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Online cultural events - statistics and facts

Over the last decade, the global arts and culture sector has gradually begun to accept the onset of both digitization and digitalization. However, 2020 will be probably remembered as the year that accelerated the process to go online. Due to emergency restrictions put in place during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, museums and galleries, movie theaters, music clubs, and all sorts of cultural venues across the globe had to shut down for months. Forced to stay close to the public, many cultural institutions turned to the internet, trying to engage with their audience by offering more online activities and virtual events. According to an October 2020 study, roughly a quarter of surveyed museums worldwide started to organize online live events after the lockdown, with an additional 21 percent increasing such activities after closures. Meanwhile, a March 2021 study looking at 365 global art fairs found that 38 percent planned an online edition of their events in 2020. When looking solely at the fairs that had canceled their in-person events, the share of art fairs being held online was even higher.

Interest in virtual cultural events during and after the pandemic

In the same way that cultural institutions boosted their digital presence during the lockdowns, the audience’s interest in online culture rose during the pandemic too. As of March 2021, 39 percent of interviewed Britons claimed to have engaged with culture online only since cultural venues closed. As of the same month, around eight in 10 surveyed Canadian cultural event goers stated to have experienced online cultural events during the pandemic. However, just a third of respondents believed they would do the same when the crisis was over. In this respect, a global survey published in March 2021 explored how individuals were planning to attend events in-person and virtually after the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. According to the results, roughly half of U.S. interviewees predicted they would attend events both in-person and via video conferencing. While 65 percent of respondents in Japan stated the same, India reported the highest share of those who only planned to attend events via online platforms.

Popular online cultural events

Considering that the arts and cultural sector comprises a heterogeneous set of industries, the types of virtual cultural events that can be attended are diverse. A study from September 2020 focusing on the most common digital cultural activities among Italians showed that nearly a quarter of the survey sample watched a music gig on livestream, while 14 percent of respondents engaged with online art performances, and 12 percent followed an online film festival. Meanwhile, as reported in a survey on the interest in online cultural event formats in the United Kingdom, Britons perceived performances or events created specifically to be watched online as more engaging than archive recordings of events that took place prior to the closures. In terms of online live shows, the four-day streaming event Wacken World Wide – which replaced the in-person music festival normally held in Wacken, Germany – recorded roughly 11 million views, topping the list of the livestreamed music performances with the highest global viewership in 2020.

Key figures

The most important key figures provide you with a compact summary of the topic of "Online cultural events" and take you straight to the corresponding statistics.

Interest in virtual cultural events during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

Popular online cultural events

Other interesting statistics

Online cultural events - statistics and facts

Over the last decade, the global arts and culture sector has gradually begun to accept the onset of both digitization and digitalization. However, 2020 will be probably remembered as the year that accelerated the process to go online. Due to emergency restrictions put in place during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, museums and galleries, movie theaters, music clubs, and all sorts of cultural venues across the globe had to shut down for months. Forced to stay close to the public, many cultural institutions turned to the internet, trying to engage with their audience by offering more online activities and virtual events. According to an October 2020 study, roughly a quarter of surveyed museums worldwide started to organize online live events after the lockdown, with an additional 21 percent increasing such activities after closures. Meanwhile, a March 2021 study looking at 365 global art fairs found that 38 percent planned an online edition of their events in 2020. When looking solely at the fairs that had canceled their in-person events, the share of art fairs being held online was even higher.

Interest in virtual cultural events during and after the pandemic

In the same way that cultural institutions boosted their digital presence during the lockdowns, the audience’s interest in online culture rose during the pandemic too. As of March 2021, 39 percent of interviewed Britons claimed to have engaged with culture online only since cultural venues closed. As of the same month, around eight in 10 surveyed Canadian cultural event goers stated to have experienced online cultural events during the pandemic. However, just a third of respondents believed they would do the same when the crisis was over. In this respect, a global survey published in March 2021 explored how individuals were planning to attend events in-person and virtually after the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. According to the results, roughly half of U.S. interviewees predicted they would attend events both in-person and via video conferencing. While 65 percent of respondents in Japan stated the same, India reported the highest share of those who only planned to attend events via online platforms.

Popular online cultural events

Considering that the arts and cultural sector comprises a heterogeneous set of industries, the types of virtual cultural events that can be attended are diverse. A study from September 2020 focusing on the most common digital cultural activities among Italians showed that nearly a quarter of the survey sample watched a music gig on livestream, while 14 percent of respondents engaged with online art performances, and 12 percent followed an online film festival. Meanwhile, as reported in a survey on the interest in online cultural event formats in the United Kingdom, Britons perceived performances or events created specifically to be watched online as more engaging than archive recordings of events that took place prior to the closures. In terms of online live shows, the four-day streaming event Wacken World Wide – which replaced the in-person music festival normally held in Wacken, Germany – recorded roughly 11 million views, topping the list of the livestreamed music performances with the highest global viewership in 2020.

Other interesting statistics

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