019. These wild fluctuations from 2020 through 2022 are expected. They show our lockdown period audiences exhibiting interesting characteristics. Historically speaking, they're very small and very loyal. But for the purposes of understanding trends or establishing a benchmark for retention in the post lockdown period, they add little meaning and a lot of noise. So to establish a post COVID benchmark for retention, we had to look for a way to estimate what might have happened in the absence of COVID. Those are the dotted lines you see here. They extend pre COVID patterns across the lockdown impacted years and estimate what would've happened if 2020 through 2022 followed exactly the same trend that 2013 through 2019 did. And look at that, the 2023 retention rate hits bang on the trend line, right where we would've expected it to be if the pattern that we established pre lockdown had not been interrupted. The retention decline from 2019 to 2023 may well be better explained as the continuation of a longstanding trend rather than necessarily the outcome of COVID. Okay, that's been a long way round to answering the question, will first time bookers return? Reminding you that the historic trend was even more pessimistic for first time bookers than it was for all bookers, something exciting is happening with the retention of 2022 first timers into 2023. We are tracking well above the pre COVID trend. In fact, we are seeing retention rates we haven't seen since 2016. This post lockdown bump is bucking a decade long downward trend and is something to celebrate. If we can get it to continue, first timer re-attendance could lead us out of the historic decline in overall retention and show us a path to renewed engagement with our audiences. So the aggregate data is speaking loud and clear. On average across our dataset, we are in a moment of historic opportunity with first time audiences. And if there was ever a time to focus on this segment, it is now. While we are seeing historically large numbers of first timers and first timers returning more frequently than they have in seven years. So for more on why this might be happening and what is attracting new bookers, I'm going to turn back over to Katy and to Kerry for insight from surveys and focus groups.- Thanks very much, Liv. I'm Kerry, I'm an Associate Director with Indigo. So we've seen from the ticketing data that first time bookers clearly seem to provide a growth opportunity that we could capitalise upon. Now I'm going to walk us through some of the findings from Indigo's surveys and focus groups. It's important to note here that this is not a full presentation of all of the data we collected, there is a lot of stuff in there. We will be sharing all of that in a full final report in the next few weeks. But we thought for today we'd try and pull out what we think are the most interesting findings and make some suggestions as to how you might use those to drive audience development. So as we said at the start, 72 different arts organisations took part in the collaborative survey. And thank you so much to those who took the time to do so, in particular to those venues who supported touring companies to access their audience data. We had over 32,000 responses from audiences, from a range of organisations and venues across all nations of the UK, and including both urban and rural settings. Of course, the data is never straightforward. Were all those audiences who were emailed the survey really first timers, and what's the definition of a first timer anyway? So before we dive into the findings, let's define a first time attender, or a new attender as we've called them. This grey box represents all the people on your system who look like first time bookers since post pandemic reopening. Once we surveyed them, however, we can see that just under half of them had actually attended for the first time since post pandemic reopening. It's clear from this that many people are attending before they are booking, ie, someone else booked their ticket, and this is an important distinction which we'll come back to later. Of these new attenders, almost three quarters of them were actually already arts engaged pre COVID, but they were visiting you for the first time, we've called these new to you. The remaining 27% are what we've called new to the arts. They did not attend or attended very infrequently pre COVID. Our focus for this study is on these two types of genuine first time attenders to your organisation, and particularly the differences between those who are new to you but already arts engaged and those who really are new to the arts. Before we dive into the detail, let's just look at some of the assumptions or perhaps hopes we have around new audiences. Firstly, let's examine the common assumption that new audiences automatically means young audiences. It's true that brand new attenders are a bit younger than those who are previously arts engaged, yes, but they aren't all young. In our survey, 18% were under 35s, compared with 14% for those only new to you. However, the potential for a younger audience does seem to be there. And are they more diverse? Again, a little bit. Our respondents still skewed White or White British, but you can see that there's a real difference in the younger new to the arts, those lime green bars on the charts, where we are seeing more diverse new audiences starting to engage with arts and culture. Again, this is really good news, But I said the data wasn't straightforward. In fact, there are a few seeming paradoxes in the survey data, and I'm gonna hand over to Katy to take us through them.