Efforts to diversify audiences have increased in recent years and new programming during the pandemic has led to more diverse audiences trialling arts activities. The challenge is to turn the increased trial into durable conversion and a more diverse visitor profile in the long-term.
However, audience development can be a ‘leaky bucket.’ If the loss of existing audiences is faster than we can gain new audiences, then negative substitution takes place. Audiences are not necessarily only lost due to the pandemic, but this occurs on a going basis due to ageing or relocation. Importantly it also happens because the market is growing more diverse, while perceptions of cultural organisations as places for more diverse people are not evolving fast enough.
This analysis of US audience data by Impacts shows substitution ratios for different organisation types.