LPA Ticket Attendance and Revenue Survey 2016

Photo: Kinky Boots, Michael Cassel Group, Matthew Murphy



Ernst & Young (EY) was engaged on the instructions of Live Performance Australia (LPA) to prepare the 2016 Ticket Attendance and Revenue Survey Report ("Report"), in accordance with the contract dated 3 May 2017.

The results of EY’s work, including the assumptions and qualifications made are set out in this Report. The Report should be read in its entirety including the introductory chapters, the applicable scope of the work and any limitations. A reference to the Report includes any part of the Report. No further work has been undertaken by EY since the date of the Report to update it.

EY has prepared the Report for the benefit of LPA and has considered only the interests of LPA. EY has not been engaged to act, and has not acted, as advisor to any other party. Accordingly, EY makes no representations as to the appropriateness, accuracy or completeness of the Report for any other party's purposes.

No reliance may be placed upon the Report or any of its contents by any recipient of the Report for any purpose and any party receiving a copy of the Report must make and rely on their own enquiries in relation to the issues to which the Report relates, the contents of the Report and all matters arising from or relating to or in any way connected with the Report or its contents.

EY disclaims all responsibility to any other party for any loss or liability that the other party may suffer or incur arising from or relating to or in any way connected with the contents of the Report, the provision of the Report to the other party or the reliance upon the Report by the other party.

No claim or demand or any actions or proceedings may be brought against EY arising from or connected with the contents of the Report or the provision of the Report to any party. EY will be released and forever discharged from any such claims, demands, actions or proceedings.

EY’s liability is limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.

The information and analysis contained in this Report is based on ticketing data provided by Survey Participants as outlined in Appendix B of this Report. We have not independently verified, or accepted any responsibility or liability for independently verifying, any such information nor do we make any representation as to the accuracy or completeness of the information.

Any commercial decisions taken by LPA are not within the scope of our duty of care and in making such decisions you should take into account the limitations of the scope of our work and other factors, commercial and otherwise, of which you should be aware of from the sources other than our work.

Survey Participants

The following companies were identified by LPA and provided both gross revenue and attendance data to EY for the 2016 calendar year. Gross revenue comprised revenue sourced from paid tickets only (i.e. it excludes sponsorships); while the attendance data provided and applied in the analysis included both paid and non-paid tickets. Average ticket price data was calculated based on paid tickets only.

  1. The Adelaide Festival Centre Trust
  2. Araluen Arts Centre (NT)
  3. Arts Centre Melbourne
  4. Arts Projects Australia (WOMADelaide) SA
  5. Bluesfest
  6. Blue Room Theatre
  7. Brisbane Powerhouse
  8. Canberra Ticketing
  9. Cirque du Soleil
  10. Darwin Entertainment Centre (Ntix)
  11. FringeTIX (Adelaide Fringe)
  12. Fringe World Festival (Perth)
  13. Hayes Theatre Co
  14. Melbourne Fringe Festival
  15. Melbourne Recital Centre
  16. MONA
  17. Oztix
  18. The Ticket Group (previously Moshtix and Foxtix)
  19. Queensland Performing Arts Centre (Qtix)
  20. Sydney Opera House
  21. Ticketmaster
  22. Ticketek
  23. WA Venues and Events (Perth Concert Hall)

In respect of the Australia Council, the data was limited to the Australian Major Performing Arts Group (AMPAG) companies. For these AMPAG companies, the gross revenue includes both single ticket sales as well as subscription revenues. These were:

  1. Adelaide Symphony Orchestra
  2. The Australian Ballet
  3. Australian Brandenburg Orchestra
  4. Australian Chamber Orchestra
  5. Bangarra Dance Theatre
  6. Bell Shakespeare
  7. Belvoir
  8. Black Swan State Theatre Company
  9. Circus Oz
  10. Malthouse Theatre
  11. Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
  12. Melbourne Theatre Company
  13. Musica Viva
  14. Opera Australia
  15. Opera Queensland
  16. Orchestra Victoria
  17. Queensland Ballet
  18. Queensland Symphony Orchestra
  19. Queensland Theatre Company
  20. State Opera of South Australia
  21. State Theatre Company of South Australia
  22. Sydney Dance Company
  23. Sydney Symphony Orchestra
  24. Sydney Theatre Company
  25. Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra
  26. West Australian Ballet
  27. West Australian Opera
  28. West Australian Symphony Orchestra