- Thank you, Kerry. So firstly, new to the arts people are actually going out more than the audiences who are only new to you but otherwise engaged in culture. So 29% of them saying they go out more now compared with 18% of the people who are new to you. And it's even more so if they're under 35. So they are going out a lot. But attending the performing arts is just not as important to these newer audiences. 63% of new to you audiences say it's very important to them compared with only 13% of new to the arts. Why is that? In the focus groups, most people had a good understanding of the performing arts, but it was typically associated with quite a narrow definition involving theatre, ballet, dance, and classical music. And we'll come back to that later. And not only do they say that the performing arts are less important to them, almost half say they attend the performing arts once a year or less, which is in very stark contrast to the people who are new to you. And also suggests that although they're going out more than other people, it's not to what they would say is the performing arts. So the second paradox, they had a great time, 70% of new to the arts people said it was better than they expected, and that's higher than new to you. Brand new attenders overwhelmingly felt welcome, with over three quarters agreeing that they felt very welcome, and 98% very or somewhat welcome. And similarly, almost three quarters agreed strongly that their experience was for someone like them. So our fears that people that walk into our buildings and come to our things and feel out of place are unfounded. And they gave you the highest score of all the groups when asked if they would recommend the organisation to someone else, otherwise known as the Net Promoter Score. A Net Promoter Score of 64 is very high. All this explains why three quarters of them then say they're likely to come back to you, and that's in the next year. But whilst there's a strong intention to come back to you, considerably fewer of them say they intend to attend any performing arts in the next year and lots less than the new to you audience. So there's a big disconnect between the experience they've had, the willingness to repeat it or have a similar experience with you, and the idea of attending more performing arts. The third paradox is around cost and value. So we can see that the cost of living is having a significant impact on almost a third of the new to arts audiences, and even more to the under 35s. So cost is bound to be a factor in their behaviour. But that didn't mean they spent significantly less per ticket than those who were previously engaged in culture than new to you. An average ticket spend of £49 for new to the arts compared with 54. Even the under 35 new attenders had an average ticket price of £40. And despite the pressures on their income, they rated value for money just as highly as the more culturally engaged audiences, with over 80% saying it was good or very good. Some of these paradoxes may be answered by delving more deeply into the attitudes of new audiences, their motivations and barriers, which is what Kerry's gonna do for us next.- Thanks, Katy. So as we said, there does seem to be genuine potential for growth via new audiences, especially younger new audiences, just as we saw in the ticketing data from Liv. The big question is how do we get more of these audiences to attend and how do we get 'em to come back again, ensuring that the rather exciting upswing on Liv's chart continues? So let's look at what's driving them to attend. We found three key motivators for first time attendance, which we've drawn outta the audience survey responses and our focus groups. They are people, familiarity, and occasion, and I'm going to dive a bit deeper into each of these in turn. So firstly, people. New audiences regularly told us that their first attendance was driven by someone else, either another person was the instigator, and as we saw in the data before, often the booker, or they were motivated by someone else in their life to take the plunge and book. And remember, people often attend before they book, as we said earlier. So let me tell you about three audience members that we met in our focus groups whose names and faces we've changed. Firstly, Zahara, who's in her mid 30s, she's a teaching assistant living at home with her mum and her siblings. Her sister had encouraged her to go and see the musical "Mary Poppins" with her, and she really enjoyed it. John is also in his mid 30s, and he's a sales director for a manufacturing firm. He lives with his wife and two boys in Birmingham. He's a big football fan. His wife persuaded him to go and see "The Nutcracker" at the Birmingham Hippodrome at Christmas in 2022, and she booked the tickets. This was the first time he'd been to see anything like this and he loved it. So much so that he booked to see it again in 2023 as a present for his wife, because he wanted to recreate the experience for