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Ballet audience disposition and media preference


Bori NA(main author), Yeorang NA(co-author)

Bori NA is a ph.D candidate for Public Administration in Seoul National University, South Korea. Her interest is in cultural policies and organizational management of artistic institutions. 
Yeorang NA is a graduate student at University of Rey Juan Carlos in Spain. She writes critique on theatre plays, and has much interest in theatre choreography.



motivation for attending, dance education, social network, web page, recommendation


Summary Text


Ballet audience with different motives and dance education experience showed diverse preferences towards media.



In the sea of information, one should be clear with when, where, who perform what – if he or she wants to see the performance. Collecting information is quite important as it is the very first experience of the performance. People who show consistent interest in performing arts, or audiences of performance televised or broadcasted had high chance of going to the theater(Wen, Cheng, 2013). Performing arts institutions share information in means which connect with potential spectators.

Arts institutions use social networks vigorously(Hausmann, 2012). Same information can be delivered in many ways by different media. Some studies claim that media preference is varied by personal disposition: that media preference is made different by personality(Hall, 2005) or by personal background(van Rees, van Eijck, 2003).

The audience is a critical subject in theatre and performing arts, but the route for collecting information by the audience has not received the interest that it deserves. If media preference is uncovered, arts market will be able to classify audience in details and allow art companies to know which media to utilize by contents, eventually sustaining and expanding its audience.

The study would like to investigate the disposition and media preference of ballet audience. Knowledge on audience and their media usage will let art companies set appropriate marketing strategies to maintain and enlarge future audience.

-        Research Question and Hypotheses

How is preferred media different by disposition of individual spectators? Audience may have various motivation for attending, such as by psychologic(Swanson et al, 2008) and demographic(Hager, Winkler, 2012) traits. In such means, motivation can be understood as personal disposition, which is built by education. It is widely known that arts education form propensity for taste and attitude(Bourdieu, 1985). This disposition of audience may influence the usage of media when they collect information on arts events. The first contact would have come by chance, but additional contact is likely to have been intentional. Considering the order of contact, the study would like to compare the media preference. Thus, hypotheses could be presented as following:

Ha. Ballet audience with different motivations for attending and dance education experience would prefer different media at the first contact.

Hb. Ballet audience with different motivations for attending and dance education experience would prefer different media at the additional contact.


Methodology and Methods

The study used data from audience survey of two ballet performances by Korean National Ballet, after performing hypothesis test using logistic regression. The surveys were conducted online in April and August, and was appended for analysis.

Web pages, social networks, word of mouth from friends and families are used as dependent variables. These three represent over 90% of respondents. Contact order is respected. Motivation for attending and dance education experience is used as independent variable. Six motives for attending the performance is analyzed in dummy. The motives are: Korean National Ballet enthusiast, interest in ballet, fan of dancers, recommendation, price of ticket, dance education. In survey, specialists in dance, amateur dancers and people who took dance class as a hobby are regarded as the ones with dance education experience.


Analysis of Results

-       Important hypothesis result

It describes audiences with different disposition use different media in the first contact with information. Logistic regression result illustrates that under the control of gender, age and type of performance, it is likely to increase the odds of making first contact with social network when one is a fan of dancers(2.502**) and has dance education experience(1.818**). [1] On the other hand, people who don’t have dance education experience(0.568**) and not interested in recommendation(0.268**) used web page, while ones who listen to friends or families(8.838***) had first contact with information through recommendation.

However, additional contact with information do not have the same results with the former analysis, as model lost gender influence and different motives were relevant with the media. Inclination of using media show no consistency, raising rational question of “choose media by the information”. Those with interest in ballet(1.937*) and fan of dancers(2.878***) had high odds of using social network to collect additional information. Web page is used when people are indifferent in dancers(0.521*) or with no dance education experience(0.629*). The odds is high for recommended audience to earn extra information from acquaintance(5.134**).

-       Discussion

People with different motives and dance education experience used different media to get information. It is interesting that social media is not occupied by young people. It seems like people use social networks if they want to learn more about individual dancers, which seems appropriate. Social network contents preference from the survey used in the study reveals that people want to see the contents of dancers the most(18.4%). Those who have dance education experience show consistent preference in social network, which would be explained by their tendency to use social network to share knowledge of dance education or grant easier access to dance performances.

The study implications recommend arts institutions to provide various interesting contents by media features. As prosumers, dance audience chose precision and reciprocal action as key service factor of social network(Park and Cho, 2016). If the key service factor meant the instant share of flawless and desired information, daily practice of dancers and constant feedback would be a friendly step towards audience. Web page users may get more information when they connect to buy tickets. They showed non-preference more clearly than preference, therefore organizing balanced information on dance performance would serve them better. Value creation would take place when all media used together(A. Padilla-Meléndez, A.R. del Águila-Obra, 2013). Though it is not clear whether audience who rely on word of mouth utilize other media, they show quite different characteristics from other media users. Word of mouth from friends or families play important role in inviting arts audience(Geissler et al, 2006). Uncertainty is high in service goods like performance arts, as these are intangible, instant and should be experienced to decide. That is when people turn to information(Stiglitz, 2000). Latent audience trust in esthetic experience of friends and families and earn information(Hausmann, 2012). Thus, arts institutions should improve loyalty and produce satisfactory performances for audience.



Audience study is very important as it reveals characteristics of the audience. The study would like to fill in the gap by looking at the media used for information and its preferences by survey. The study has a point in considering contact order, which is uneasy to find unless questioned by survey. The study is distinguished from others in segmenting audience by media preference.

The study has limits because data used is lack in variables about the behaviors of audiences regarding numbers of attending many genres of performances. We expect new implications on behaviors of audiences and dance education with more observations and detailed variables in future works.


Bibliographic References

Bourdieu, Pierre. (1984). Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press

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Hager, Mark A. Winkler, MK. (2012). Motivational and demographic factors for performing arts attendance across place and form. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly. 41(3). 474 –496

Hall, Alice. (2005). Audience Personality and the Selection of Media and Media Genres. Media Psychology. 7(4). 377-398

Hausmann. (2012). Creating ‘buzz’ : opportunities and limitations of social media for arts institutions and their viral marketing. International Journal of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Marketing. 17. 173–182

Padilla-Meléndez, A. Del Águila-Obra, A.R. (2013). Web and social media usage by museums: online value creation, International Journal of Information Management. 33. 892–898

Park, Sun-Woo․ Cho, Chul-Ho. (2016). An Effect of SNS Performance and Arts Information Service Quality on Initial Trust and Prosumer Activity: Focusing on Dance Performance. Journal of Korean Service Quality Management. The Korean Society for Quality Management. 44(1). 199-214.

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Swanson, Scott R. Davis, J. Charlene. Zhao, Yushan. (2008). Art for art’s sake? An examination of motives for arts performance attendance, Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly. 37(2). 300-323

Van Rees, Kees. Van Eijck, Koen. (2003). Media repertoires of selective audiences: the impact of status, gender, and age on media use. Poetics. 31. 465-490

Wen, Wei-jen. Cheng, Tsung-chi. (2013). Performing arts attendance in Taiwan: who and how often?. Journal of Cultural Economics. 37. 309–325


[1] Odds ratio from logistic regression, * represents p<0.05, ** p<0.01, ***p<0.001”