Scope of work

Ernst & Young (EY) has been engaged by Live Performance Australia (LPA) to undertake the annual survey of ticket attendances and revenues for the live performance industry for the 2016 calendar year. The live performance industry encompasses performances, productions, previews and concerts that are performed in front of a live audience. The scope of our work included:

  • Coordinating the collection of the ticket sales and revenue data (national survey data) for the live performance industry in Australia from participating ticketing companies, venues, entertainment companies, event organisers and the Australia Council for the Arts on behalf of the Australian Major Performing Arts Companies (AMPAG).
  • Compiling the 2016 national survey data on an overall basis, by state and by event category.
  • Conducting an analysis of the 2016 national survey data on an overall basis (and in comparison to previous years), by state and by event category.
  • This study follows on from the previous annual ticketing studies published by LPA in partnership with EY since 2006.


For this Survey, EY compiled data from ticketing companies, self-ticketing venues, event promoters and the Australia Council for the Arts (collectively referred to in this study as the “Survey Participants”). The ticketing companies, self-ticketing venues and event promoters that provided data as part of this study are provided in the Appendix of this Report.

Ticketing data was assigned by the Survey Participants to event categories based on the guidelines established between LPA and these organisations. A description of these event categories is provided below. Further, as part of these guidelines, the ticketing companies and venues are requested to exclude from their data all events produced or presented by the AMPAG companies. This is to avoid double counting of revenue and attendance data.

Survey Participants provided data to EY directly. Confidentiality Deeds were in place between data providers and EY where requested. As such, and consistent with our agreed approach, EY did not reveal, insofar as possible, disaggregated raw survey data or event specific revenue or ticketing data to LPA.

While our scope of works did not include a detailed review of all data to determine the appropriateness of the events and event category allocations, where obvious anomalies were identified, appropriate amendments were made. Examples of such anomalies included:

  • Sporting events, talks, fashion festivals, food festivals (that do not include music line ups), workshops, cinema screenings, award nights, graduation ceremonies and art exhibitions were identified in some data sets. These were excluded as they are not considered part of the live performance industry.
  • Amateur events such as school performances, dance academy concerts and other community group performances were excluded as the scope of this Survey does not include amateur performances.
  • Music festivals included in Contemporary Music were reallocated to Festivals (Contemporary Music).
  • Comedy events included in Theatre were reallocated to the Comedy category.
Category Description 
Ballet and Dance Traditional forms, Ethnic dance, Folk dance, Ballet, Ballroom, Latin dance, Liturgical dance, Modern dance, Ballet, Tap, and Breakdancing
Children’s/Family Live entertainment for children, Interactive performances for children and Workshops for children
Circus and Physical Theatre* Physical Theatre, Circus and Burlesque
Classical Music Any of the following in classical/contemporary art (i.e. current, but not ‘pop’) style: Orchestral music, Chamber music, Choirs and choral music, Recitals, and Singing/playing. All styles of the following: Sacred music and Traditional music/ethnic music/world music
Comedy* Stand up, comedy performances (but not Comedy plays)
Contemporary Music^ All forms of the following, performed by any type of ensemble or soloist (including any ensemble/chorus/solo musicians advertising a program which is exclusively one of the following categories, e.g. ‘pop’ or ‘jazz,’ as in The Australian Jazz Orchestra): Pop, Jazz, Blues, Country, Rock, Folk, Soul, R&B, Techno, Hip hop, Rap, Heavy Metal, and Electronic Dance Music
Festivals (Multi-Category) Festivals/events which contain a number of different types of events which fall into two or more categories (e.g. Adelaide Fringe or Perth International Arts Festival). Food and music festivals are only included if a music line up is involved. Festivals/events which contain a number of events that predominately fall into the category of contemporary music (e.g. Bluesfest). Festivals which contain a number of events that are not contemporary music but fall into one category will be allocated to their respective category (e.g. comedy, theatre, dance etc.)
Festivals (Contemporary Music) Festivals/events which contain a number of events that predominately fall into the category of contemporary music (e.g. Bluesfest). Festivals that are not contemporary music but belong in one category will be allocated to their respective category (e.g. comedy, theatre, dance etc.)
Musical Theatre Staged productions which include music/drama/movement in popular form, primarily (but not limited to): Musicals and Cabarets in cabaret mode/style
Opera Theatrical presentations in which a dramatic performance is set to music in classical or contemporary art style: Opera and Operetta (includes Gilbert and Sullivan)
Special Events Unique presentations which do not fall into any other category
Theatre Script based theatre, Drama, Comedy theatre, Mime and Plays