their date night. And finally, Helen, who lives in South Shields with her husband and two young boys, both under five years old. She recently started going to the theatre because her eldest son started showing an interest in music, in particular brass bands. She wanted to foster his interest and so took him to see the "Cbeebies Prom" and "The Snowman", both at the Glasshouse in Gateshead. It makes her feel like she's being a good mom and she's now on the lookout for other things that he might like to see. The influence of others is especially important for younger new audiences, whether they're coming for the first or subsequent visits. For example, here we can see almost twice as many under 35 new to arts audiences said they'd consider returning in the next 12 months if someone took them along, 27% of them, versus 15% for those who are just new to you. So let's move on to the next key motivator, familiarity. The number one driver for all groups remains the specific event or performance, which will be no surprise to us. And the story or subject matter comes second only to price as the biggest influence on decisions to attend. We know people are driven by seeing something they feel is relevant to them, but familiarity takes it a step further. It's not enough to try and make your new production seem relevant to an audience member by explaining how it reflects modern society, for example. They need to have a stronger reassuring connection to it. For example, our new attenders talked about choosing to see something that felt familiar due to knowing the story, having read the book, or having seen a film. You may recall from our three case studies a few moments ago that those first visits were "Mary Poppins", "The Nutcracker", the "Cbeebies Prom", and "The Snowman", all reassuringly familiar, reducing the risk of taking that first step. Here we have another two examples. The first of someone who had studied "The Great Gatsby" at university, which led her to try ballet for the first time. The other is someone who had driven past as wells many times but never attended a show. However, when Matthew Bourne's "Edward Scissorhands" came on, she connected it with the film, and this convinced her to finally give it a go. And our final motivation is occasion. Special occasions are much more important for new audiences, both as a driver for their first attendance, where a total of 31% of people said a special or seasonal occasion was a driver for that decision to attend, and when they think about coming back. In particular, younger new to the arts audiences, again here in lime green, are much more likely to come back for a special occasion. 58% of them say it's the most likely reason they will return in the next year, compared to 31% of arts engage audiences just new to you. In fact, even when forced to choose one reason only that they felt was most likely to drive their attendance in the next year, 1/4 of under 35s new to the arts stated a special or seasonal occasion, more than three times the proportion of arts engaged audiences where it was only 8%. So if we know what motivates people, then what's getting in the way? Again, we found three major types of barriers to first attendance, not on my radar, too hard, and a perception of poor value. Again, I'll take you through these one by one. So let's start with the idea that the performing arts or specific productions are not on their radar. What do we mean by that? Well, for some people the performing arts just aren't part of their sense of identity and cultural heritage, especially since their concept of the performing arts, as Katy referenced, tended to centre around theatre, opera, and ballet, rather than a broader definition, including, for example, live music or comedy. Oops, sorry, I skipped ahead. This first respondent told us that ideas of attending was just so far away from the person that he was and the interest that he had. Our second respondent told us he just didn't associate himself with the demographic he perceived as going to the performing arts White, middle class, affluent. And this final quote points to the importance of perceptions during childhood, our respondent associated theatre with old ladies with silk scarves and just couldn't see herself there. People associate the performing arts with demographics and backgrounds that don't fit their own sense of identity. This means that attending an event isn't even under consideration for them. So this can be huge hurdle for us to leap. In addition, when they have attended, driven by the motivators I talked through, sometimes those audiences who see themselves as not part of the culture can feel outta place and uncomfortable, despite that aggregated data we saw earlier saying that most people do feel like they belong there. Some people said they didn't know how to dress, while others feel like a fish out of water with a sense that everyone else is in the know but them. So let me introduce you to another of our audiences, Jahid, he is in his 50s, and works as an accountant, and lives with his wife and three kids in Birmingham. He sees himself as quite unusual being a Muslim man who enjoys going to the theatre. He thinks most people from the Muslim community will think that the performing arts is not for them. Culturally he thinks they