Cultural consumption in the UK - data and analysis from the six month study

04 June 2021

From the beginning of the pandemic, the PEC wanted to measure the impact of COVID-19 on the creative industries. As part of this mission, we set up a partnership with the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) and the research agency AudienceNet to follow a cohort of 1,000 consumers over a six-week period of time, and track their consumption of digital media including music, film, TV, video games, books, and even filmed performances of theatre and online museum collections. We wanted to find out if there were changes in consumption rates as people spent more time at home during lockdown.

The initial survey lasted from 9th April - 24th May. This period was then extended through July, August and September 2020, as we recognised how useful the data was, and that it was generating some interesting results.

You can find all of the reports and blogs we have published as part of this project, as well as the data sets themselves, below.

Photo by Alexander Dummer on Unsplash

Summary of the project

The PEC partnered with the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) to commission AudienceNet to conduct a weekly survey to find out how people were engaging with digital cultural content, such as streaming music or watching theatre online.

The project was initially planned to run for 6 weeks between 9th April to 24th May 2020. This was then extended to a further three waves of surveys to cover July, August and September 2020.

The first part of the survey, referred to as waves 1 to 6, was carried out over six weeks from April to May, when the UK was in a full national lockdown. The national lockdown ended on July the 4th, although local lockdown restrictions remained in some places, such as Leicester. There were then three further waves of the study, referred to as 7-9, carried out in July, August and September, during which some parts of the UK were in local lockdowns at various points.

All the reports sorted by date

The final summary and insights report

The reports from every week of the survey:

Key findings
  1. Long term trends, such as the decline in downloading in favour of streaming content, were accelerated.
  2. People in local lockdown areas watched more television and films than those in less restricted areas.
  3. The end of lockdown saw a considerable uptick in physical purchases of music and video games, indicating that the retail experience is still important to many people.
  4. The relaxing of lockdown measures hasn’t had a noticeable effect on people’s reported wellbeing.
  5. There was an increase in those who are working inside the home and those who say they are working from home more.