Live performance industry continues to remain strong

Woodford Folk Festival editorialNational research conducted by Live Performance Australia (LPA) shows the live performance industry remains strong, contributing $1.51 billion to the Australian economy with 18.54 million tickets in 2014 issued. The Ticket Attendance and Revenue Survey 2014 is released annually by LPA and is the most comprehensive survey of ticket sales for Australian live performance events.

LPA Chief Executive, Evelyn Richardson said the live performance industry is crucial to the vitality of the Australian economy and the social framework of Australia.

“The value of the live performance industry to millions of Australians is evident in the continual growth in both revenue and attendance figures,” said Ms Richardson. “Despite a drop in the average ticket price and lower consumer confidence, total revenue from ticket sales increased by 2% and attendance grew by 3.4% in 2014.

“The live performance industry continues to outperform other strong market sectors, including retail trade, and accommodation and food services and more people attend live performances annually than they do sporting events.”

As per previous years, the report findings showed Contemporary Music and Musical Theatre to be the two largest contributors to the industry, generating 40.1% and 21.2% of revenue respectively, and a combined attendance rate of 51.6%.

“The strength of the research findings further support a continued investment in developing a vibrant and sustainable live performance industry to ensure every Australian continues to have access to quality arts and cultural activities,” said Ms Richardson.

Other key findings from the research include:

• Victoria, New South Wales, and Western Australia commanded a larger share of both revenue and attendance compared to their respective share of Australia’s population. Although Victoria experienced a decline in revenue and attendance in 2014, it still remained well above its national share of the population and had the highest spend per capita both in 2014 and 2013.

• In 2014, New South Wales experienced gains in revenue (10%) and attendance (4.6%) largely driven by growth in the Musical Theatre category, which included successful runs of The Lion King and Strictly Ballroom in Sydney. In contrast, Victoria experienced declines in both measures (revenue -5% and attendance -5.2%) and industry share, with particularly significant declines in Contemporary Music and Physical Theatre categories due to a number of international performances that occurred in 2013 not returning to Australia in 2014.

• Tasmania and Northern Territory experienced significant revenue growth in 2014 (382.8% and 45.9% respectively). For Tasmania, part of this growth can be explained by the first time inclusion of data from Oztix and MONA. In the Northern Territory, gains were driven by the Contemporary Music, Circus and Physical Theatre, and Children’s/Family categories.

Sector breakdown data includes:

• The top 3 revenue categories (Contemporary Music, Musical Theatre, and Festivals [Single-Category]) accounted for 70% of all industry revenue in 2014.

• As with previous years, the Contemporary Music and Musical Theatre categories represent the two largest categories in the industry, generating 40.1% and 21.2% of revenue respectively. Combined, these two categories account for 61.4% of the live performance industry in terms of gross revenue and 51.6% of total attendance.

• The most significant gains in revenue were experienced by the Festivals (Multi-Category), Musical Theatre, and Special Events categories. The significant increases for Festivals (Multi-Category) can largely be explained by the inclusion of new data providers in 2014, such as The Falls Music and Arts Festival, MONA FOMA and Dark Mofo.

• The Circus and Physical Theatre, Ballet and Dance, and Theatre categories experienced significant declines in both overall revenue and attendance due to a number of popular international performances that occurred in 2013 not returning to Australia in 2014.

“The addition of new data partners is important to improving the scope and rigor of the report and LPA encourages event and venue owners not presently included in the Report to become data partners,” said Ms Richardson. New data partners in the 2014 Survey included: Brisbane Powerhouse, Hayes Theatre Co, MONA and Oztix.

The Ticket Attendance and Revenue Survey 2014 can be accessed as an interactive web-based document or PDF and key facts and figures can be accessed from the newly developed state and territory specific, and national infographics. For more information, visit: www.liveperformance.com.au for details.

Image: Woodford Folk Festival

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