will see it as a posh thing to do. His first attendance was due to a key person, his uncle, who took him to the theatre when he was a teenager. Despite having attended as a young person, he still finds it challenging to visit, and this is what Jahid said to us, "I don't drink at all and neither does my wife, so I find the whole before the show and the intervals, I find those difficult times. The culture is about, you know, let's have a drink at a bar beforehand, and that's not me. So I'm always a little bit uncomfortable before the show." Even if they were interested in attending some new audiences told us that they feel outta the loop and found it hard to find things they were interested in, as well as generally finding it hard to know what was on, which impacted their plans to attend. And this was again, particularly true of younger audiences. So something isn't reaching them in how we're presenting our work in the performing arts. So next we have a sense that the whole process from the decision through booking and attending can be just too hard. Practical barriers were much more likely to get in the way of new audiences intentions to come to the performing arts. We asked audiences what was the single biggest barrier to them returning to a future event? If we remove costs from the equation, 44% of the reasons they listed as potential barriers were practical considerations such as transport, times of the performance, how easy it is to get to, and availability of food and drink. This compares to 33% for those new to you audiences. In addition, the free text comments in the surveys and the focus group feedback listed a whole host of practical challenges that got in the way of their attendance, from a lack of prior knowledge of the practicalities of the venue, for example, parking, through booking challenges, to worrying about toilets, cloak rooms, or crowds. These challenges could come at any point during their journey with us. And finally, a perception that the experience is poor value for money but also for time. Younger new audiences are the most impacted by cost of living as we saw earlier, so good value tickets matter. All audiences told us that the price of tickets was the biggest influence on their decision to attend. But we do know that they're willing to pay. So it might not be just about offering a discount and hoping that that will get new audiences to come. It's as much about perception as reality. And of course, they don't know its great value for money until they actually come. Perhaps we need to be talking more about value for money rather than just price. And we felt that this focus group participant summed this up really well. "It's not about how expensive it is to go, it costs a couple of hundred quid, but it's not that, because those same people will go to the football match and spend 300 quid. So it's not a money thing, it's breaking into a new world is the hard bit." And as well as those financial constraints, new audiences are more time poor. The under 35s new to the arts are more likely to have children under 16, which could be one of many pressures on their time. One of the barriers they talked about was needing time to plan and time to save up in advance of attending. We need to ensure these hours are seen as time well spent. So let me tell you about Kate, someone else that we met. Someone who found the process of attending just a bit too hard for a long time. She lives with her teenage daughter and husband in Wales, and she'd wanted to go and see "Les Misérables" for ages, but would never have booked to go herself. She's anxious about booking things and worries about going to things alone, which is why she's not actually ventured to the theatre before at all. A family member surprised her with tickets, again, the importance of people. She had a brilliant time and would now feel more confident about booking and going. So driving new audiences requires us to tip the scales in favour of attending, making it as easy as possible for a new attender to come. And this takes more than one action. We have to both increase the motivators and reduce those barriers. In fact, most of our respondents referenced at least two motivators in place for their first visit. The great news, however, is that you are in a very powerful position. You might in fact be the key to unlocking their future attendance. Remember that Katy talked you through that paradox, despite not seeming so keen on returning to the performing arts in general in the next year, at least three quarters of your new audiences want to come back to you. In fact, as you see here, 40% of brand new audiences have already come to you twice or more since COVID, actually more frequently than those arts engaged new audiences who are perhaps more confident to spread their attendance around more organisations. And again, this is even more so for under 35s. These new audiences clearly feel attached to you, due to the wonderful experience they had when they first came. They like to replicate that great experience, sometimes even by seeing exactly the same show, like John earlier. This quote from one of our focus group participants really sums it up for me. "I would probably go somewhere new if I like the idea of the content, but there is a sense of familiarity and comfort with going somewhere I've already been, because I already know, like this is how I go in, this is how my tickets get checked, this is the kind of thing I'm going to feel whilst I'm sat in their chairs, and this is how I'm going to feel in the crowd and how big the crowd is going to be." So if we have an understanding of the barriers and the motivations, then what do we do next? How can we use this understanding to capitalise on the growth opportunity that all this data seems to point to? I'm gonna hand back to Katy who has some suggestions about how you might turn this insight into action.