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Report: £5 is ‘optimum’ price point for virtual shows

A ticket that costs £5 (€5.55) for individual adults, or £10 (€11.10) for families with children, is the optimum average price point for virtual events, new analysis reveals.

For Vivid Interface’s Meeting the Online Opportunity, the UK market research firm asked 1,019 people who had visited at least two visitor attractions in the 18 months prior to lockdown in March 2020 how much they would pay to “watch a [virtual] play, opera, ballet performance or live band gig, or do a class, and so on”.

For “independent adults”, the price point where both revenue and viewership are at their highest is, on average, £5, according to the report. For families with children under 16, revenue is highest at £10, while the biggest viewership is achieved at £5.

The survey also reveals differences in willingness to spend based on age group – for 18–25s and 36–54s the optimum price point is £10, while for 26–35s and over-55s it’s £5 – and gender, with men prepared to pay more for their online experiences than women.

“The right online offer can provide a rapid revenue recovery”

Vivid Interface’s MD, Geoff Dixon, comments: “Nothing beats the live events arena. It’s where we work – and my social life – but organisers have to at least explore the possibility of online augmentation of their offer in pandemic times.

“I believe that the right online offer can provide a rapid revenue recovery without harming the long-term viability of ‘live’. In fact, an online presence can reach new geographies and bring new customers to a brand, attracting people who may in time walk through a physical door rather than a paywall.”

According to Vivid’s research, the Royal Opera House, by charging £4.99 for its first post-lockdown virtual shows, “may not be optimising revenue”; however, Laura Marling’s groundbreaking Union Chapel concert, which attracted an online audience of 6,500 with a ticket price of £12.50 (€13.90), “may be optimising revenue at this price point”.

“Research will help to set out a plan and an understanding of the price-to-demand relationships that are key to successful brand building,” adds Dixon.


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Are online experiences here to stay?

For many cultural organisations, such as live music venues, museums, theatres and arts venues, Covid-19 has meant a pivot to an online presence. But as attractions move through a phased period of reopening we have to ask: Are online experiences here to stay?

Over the last three months, Vivid Interface has put a variety of research projects in the field to track consumer sentiment, the mood of organisations and their online intentions. This has revealed an extraordinary growth in online consumption in terms of cultural experiences, media viewing and health and wellbeing. Add to that last week’s Ofcom report revealing that the average Briton has been spending 25% of their day online while in lockdown, and we know that this is an area we all need to pay attention to.

Vivid Interface, in association with Panelbase, conducted an e-survey with over 1,000 visitors to attractions and cultural venues in early June. The report, which can be read here, looks at what visitors have been watching and participating in online while venues and attractions have been closed. While taking a yoga class or watching a new release film are right up there, so are live music performances and stand-up comedy.

The report explores what they say they will continue to watch and also what they feel they may continue to watch online in preference to going out. It makes interesting reading:

What sort of unique experiences the visitor attraction sectors can come up with next is an exciting space to watch

These are significant stats that can’t be ignored.

The report highlights significant variances in age, gender and life stage, too, which are important in understanding online engagement opportunities for programmers and marketers.

The cultural sector was already well set up to pivot to online experiences, but the sheer explosion of content and audience reaction tells us that there’s plenty more to come.

Just looking at this week’s news we see the Royal Opera House building on its success of live streaming from Covent Garden with a programme of paid for online experiences (at £4.99 a performance). And the Summer Solstice at Stonehenge, managed by English Heritage, received over 3.6 million views for its first-ever live stream of the event. It normally attracts around 10,000.

Are online experiences here to stay? Yes, they are. But what sort of unique experiences the visitor attraction sectors can come up with next is an exciting space to watch.


Geoffrey Dixon is managing director of Vivid Interface, a full-service market research agency serving the events, festivals and attractions industries.