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Insights: Cherry-picking Culture Track 2014

Culture Track, conducted by the arts advertising/marketing firm LaPlaca Cohen, came out with its 2014 Culture Track the other day, the first since 2011. As usual, the survey — said to be the largest national tracking study of the attitudes, motives and behaviors of culturally active audiences in the U.S. — answered questions, raised some more, and included some puzzling responses about participation in the cultural sector.

CT_logo_2I picked out a few things for comment:

  • The eldest and youngest — the pre-war and millennial generations — participate most frequently, which rings true since the first group has the most time and the second the fewest obligations, along with a need for activity. But a few comments: If, millennials consume culture largely to escape stress (as 73% do), why do cultural institutions keep offering them very active, participatory “experiences”? Much of this programming seems to be driving away the other most active group — the pre-war generation. 77% of them think that the programming has an unappealing topic that’s  not intended for them.
  • Cell phones, and apps, are less an important means of communications with people than they are a means for cultural consumers to take photographs and tell people they were there. Only 15% use a cultural organization’s app — so let’s make sure the money spent developing apps is proportional to their use and worth it.
  • Loyalty to both visual arts and performing arts groups is down: 15% have memberships and 10% have subscriptions, down from 26% and 23% respectively in 2011. That’s not a shock, unfortunately. More than anything else for museums, people are members because they like the museum — not because they want to skip the line or get discounts. That’s surprising — were respondents being truthful? It makes me wonder.
  • While cost, logistics, the inability to find a companion to go with, and the lack of time keep people away more, 28% now say “inconvenient hours” are a problem, versus 20% in 2011 — need I say more? (I’ve already said it here many times.)

There’s much more in Culture Track. You can see it by clicking on the link in my first paragraph, above.


  1. Tom Freudenheim says

    The inflexibility of museum visiting hours may be the single most archaic aspect of how they operate. Extended hours are always presented as a special concession, rather than as a normal response to availability of potential visitors. It’s based on the old retailing model – when some stores (those who really wanted customers) were open Thursday evenings. Old retailing has been dead for a long time……

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