Performing Arts 2.0: How Digital Program Books Support the New Hybrid Approach

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the hybrid trend in performing arts. Even before the pandemic, many arts organizations were experimenting with ways to engage audiences digitally. Organizations had to adapt quickly when the virus made it unsafe for people to gather in person. For many, that meant moving toward a new “hybrid” model that takes advantage of digital and in-person engagement.

A 2021 study from Culture Track reveals more about what audiences expect from performing arts organizations. Not surprisingly, many people still expect online access even though they want the option to experience live events. Adopting digital program books can help your group meet those expectations.

What Is the New Hybrid Normal for Performing Arts?

Like many areas of life, performing arts has become a hybrid of in-person and digital events. When Culture Track asked how people prefer to engage in arts and cultural activities, 65% said they prefer in-person attendance. About 9% of respondents would rather engage online. Up to 26% say they don’t have a strong preference, so they make decisions based on the specific event.

What Do Hybrid Performing Arts Events Look Like?

Hybrid performing arts events let audience members decide how they want to experience it. Some people will choose to see your performances in person. Others prefer viewing from home on their televisions, computers, and smartphones.

Expectations shift when you move to a hybrid concept. The Culture Track study shows that

  • Most people (68%) believe digital activities shouldn’t charge audiences money.
  • 62% think organizations should make digital events accessible worldwide.
  • Nearly half of respondents think online activities should include social components that encourage participants to connect with each other.

Putting your program book in the cloud doesn’t meet all these expectations, but it helps. Once you publish your online book, you can use it to generate revenue, expand the event’s reach, and promote social media engagement.

Performing Arts Can Thrive While Protecting the Environment

Performing arts organizations influence the way their audiences perceive the world, and that gives successful groups a lot of power and responsibility. Audience members agree that performing arts organizations need to address cultural issues. In fact, 31% of Culture Track’s survey respondents believe arts and cultural organizations should address climate change and natural disasters.

It isn’t enough to include climate change awareness in your events. You need to put pro-environment messages into practice. Digital program books, for example, show your organization cares about protecting the environment. Many groups can cut their carbon emissions by 94% when they switch from print to digital books.

Given the growing importance of hybrid experience, you might want to print smaller batches of short programs that help audiences connect with digital content. The combined strategy can

  • Lower your production costs.
  • Save time designing and publishing materials.
  • Create immersive experiences.
  • Generate more revenue through sales.

The hybrid model benefits audiences, artists, and organizations while protecting the environment.

Get Started With Audience Access

Audience Access makes it easy and affordable for your organization to adopt a hybrid performance model. Start an account today to experience a free version of the software or take advantage of the robust features paid memberships offer.

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