- Thanks, Kerry. We're nearly there, guys. So as we've seen, new attenders offer a significant opportunity for growth. Not only are we seeing record high numbers of new attenders, but they are returning at the highest levels for seven years. This is very good news. They're expressing appetite for what we do, having higher satisfaction scores even than your existing audiences. And they have a strong intention to return to you. They see you as good value for money and are willing to pay even though many are affected by the cost of living. But of course there are some challenges. It's clear that new bookers on your system are not all the same. The main differentiator being whether they have previously attended any performing arts before or not. The reasons for which they will return will also therefore vary hugely, as we have seen. Although we do have a pretty good idea that the things they centre around with Kerry's motivators and barriers, with her seesaw. And finally they don't identify as performing arts attenders, and for many non attenders, they feel that's a world that they're not part of. So how can we seize the huge opportunity that we have here to start building tomorrow's audience? How do we boost those motivators, people, familiarity, occasion in order to tip those scales to both attract new people and to get the newbies to return? So I've got a few thoughts on this to share with you. Some are very practical and some are more at a kind of macro level. But firstly people, how many of us have a well established referral scheme? How could we use the power and number of our existing audiences, whether they're new or not, to introduce a friend. It could be someone who's come for the first time and had such an amazing experience that you could encourage or incentivize them to come back, yes, even to the same show, with a friend. Or it could be your most loyal audiences, make them part of your marketing effort by introducing you to new people and literally bring them along, perhaps for an incentive. So that's all great, but it might not give us the new person's data, which is of course what we want. At the moment we know that almost 60% of the people who look like new attenders on your database have in fact been to you before. So we know that we have lots of what are called ghost audiences. They've attended with someone else perhaps, but not directly booked the ticket. What might be the incentives for them to give you their data so that they too are visible to you and you can talk to them directly. Again, things like a referral scheme might really work for this. Do you remember when Uber launched and we all shared codes with each other madly so that we could save on our trips by sharing the code with others who also then got cheaper rides? How might we do that for the arts? And then onto familiarity. Now I know we can't always have a show on that's recently been a blockbuster Disney film or the latest talked about book. And the problem we have with familiarity is that it's different for every person, of course, what's familiar for me will not be the same for you. And with these first time bookers, we have one booking to go on. So it's pretty much anyone's guess what to throw at them next. But therein lies the problem. We often frame this in terms of what we want to move them onto next, rather than how we give them what they want. And given what we found out from this research, I'd suggest three things. Firstly, don't rule out trying them with literally the same thing again. Especially if it's something like "The Nutcracker" was for John earlier, reminding them of what it was like, what people said about it, and perhaps suggesting they come again and bring someone different. Familiarity with the venue, as Kerry has said, could be more important than we think. So again, using your messaging to remind them of how much people love coming to you all year round. Use your customer satisfaction scores, quotes from audiences, focus on the venue experience, not just the show. And thirdly, especially when thinking about how to attract brand new attenders, I think as a sector we also need to think about how we talk about performing arts. With large pieces of research such as this, I can guarantee that at least one of you in the Q&A today or afterwards will say, yes, but could we have a cut of that data just for our art form, or that art form, or yes, that's great, but we are really different 'cause we're really tiny organisation. Now, of course we can, and we will in the full report, identify any significant differences for different types of organisations and art forms, and that definitely has its place. But in doing all that drilling down into detail and obsessing