Digital cultural experiences still appeal, despite the return of real-world events

·2-min read
According to a recent survey, American, Italian and Spanish respondents show the most interest in virtual museum visits.

Covid-19, with its restrictions and lockdowns, pushed the world of culture to embrace all things digital. In fact, audiences were flooded with a wave of digital cultural content, until the sector's institutions could once again open their doors. However, according to a new study, some seem to have taken a liking to these alternative ways of experiencing culture.

Virtual exhibitions , guided tours on TikTok, works in augmented reality... Digital technology is taking an ever-growing place in culture. But are art lovers truly finding pleasure in these experiences? The Dynata market research firm surveyed 11,000 people from a dozen countries worldwide, including the United States, the United Kingdom and France, to determine the relationship they have with this digital cultural offer.

Nearly three in 10 respondents (28%) say they are "extremely" or "very" interested in the possibility of visiting a museum or art gallery virtually. American, Italian and Spanish respondents are the most curious about this immersive format. But this is not the case for the Japanese people polled, the majority of whom are not interested in discovering museum institutions and works of art via the internet.

Museums are not the only ones to turn to digital technology. Performing arts institutions are increasingly using the medium to present their creations to the biggest possible audience. London's National Theatre , for example, posted some of its performances on YouTube for 16 weeks before making them available on demand. The result: more than 15 million views in four months. However, the public seems to have turned away from these virtual performances. Some 45% of the people interviewed by Dynata say they are not interested, or only slightly interested, in seeing a play, an opera or a dance performance online. Only Chinese respondents showed real interest in this kind of cultural production.

See you in the metaverse?

Virtual concerts are more popular. Most respondents (51%) would like to attend one of these musical performances, even though real-world concerts and tours have resumed worldwide. However, the Austrians and the French are not particularly fond of them. Some 29% and 2% of respondents respectively are not at all interested in this kind of option. While virtual concerts sprung up during lockdown, they have since been transformed into sleek and professional global "experiences."

This format offers a glimpse of what the musical experience could look like in the metaverse. Many industry players are working hard to shape this digital space of the future, where you could enjoy a karaoke session with colleagues or attend huge concerts. But are music lovers ready to follow them? Nothing is less certain. Young Americans still don't see much interest in the metaverse , according to a survey by the investment bank Piper Sandler. Still, virtual cultural experiences could help them get used to the idea.

Caroline Drzewinski

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