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Audience Outlook Monitor - COVID-19 - Phase 3

The COVID-19 Audience Outlook Monitor Snapshot Report: September 2020 outlines key findings from Phase 3 of the Audience Outlook Monitor in Australia and Queensland

The Audience Outlook Monitor research explores how audiences feel about attending events in the future, following the impact of COVID-19 pandemic. It will provide artists and cultural organisations with a resource to guide decision-making and forward planning. 


Key points

Queensland results

The September 2020 QLD Snapshot Report is based on insights from 2,031 survey respondents connected with QLD organisations.

Returning to events

  • Two-fifths of QLD audiences had returned to a cultural event recently. The proportion of QLD audience members who attended a cultural event of any kind in the past fortnight increased from 22% in July to 39% in September, as more venues and facilities reopened.
  • Cinemas and museums and galleries are the most common type of venues being visited. The most common venues that people were re-attending in September 2020 include cinemas (18%, up from 10%) and museums and galleries (13%, up from 9%). Rates of attendance at live performances had grown significantly since July (10%, up from 2%), due to more events returning to stages and venues. 


Venues and safety measures

  • QLD audiences continue to favour outdoor venues for attending a cultural event. QLD audiences continued to rank outdoor venues as their first preference for attending arts and cultural events  (40%, up from 36% in July), and outdoor event remains the top preference for QLD audiences, on average.

QLD audiences continued to show support for live-streamed digital programs that they could watch from home, as this feels the safest, though the proportion who put this as their first choice has dropped slightly (29%, down from 32%). QLD audiences are showing similar, or slightly lower levels of comfort with venues seating 250 people (61%, stable with 63%), 500 people (51%, stable since July) and 1000 people (37%, stable with 39%).

  • Safety measures are reasrruing audiences recturing to cultural events and venues. Slightly more QLD respondents are feeling encouraged by social distancing measures at venues, through practices such as timed ticketing and crowd control (87%, up from 82% in July) and seating audience members apart based on distancing guidelines (88%, up from 83%). Queensland audiences have grown more supportive of the use of face masks (61%, up from 34% in May) along with temperature checks upon entry (69%, up from 63%).


Future attendance

  • One in two past attendees are making plans to attend cultural event. Past attendees are making plans to attend an event of some kind in future, increasing from 42% in July to 51% in September 2020.
  • More Queenslanders are making plans to attend a live performance. More QLD audiences are making plans to attend a live performance compared to July (26%, up from 17%) and there has been a slight increase in the proportion buying tickets (16%, up from 13%). Lead times are short in QLD: around two-thirds (59%) are buying tickets for events less than one month out.
  • QLD audiences are optimistic about returning to events long-term. Nationally, QLD audiences are among the least likely to anticipate that their attendance will be negatively affected by the pandemic. When they do return to cultural events, most QLD audiences expect to spend the same amount on tickets and subscriptions as they did before (76%), 14% expect to spend less (down from 16% in July) and 10% expect to spend more (consistent since July).


Participating at home

  • QLD audiences remain engaged with creative activities at home, both on- and off-line. Queenslanders are continuing to participate in creative activities while at home, such as listening to music (90%) and reading for pleasure (85%). A smaller, but consistent, proportions are making art or craft (37%) or making music (21%, down from 24%).
  • Engagement in some online activities has dropped slightly. Slightly fewer QLD audiences are participating in online arts or cultural experiences (64%) compared to the proportion in July (70%) and May 2020 (71%). In QLD, 40% are watching pre-recorded performances online (down from 46% in July) and 33% are watching live-streamed performances (down from 38%).Engagement in online activities such as online classes, courses and tutorials (27%, stable with 28% in July) and creating content to share online (7%, stable with 6%) has remained stable.
  • Queenslanders are planning to continue to engage online post pandemic. The proportion of QLD audiences overall who plan to continue engaging online post-pandemic has increased (74%, up from 71% in July), indicating that long-term digital programming will be important for some audiences, even while live events resume.  When asked what paid online activities they will prioritise in future, respondents mentioned work they would not normally be able to see, as well as supporting local, emerging and independent creatives that have been impacted by the pandemic.
  • QLD audiences are continuing to pay for online experiences, but spending has dropped slightly. 32% of QLD respondents has paid for an experience online in September, a rate that increased from May (28%) and has remained stable since July (31%). A slightly larger proportion are purchasing single experiences (16%, up from 9% in May). 


Download the Queensland report

Phase 3 Queensland Snapshot Audience Outlook Monitor September 2020 (PDF) (2.84 MB)




Key highlights for national data

  • Levels of comfort participating in public events vary markedly around Australia, based on rates of community transmission.
  • 29% of past attendees are ready to attend as soon as permitted.
  • The proportion of audiences that attended a cultural event of any kind in the past fortnight has increased from 24% in July to 29% in September, as more venues and facilities reopen.
  • Social distancing is helping more people feel comfortable at large venues in particular social distancing guidelines. Most audiences are satisfied with venue safety, and there is a sense of goodwill.
  • Outdoor events and digital streaming continue to be the most popular formats.
  • Audiences are continuing to participate from home, however in some regions, slightly fewer are engaging online.


Download the national report

Phase 3, Australian Snapshot Audience Outlook Monitor September 2020

Fact Sheet: Disability

Fact Sheet: Regional Audiences


Use the dashboard to get results for your artform and region

Survey data from over 15,000 respondents has been uploaded to the dashboard, which now contains insights from over 38,000 Australian participants.

Visit the Australian homepage for the dashboard, where you can watch a tour or download a guide.

About the research

The Audience Outlook Monitor is an international study tracking how audiences feel about attending arts and culture events in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.  In Australia, the study by research agencies Patternmakers (Sydney) and WolfBrown (USA) in collaboration with the Australia Council for the Arts, Creative Victoria, Create NSW, Arts Queensland, Arts SA, and the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries (Western Australia).

Phase 1 data was collected between 6 and 14 May 2020 and Phase 2 of data collection occurred from 8 to 12 July 2020.

More information about the methodology and survey is available on the Patternmakers website.


Find out more 


Audience Outlook Monitor - COVID-19 - Phase 1

Audience Outlook Monitor – COVID-19 - Phase 2