Industry Press / 02.05.24
JCA Arts Marketing Publishes New Study on Trends for Performing Arts Organizations in 2023-2024
February 5, 2024 – JCA Arts Marketing, a division of JCA that helps arts and cultural organizations leverage data-driven insights to grow audiences and revenue, recently released a new study on Trends in Audience Behavior: Loyalty Programs.
The drop in subscriptions for performing arts organizations post-pandemic has been uncomfortable, but not surprising. There has been an ongoing decline in subscriptions sales since the 1990s, and the pandemic only hastened what was inevitable.
JCA Arts Marketing conducted this study not to bemoan lower subscription sales again, but to measure how much of a future traditional fixed subscriptions have. The goal of the study was also to understand if newer loyalty programs—like choose-your-own subscriptions, memberships, and ticket credits—have the potential to fill the gap left by subscription sales.
Data for the Loyalty Programs Study was gathered from 22 major organizations in different regions of the U.S., including eight regional theatre companies, seven music organizations, four opera companies, and three performing arts centers (PACs). The analysis compares subscription sales for 2023-24 to past seasons in 2018-19, 2019-20, 2021-22, and 2022-23.
Key findings include:
- Fixed subscriptions are stabilizing, but they aren’t going back to pre-pandemic numbers. Subscription numbers remained relatively stable compared to last season and even grew a bit among the organizations studied; however, it’s unlikely that subscription numbers will go back to pre-pandemic levels.
- A mixture of loyalty program types is the best bet. Different types of loyalty programs attract different people with varying lifestyles and behaviors, so it’s ideal to offer a mixture of programs.
- Choose Your Own (CYO) packages are a revenue driver. CYO subscribers pay more per ticket—largely because CYO subscribers get less of a discount than fixed subscribers, and because people are generally willing to pay more to see the specific shows they want.
- Opera and theatre companies should check that their subscriptions are not underpriced. These companies should consider optimizing their subscription prices to make sure they aren’t leaving money on the table—especially with the quickened pace of inflation post-pandemic.
“We’re thrilled to report stabilization after the three somewhat tumultuous producing seasons since the pandemic closures,” said Jamie Alexander, Director of JCA Arts Marketing and co-author of the study. “We hope that performing arts organizations continue to fix their sights on innovation and create reimagined experiences for today’s audiences.”
The full study can be found here.
JCA (Jacobson Consulting Applications, Inc.) is the first and foremost independent consulting firm dedicated solely to the technical and operational needs of nonprofits. Our mission is to enhance the core information systems and processes at nonprofit organizations and arts and cultural venues. We elevate our clients’ information acumen, allowing them to make data-driven decisions to increase revenue, optimize operations, and build lasting relationships with their target audiences. The combination of deep expertise, the resources to deliver a complete solution, and the vision to innovate, makes JCA exceptional. Learn more at jcainc.com.
JCA Arts Marketing, a division of JCA, uses data-driven insights to help cultural institutions increase revenue, boost attendance, and grow patron value. Institutions served include museums, dance companies, opera companies, performing arts centers, symphonies, and theatres. Learn more at jcainc.com/arts-marketing.