*These categories were introduced in 2009
^This category was renamed in 2011, having been named “Non-Classical Music” in prior years


As with previous studies, data on ticket revenues and attendances for the live performance industry were limited to those provided by the Survey participants. While national in reach, the coverage of this Survey excludes events in some regional venues, as well as contract-fee performances by AMPAG companies. Small to medium companies and independent theatre are also under-represented as many of these companies either self-ticket or use ticketing service providers and venues not currently involved in the Survey. To capture these types of live performance events LPA and EY are producing a supplementary ticket attendance and revenue report for 2016 that will include data from the following organisations:

  • Australia Council for the Arts – Key Organisations (small to medium companies)
  • The Australian Performing Arts Centres Association (APACA) - regional and metropolitan venue members.

It is important to note festivals are under-reported in this Survey due to the fact that;

  • Some festivals maintain their own ticketing systems and many of these are not part of this Survey. The inclusion of ticketing data from Oztix, Bluesfest, MONA FOMA and Dark MOFO in recent years addresses some under reporting in the festival categories. However, revenue and attendance are likely to be undervalued in the category because a number of boutique festival events are self-ticketed and are not presently contributing data to the Survey. For numerous festivals, the Survey only reports paid tickets and does not include the substantial unpaid and/or unticketed components.
  • The Contemporary Music category is subject to similar limitations, as pub and club venues that self-ticket, or use ticketing companies who are not part of the Survey are not included in the results. However, data from Oztix and Moshtix (The Ticket Group) helps to decrease the level of under-reporting, as these ticketing agencies include smaller performances at certain bars and hotels. Still, this Survey provides a conservative estimate of the total ticket revenues and attendances sourced from live performance events in Australia.

As part of our analysis, the 2016 data was compared against historical data sourced directly from Live Performance Australia’s Live Performance Industry in Australia 2006 - 2015 Reports. EY acknowledges that we did not revisit the data collection and allocation methodology used in 2006 and 2007 as the historical data used to prepare the reports in these years was not provided in a disaggregated format. As such, EY was unable to query the accuracy of the allocation of events in these years.

Therefore caution should be applied when comparing data from 2008 to 2016 periods with that of data from previous years as inconsistencies may exist in the data collection methodology between the surveys performed in these seven years, and for previous surveys (where more detailed event specific information was not requested).

Changes in the 2016 Ticketing Survey compared to prior years

We have made the following changes to the Survey in 2016 when compared to prior years:

  • The inclusion of data from the Melbourne Fringe Festival, impacting the category Festivals (Multi-Category).
  • Inclusion of data from WA Venues and Events. This company predominately tickets events for Perth Concert Hall, which was formerly ticketed by Ticketek until November 2015. Perth Concert Hall presents events across all categories.
  • Inclusion of data from The Blue Room Theatre, an independent theatre which predominantly presents small scale theatre productions.
  • The category Festivals (Single-Category) was renamed Festivals (Contemporary Music) to provide greater clarity to the definition. It is now defined as festivals/events which contain a number of events that predominately fall into the category of contemporary music (e.g. Bluesfest).