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This report summarises results for London from the first wave of The Audience Agency’s COVID-19 Monitor.

The Audience Agency's COVID-19 Cultural Participation Monitor is a nationally-representative online survey of the UK population and their experiences and responses to COVID, particularly in relation to cultural engagement. The wave 1 sample of 6,055 responses was carried out between Oct and Nov 2020.

This report draws out some headline figures and key differences for London, compared to the UK overall, or other nations and regions.

Download the London Summary Report with Charts

Summary of Findings

  • London had levels of arts and cultural engagement before COVID that were in higher than the UK average, and levels dropped less in London since March 2020 than overall (esp. for film, performing and outdoor arts), similar for creative activities (visiting a library rose slightly more).
  • As of the beginning of November, COVID appears to have had a bigger impact in London in terms of time and money available. Similar proportions faced local lockdowns and were shielding.
  • More Londoners are ready to start attending in person than UK average.

Experience During COVID

  • Londoners saw higher financial drops than across the UK as a whole: there was a higher proportion who had ‘less’ or the ‘same’ amount of money as before COVID.
  • Higher proportions of Londoners had more time.
  • Londoners had a similar proportion to the UK average facing a local lockdown or shielding.
  • A higher percentage lived in households with children.

In Person Engagement

  • 42% of Londoners had attended any arts/heritage since Mar 2020, above the overall UK average of 34%: 125 cf. to an index of 100.
  • It was notably higher than all other regions, closest to the South West (indices of 115).
  • In the 12 months before, it was 91%, above the UK average.
  • Attendance by Londoners dropped less than overall, compared to pre-March 2020 level, especially for Film at cinema or other venue, Performing arts and Outdoor arts.

Comparing creative activities before and after March 2020, four things stand out:

  • Almost all activities were done by fewer people*
  • Londoners read for pleasure at average levels before, but increased just under average after March
  • More Londoners visited libraries before March, and that proportion decreased less than elsewhere after March
  • Overall, the activity levels of Londoners has reduced less than those for the UK overall.

For other activities:

  • Most were more in London before March 2020
  • But most had fallen less in London than elsewhere since March 2020
  • The overall ranking of activities is similar for Londoners compared to the whole of the UK (although more in London ‘played a musical instrument’)

Online Engagement since March 2020

  • 44% of Londoners watched a performance/ event online since March 2020; 15% had taken part in an online activity.
  • These were above the overall UK averages of 33% and 9%: 133 and 168 cf. an index of 100.
  • In the previous 12 months 56% (cf. 45% for the UK overall) had watched anything (an index of 133), so most of the lockdown difference is specific to this period, not existing levels.

The proportion of Londoners who had paid for digital content by the following means were:

  • 23% — Bought a ticket/fixed price
  • 26% — Donated/ pay what you like
  • 14% — Part of paid membership

These were above the overall UK averages of 17%, 19%, 11%: 137, 133 and 128 cf. to an index of 100.

Future Engagement

The % who are currently ‘in play’ (i.e. who have booked, or are interested in booking) for ANY art and heritage activity of those listed (see next page) is c. 6% higher in London than the overall average.

The % ‘in play’ for each artform (i.e. who have booked, or are interested in booking) is also c. 8- 12% above the overall average. Exceptions are:

  • Visit a historic park or garden open to the public [+4%]
  • Visit a historic house, castle, heritage site [+6%]

Download the London Summary Report with Charts

More details are available from The Audience Agency on request.