over the differences between us, perhaps sometimes we just need to think more broadly about the bigger picture. Kerry showed us that because many non attenders associate the performing arts with quite a narrow group of genres, this in itself can be quite off-putting and damaging for all of us. Equally, making assumptions that once someone has attended they are now a theatre goer or dance lover may have a similar effect in trying to persuade them to return. So my question to you is how do we start to talk about what we do better as part of a much wider ecosystem of live performance? How do we align with things that help to put us in people's minds as the something great to do space rather than just the performing arts that's for people who are not like me space? And then the occasion, how easy is it for you to identify people that seem to have come for a special occasion? Now Christmas is fairly obvious, but what about other occasions? How often do we suggest to our audiences that we are the answer to a special occasion rather than just letting them book another meal out? Again, let's start thinking about what they want. We've seen consistently in all our data since COVID increasing numbers of people saying they're attending for social reasons, celebrations, or special events. Do you have a special occasion package, for example, that could be added onto any show, not just assuming that you do it for the fun shows? When we introduced these across all shows at the Theatre Royal in Newcastle where I worked many, many years ago, we were surprised with how popular they were, and also that the majority of people buying them were either completely new to us or less engaged attenders. Do you regularly suggest occasions for which attending the performing arts is the answer? I regularly get emails and notifications from a flower company that I've used, suggesting in some cases the most random occasions for which flowers are apparently the answer. It's Christmas, flowers, it's someone's birthday, flowers, it's your birthday, flowers. And my personal favourite most recently, spring is on the way, flowers. God help me. But could we adopt this approach more generally and more regularly rather than only when we have a particular show, girls' nights out, date nights, end of exams, Mother's Day, big birthday, I am sure you can think of lots and lots of examples. And then my very last slide and then we'll get onto some questions. Finally, I think we need to keep testing, learning, and most of all, listening to these audiences. Testing, while we're fairly confident that it will take two or more of our motivators to tip the scales for new attenders, for those returning, the main point is that we don't know what's gonna work for who until we test it. And with such a lot of new attenders, all with different drivers and motivators, and very little to go on one booking, we are going to need to test a lot of things at scale and at speed. No marketing team in the world has the time and the resources to do that manually. So I think this is where things like email and social media automation come into their own. We need to chuck a lot of jelly at the wall to see what sticks. We need to use A/B testing and automation to see what sticks and then use more automation to chase it all down. Now I know some people are already doing this really well, but little birds tell me that it's by no means common practise, not yet anyway. It's a bit of an upfront investment in time, but potentially could pay dividends with this huge body of new attenders. And then learning, if you don't know the percentage of new attenders in your audience and the annual retention rate of all bookers and new bookers, A, you need to. And B, you clearly haven't been listening to me rabbiting on for the last 15 years about the importance of tracking retention. So if you'd like to compare your organization's retention rates with the benchmark that Liv presented earlier, Spektrix have created a simple calculator and some instructions for how to do that, whether you're a Spektrix user or not, and we will send those out to you. And then finally, listening. All too often in the past we've listened to the loyal core audiences, either literally in the foyer or through surveys and perhaps letters of complaint. But perhaps we haven't as readily sought out the views of new or less frequent tenders, despite them representing over half our bookers in any one year. If we are going to build loyalty with these people, we need to listen to them and understand them more. One of the ways that we're doing that at Indigo is through Indigo Share with projects such as this, but also with those who use our Indigo Share subscription surveys. As a result of what we've learned through this project, all our reporting will now include the differences between first time attenders and returners using real-time post-show survey data. This means that we can spot what's going on immediately and you can act on it quickly. If you're not part of Indigo Share subscription and you'd like to be, please contact Kerry or myself, we'll be happy to talk you through it. So that's all from me. Let's dig into some questions and I will hand back to Brooke. Thank you.