The subscription and membership model is not dead.
Earned revenue from subscriptions and memberships remained consistent relative to expenses over time from 2016 to 2018.
Expenses Covered By Membership and Subscription Revenue, 2016 -2018 Trends by Sector
- Consistently, Theatre, Opera, and Orchestras cover more expenses with revenue from subscriptions and memberships whereas Arts Education and Community organizations have the lowest earned relational revenue index annually.
- The earned relational revenue index is quite consistent year over year for most sectors, as reflected by the relatively flat trend lines. Only three sectors saw more than a 1% change over the three-year period: declines for Theatre and Symphony Orchestras and an increase for General Performing Arts organizations.
- General Performing Arts, PACs, and Community-based organizations saw growth in subscription and membership revenue that outpaced inflation over time. General Performing Arts had the highest growth in relational revenue at 36%. One organization in that sector skewed average relational revenue and expenses high, but eliminating it from the analyses does not substantially change the direction or magnitude of the trend.
- Subscription and membership revenue declined over time in the Art Museum, Music, Orchestra, and Theatre sectors. Symphony Orchestras had the largest drop in relational revenue at 11.4%.
- Earned relational revenue growth fell short of inflation in the Arts Education, Dance, Opera, and Other Museums sectors.
- In inflation-adjusted figures, all sectors saw growth in total expenses except Symphony Orchestras, Art Museums, Other Museums, and General Performing Arts organizations.
- For Art Museums, the drop in relational revenue was met with a higher drop in total expenses leading to the positive growth in earned relational revenue index. One organization in that sector skewed average relational revenue and expenses high, but eliminating it from the analyses does not substantially change the direction or magnitude of the trend.