Consumer enthusiasm for the return of in-person events combined with deeper digital engagement during the pandemic will allow both to thrive, according to a new study by UTA IQ, the research arm of the giant agency.
The report, Virtual + Reality: The Future of Digital & Live Entertainment in a Post-Pandemic World, backs up what’s been apparent from crowded sports stadiums, a recovering box office and concert ticket sales as artists announce tour dates. Almost all consumers surveyed plan to return to some form of live entertainment once it’s safe with sporting events, concerts and movie theaters topping the list.
One in three feel that live events will be more important to them post-pandemic vs. pre-pandemic and the same number are more inclined to attend as many live events as possible. One in four will cut back on spending in other areas to attend more live events.
But virtual events are also likely here to stay. Three in four consumers attended a virtual live event during COVID-19, including 90% of Gen Z and 88% of consumers who participated in a virtual event will keep doing so even when in-person entertainment returns.
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Music performances were the top virtual events consumers participated in during the pandemic, and 75% of consumers who attended virtual music festivals amidst COVID-19 will continue watching those events.
The study included 1,000 U.S. consumers age 18-54 in partnership with automated research company SightX. UTA also fielded a qualitative questionnaire among 20 trendsetting U.S. consumers age 18-54 in partnership with boutique recruiting firm Commune. Participants were selected for having engaged in multiple areas across entertainment during COVID-19, as well as their articulateness in sharing their intended entertainment habits post-pandemic.