- Great, thank you very much, Katy. We've had some interesting questions and some statements that could benefit from your input. But I'll start off with a first question from Rayna. They say thank you for the insight. So, thinking about the 54% of the new bookers. "If I see this large number of first time bookers, it makes me remember Oliver Wyman's orchestra study. 9 out of 10 first time visitors of classical music concerts never returned. So isn't 54% a danger, and it shows that a lot of people just book one time only?"- Well, yes, I mean, it is a danger and it's an opportunity, isn't it? It's only a danger if you can't get 'em back again. I mean, I've been looking at this stuff for 20 years, I did a dissertation on it 20 years ago, and thought it was bad then. But as we've seen, the figures have declined hugely. And I'm not sure most organisations are aware of those two metrics, the percentage of first time attenders and the percentage that they retain. And it is, it's really frightening, and it explains why we're also knackered, because if you're having to go and find a new audience all the time and then they're not coming back again, you've gotta spend more time and more effort to go and find more of them. So he's absolutely Bob on with that one. But that's why this is the key, we've gotta get these new attenders back again, quickly.- And from anonymous, "Was there anything from your research that you found that new audience particularly wanted in terms of that audience experience? Like taking in drinks to the auditorium or being able to use their mobile phones, that kind of thing?"- Shall I answer on that one, Katy? Excuse me. So we expected that there would be, but actually there was far less difference between those different audience groups than we thought. And while we did find that younger attenders were a bit more likely to expect to be able to take a drink in, once we got down to all those things, like being able to take photos, and take phones in, and that kind of thing, no one was particularly keen on doing that. The only one that probably warrants further investigation is around different seating options, like different experiential spaces in the auditorium, where again, younger and generally new to arts audiences are quite intrigued by the idea of having particular different seating areas, maybe more relaxed areas, and things like that. So that's something that definitely warrants further investigation, I think.- Right, thank you. And you touched on this idea of ghost audiences, Katy, maybe we'll start with Liv on this one, and then get you to kind of reinforce some of your thoughts. But we've had questions around, you know, how practically are we supposed to capture this ghost data? Your CRM system, your ticketing system, how are they helping us to collect this ghost data and make use of it?- Yeah, I mean, the number of answers to that is almost infinite in a way, because I think the real question here is what are we doing to incentivize people to give us this data? What are we giving them back in exchange? So there are a lot of really interesting answers about things that they might value from the Indigo research here, the survey research. So they might value learning more about what their experience might be when they come, or you know, they might value learning more about the venue, or they might value some kind of incentive to return. So there's plenty of different types of carrots that you can put out there. We've just recently have a new integration with a partner that helps you get data by sharing wifi in your auditorium. I mean, really, what's the benefit to sharing that is essentially the answer to that question. And then once you get it into your database, how are you tagging that? How are you making it so that the next time they experience you or the next time they come back that we know that they're coming back, so they're getting a welcome back or they're getting some kind of acknowledgement that they've been there before? And how are you, you know, as to Katy's point before, how are you automating that? Because goodness knows you can't do it for everyone manually.- Thanks, Liv. Any additional thoughts, Kerry or Katy, on the ghost question?- No, I think just to reinforce that, you know, just bashing people over the head and asking for their email address isn't gonna work, there's got to be something in it for them. So it's thinking about what is in it for them, why would they give you that data? What can you give them in return? So it's just thinking about it in those terms I think.- Great, thank you. Lots of interesting questions and comments coming in. If you can use the Q&A tool at the bottom of your screen towards the left to submit those questions, that would be really helpful, 'cause there is a lot of interest in many of the aspects of this webinar. One interesting question that we had from Jacob, "Is there any data around the under 35 new to arts and the 'gatekeepers' of ticket buying?" So is it friends of a similar age? Is it family members? Is it older friends that bring them along to their first experience? Katy or Kerry?