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AVIXA POV

Setting The Stage, Delivering The Experience Tracking commercial AV’s role in live performances. By Sean Wargo AVIXA

W

e live in the experience economy—at least so say the soothsayers of trends. In its simplest form, this means consumers are buying into holistic experiences rather than just isolated transactions. Or, rather than just buying the burger, they want not only the fries to go with it, but also the entire meal and ever ything wrapped around it. (And that includes the social experience of talking about it after ward!) For an industr y like commercial AV that is based on creating a compelling value proposition, this is money in the bank. Consumers’ willingness to spend up to get a more engaging total experience—whether in a store, at a show or at any other venue—suggests more revenue potential for the business. In theor y, this, in turn, increases improvement-project scopes and budgets as the decision-makers seek to ensure an exceptional experience. Integrators then benefit as these companies turn to the experts so as best to align technology with their needs. The question is, does this happen in reality? According to recent research from AVIXA, the answer is a mixed bag. AVIXA recently turned its research

28 Sound & Communications May 2019

lens on the live-performance sector, as another volume in its growing series of Market Opportunity Analysis Reports (MOAR). Live performances are one part of the broader live-events market, and they often represent temporar y installations of AV hardware for touring shows across a diverse set of venues. Thus, leasing and support ser vice are common aspects of the AV provider solutions for the space. Given the experience-related objectives of performances, one might expect show producers to be investing greater amounts in the various components of a show, one of which is AV in all its forms. Audio, lighting, video, staging, environmental effects, audience response, and even virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) can all play a role. Thus, the goal of AVIXA’s research was to determine how performances are faring, business-wise, and what that means for providers that ser ve them. Here’s a bit of what was learned: • For starters, live performance is faring quite well, and the experience economy does appear to be in full effect. Ticket-sales data from Pollstar and others suggest concerts and live theater generate more than $10 billion each year in the US. Furthermore, average ticket prices are rising, with consumers showing increasing willingness to spend more for a show. • And yet, AVIXA’s forecasts predict that live events as an AV solution area, of which performances are a part, will decline from $10.2 billion in 2018 to $8.6 billion in 2023 in the Americas. What’s going on here is a fundamental shift in the investment for entertainment facilities, with more expected to be spent on more permanent integrated solutions, rather than temporar y ones, by live-events producers. This is further supported by the data from the producers themselves. • According to the sur veys among the producer community, many of the resources required for technology management and usage exist in-house. Furthermore, their level of investment in owned hardware (as compared to leased hardware) is increasing. The resource issue even crosses into the mid-to-late phases of show production, when AV is installed and operated—places where outsourcing has often occurred. Unlike traditional production, though, the good news for AV solutions providers is they are more often involved in the upfront scoping of a show’s hardware needs. (continued on page 110)

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