UTA IQ Releases Study Of Entertainment Trends In COVID-19 Era, Finds Hope For Live

Globe Theater marquee
– Globe Theater marquee

United Talent Agency commissioned a consumer study on “Media and Entertainment in the Time of Coronavirus” that found, among other things, that 90% of concertgoers have sought to replace the live music experience while under “safer at home” restrictions in the time of COVID-19.

UTA IQ, the agency’s data and analytics group, teamed with consumer research platform SightX to produce the 56-page study that surveyed nearly 1,100 respondents in the randomized study.

“Our focus on entertainment and media is reflective of UTA’s core mission in support of artists, performers, creators, influencers, and consumer brands of every stripe, and to inform our agents, clients, partners, and the entertainment industry at large,” the agency says in the study’s overview. “But we also sought to put numbers and facts behind what we believe inherently: that entertainment content emerges as a critical beacon in dark times. It is indeed an ‘essential service’ when factoring the mental and emotional toll that social isolation has taken on nearly every American.”

The study returns significant takeaways about the live music landscape, revealing a strong shift toward a wide array of virtual events, with more than one in four saying they’ve already attended a virtual concert, movie night or watch party, fitness class, masterclass or university course and/or a virtual event or conference.

A majority, 55%, of live music fans say they are streaming catalogue content from their favorites and 48% of those say the have watched footage of old concerts and other performances. Particularly among the 25-and-under demographic and women, 49% of concertgoers have watched content on social media to fill the void.

Forty-six percent have turned to livestreaming, and 28% of those have paid to watch a livestream. Twenty-five percent of the general population have already participated in a virtual/livestreamed concert, and 37% of the general population say they plan to participate in a livestreamed concert.

Significantly, approximately seven in 10 concert attendees who participated in a livestream concert during this time of social distancing say they plan to continue doing so even after live music events return.

One finding of concern to the live business is that while most concert-going consumers say they miss live, fewer than half say they plan to go to a concert or music festival of any size within the first month of eased stay-at-home regulations.

But it also could signal a time of opportunity. “This hunger for live music, coupled with hesitation regarding future concert-going, sets the stage for accelerated innovation in live music,” the study finds.

Respondents, perhaps unsurprisingly, are seeking out comedy and that bodes well for comedians returning to live, and should serve as a guidepost for those considering live streaming events in the meantime, with 40% of respondents saying they would like to see livestreamed, stand-up comedy.  

Among the study’s conclusions: “Prior to COVID-19, the appetite for virtual concerts was limited. Now, optimizing the virtual experience may be critical to the future of live music. Music tech companies have quickly begun to legitimize the livestream business through ticketing and offering community-based features that hope to replicate the shared experience of attending a live event.”