- I would say we probably don't have specific detail. We didn't choose our focus groups just of under 35 arts attends to really dive into that in a representative way. But we know that people are even more important to them. So what we learned is there's different ways that people can be motivated. So not just assuming it's somebody else who buys the tickets and just takes them along, but I think it's worth thinking about almost kind of mind mapping, how do people connect with other people? Yes, somebody else could buy you a ticket, but also, how do you kind of make somebody in your life happy, whether it's a child, a partner, a friend, a relative by a gift of attending theatre, or dance, or opera? So there isn't one specific answer that we know at the moment. But again, I think if you're an organisation that's really, really focused on attracting those under 35s, I think again, as Katy said, listening to them, and asking them, and testing what works and what triggers would be really, really valuable. And I love it as a future research question for deeper delving as well.- Thank you, Kerry. There's been a few questions coming in touching on something you were talking about Katy, which is that variations on insights depending on regional art form, I know you touched on it, but did you wanna expand a little bit on your thoughts on that?- Yeah, I mean, we have got the biggest spreadsheet in the world with all the cuts of data in it, and that does include art form and regions. So in the final report we will indicate where there are significant differences between regions, or art forms, or types of organisation. I dunno if you wanna say anymore on that, Kerry?- Yes, just as I flicked to that tab, Google locked me out, but I'm back in, hmm. So I'd say that there are what we might expect between London and regional audiences. So for example, we can see that London attenders will engage more with exhibitions and museums because of the availability of arts. And there are some interesting differences in the value of the arts, which is slightly higher for people who live in London than in the regions. Whereas regional audiences do seem to be even more driven by special occasions. So there are some quite interesting regional differences based on London and outside London, which we will pick out in more detail. In terms of differences between art forms, really interestingly, to very first kind of cut through where I have, being very frank, combined both classical music and opera because I was doing a very simplistic cut, it's quite interesting to see that that group, classical music and opera attenders, versus dance and drama as two different groups seem to be the most frequent attenders, value the arts more, and are more engaged, even those new to arts attenders than those other two. And there are other slight differences between them. So we found when we looked at this that the differences between new to the arts and new to you, so prior arts engagement and newly attending arts was more of a differentiator than between any particular art form. Having said that, I think we will pick out some particular differences to help those people who are really driving, you know, a particular art form with new attenders. So some interesting things, you'll have to wait for the report in a couple of weeks time and that'd be your chance to read it.- Thank you, Kerry- Just to add a bit more colour on that, oh sorry,- Go for it.- just add a little more colour on, in the aggregate data, it was really interesting. I mean, we do see slightly different slopes, depending on art form region, etcetera, but not hugely different, and for the most part, it seems to be this pattern engages across the board. So more, again, in the report.- Yes, and that will be following on from this webinar. We're really close to running out on time and we just have a few more messages for you before we finish up. But more will be coming, we'll be sending an email out, really comprehensive with next steps of what's happening with the report and some resources for you right now. And I'm so sorry to say that we've got so many wonderful questions and comments that we're not gonna get time to get to. So if you have comments or questions for Katy or Kerry, obviously reach out directly to Indigo. If you have questions about our aggregate data, anything like that, you can get in touch with us here at Spektrix. But before I let you run away, I just wanna give a huge thank you to our speakers today. Thank you so much, Liv, Katy, and Kerry, lots of lots of clapping, heart emojis, please. And we at Spektrix hope to see many of you at an upcoming event. We are hosting a webinar open to everyone on the topic of recruitment and culture, which you can sign up for on our events page. We're also running feedback training in partnership with UK Theatre. So if you are a UK Theatre member, be sure to check that out. And speaking of feedback, when you leave this webinar, you will see a Zoom webpage with an ultra short survey about today's webinar. Survey fatigue is real, I feel it myself. Apparently Kerry and Katy don't have that experience, but we've made it as short and sweet as possible. It really helps us to understand what you need and what you want from events like this. Please take a few seconds to share your thoughts when you leave. And on that final note, thanks again to our wonderful speakers and all of the brilliant questions and comments we had today. Thank you so much, have a great afternoon.
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