Audience Atlas Victoria – everything you need to know about Victorian audiences

Heidi Victoria MP, Minister for the Arts and Women in Victoria launched one of the most significant pieces of audience research undertaken in Australia to 200 people in the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne in April. The launch of the report was the inaugural event in the Experts Arts programme – a new Arts Victoria initiative to build capacity and skills in the arts and cultural sector.

Commissioned by Arts Victoria, Morris Hargreaves McIntyre (MHM) has been working on Audience Atlas Victoria for nearly a year. Audience Atlas Victoria maps out the profile of the culture market in Victoria in detail, examining the composition of Victorian arts and culture audiences, and provides an in-depth insight into their attitudes, motivations and behaviour.

Audience Atlas Victoria is a representative sample of the Victorian population. This is a very real picture of the general public – not just Board Members, Artistic Directors, or vocal staff members.

The study provides an empirical foundation to developing audiences and expertise in audience development in the State.

Victorian organisations are now equipped to build audiences – regardless of scale, budget or artform.  The research enables organisations to make informed choices about which audiences to target – and outlines how to reach them using MHM’s Culture Segments.

The respondents in the study (a cohort so large there is just a 2% margin of error when weighted against the Victorian population) answered candidly about which organisations and venues they knew about, had been to be before and which they were interested in attending but had not yet been to. The study included museums and galleries as well as the performing arts and paints a compelling picture about Victorian arts – where it delivers and where there is still room for growth.

Key findings include:

•    94% of Victorians over 16 have attended at least one arts or cultural event or place within the last three years. In total, over 4.03 million Victorians are in the culture market.
•    Victorians spend $5.1 billion annually directly on cultural activities. This equates to $421.5 million a month. Nearly half of this is spent on admission to events and exhibitions.
•    60% of Victorians donate to arts and cultural organisations.
•    74% of this population live in Melbourne, while 26% live elsewhere in Victoria.
•    44% of Victorians belong to an arts or cultural organisation.
•    17% of Victorians currently volunteer their time with an arts or cultural organisation.

There are ten artform categories where the market potential is outlined – dance, festivals, music, theatre, museums, visual arts, commercial theatre, libraries, literature and multi-artform spaces. 

44 organisations are now be able to:
-    assess the size of their current, lapsed and potential market;
-    compare Culture Segment profiles with the Victorian and Australian population;
-    compare within their artform;
-    access granular detail about WHY these people attend;
-    learn how to connect with target audiences;
-    identify the specific organisations where there is audience crossover.  

This revealed a fascinating picture of a culturally active population many of  whom attended diverse works and companies – from Circus Oz, to the State Library of Victoria and the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI).

There is already a great deal of interest in the work and real momentum to take it to the next level. Attendees at the event were encouraged to:

1    Read the report and explore the rest of MHM’s site. As we operate on a Freemium, open access model, there is a great deal of information on you can download and use for nothing.
2    Talk to colleagues. The scope for artistic collaboration as well as cross-promotional marketing is significant.
3    Talk to MHM. We work as an extension of your team. The first step can be a survey, integrating Culture Segment questions into what you’d normally ask.
We can then produce pen portraits – like the ones on the website – covering primary drivers for attendance, social and traditional media usage, spend and frequency of the segments for your organisation. This can then inform segment strategies for your organisation.

MHM are already talking to a number of different organisations across the State about the next stage of working together. We are fizzing with anticipation about the next stage of this work.

#mhmaus or @lucysh

As a Senior Research Executive, Alexa manages the design and delivery of research projects through...

Image for National Gallery of Victoria

National Gallery of Victoria

Image for Arts Victoria

Arts Victoria

Image for Grayson Perry: Culture Segments in action

Grayson Perry: Culture Segments in action