2015 Survey on Performing Arts in South Korea (2014 data)


2015 Survey on Performing Arts in South Korea (2014 data)

The 2015 Study on the State of the Performing Arts in South Korea (based on 2014 data) investigated the activities from June to September of various performing arts entities. In-person interviews and written surveys were conducted with 2,284 performance groups, 1,034 venues and 245 administrative institutions. Assuming a 95 percent confidence interval, the margin of error is around ±3.4 percent for venues and ±2.7 percent for performing arts groups.       

◈ Period of Investigation
- performance groups: June 24 - September 25, 2015
- venues: June 24 - November 30, 2015

◈ Method of Investigation: in-person interviews and literature investigation

◈ Study Subjects
- performance groups: 2,284 (total of 928 valid responses/population and sample)
- venues: 1,034 (total of 554 valid responses/population and sample)
- public administrative institutions: 245 

◈ Areas Investigated
- performing arts administrations: standard conditions, budget status in performing arts
- venues and performance groups: basic conditions, standard conditions, human resources, financial status, performance status

◈ Overseer of Investigation: Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism

◈ Conductor: Korea Arts Management Service (KAMS)

The size of the Korean performing arts market in 2014 was determined to be KRW 759.3 billion based on the combined revenues of venues and performance groups. This is a 6.5 percent increase from the market in 2012, which was KRW 713 billion, but the market’s overall growth rate diminished by 23.3 percentage points.
According to the study, venues recorded revenues of KRW 368.9 billion, a 10.9 percent decrease from the previous year. This drop is attributed to decreases in profits in the Daehangno area and among other private venues. Conversely, revenue for performance groups stood at KRW 390.4 billion, a 16.2 percent increase from 2012, which is attributed to increased profits of private production companies. 

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▲ Revenue growth of Performance Venues and Groups (2007-2014)

Consumer Market Shrinks, Despite Quantitative Index Growth

There were 1,034 performance venues and 1,280 theaters in 2014, an increase of 5.1 percent and 4.3 percent, respectively, from the previous year. And performance venues employed 12,669 people, a 7.9 percent increase from the previous year. There were 2,284 performance groups in 2014, an increase of 8.3 percent from 2012, and they employed 55,858, an increase of 9.9 percent.
In 2014, theaters nationwide held a total of 47,489 productions, with a total of 200,228 individual performances, an increase of 5.1 percent and 0.9 percent, respectively, from the previous year. Also, performance groups held 45,308 productions, recording 119,968 individual performances, an increase of 16 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively, from 2012.

Conversely, the number of audiences totaled 37,667,7371), a five percent decrease from the previous year. Despite the growth in quantitative indices for venues, performance groups, productions, and individual performances, the Sinking of Sewol Ferry Tragedy2) in early 2014, the World Cup in Brazil, and other domestic and international issues contributed to an overall decline in the number of theatergoers, an indication that the consumer market for performing arts has yet to fully recover.

1) Calculated by performance venue
2) The sinking of Sewol Ferry occurred on the morning of April 16, 2014, en route from Incheon to Jeju in South Korea. (Wikipedia)

Climax by the Yasmeen Godder Company ©Yasmeen Godder Company

▲ Growth of Performance Venues (2007-2014)

Market Growth Led by Private Production Companies  

This reduction in consumption resulted in decreased profits for private venues. Public venues, on the other hand, enjoyed a 1.5 percent increase in revenue compared to the previous year, as they are relatively less affected by economic fluctuations. However, as private venues are centered on ticket sales, their revenues decreased by 20.6 percent.
 As private production companies account for 63.5 percent of the revenues seen by performance groups, they can be identified as the main leaders of market growth. Plays and musicals accounted for 21.7 percent of profits, the most in the industry, which can largely be attributed to improved business practices of large companies with yearly revenues of more than KRW 10 billion.

Climax by the Yasmeen Godder Company ©Yasmeen Godder Company

▲ Performance venue revenues (specific data, 2014)

3) Total revenues garnered from admission fees from organization and production of performances
4) Sales related to performances (i.e. related programs)
5) Revenues from exhibitions, education workshops, lectures, and other projects related to the culture industry

Climax by the Yasmeen Godder Company ©Yasmeen Godder Company

▲ Performance group revenues (specific data, 2014)

6) Royalties, joint production revenues
7) Total revenues from admission fees charged by performance groups
8) Program sales, organization and promotion sales
9) Revenues from workshops, seminars, educational programs, and other complementary programs

Steps to Enlarge the Performing Arts Market Pie

The key results of the study can be summarized by the terms “oversupply” and “excess demand,” which have been repeatedly referenced for several continuous years. At this point, the necessary policies and initiatives to overcome stunted growth rates should become clear. Studies thus far have used basic objective data on the performing arts market. Policymakers, failing to discern larger trends, have utilized these studies as standard data. As most available data exclusively concerns the suppliers, the customer analyses necessary for expanding the market pie have been lacking.

The 2016 market study will be redesigned to provide information necessary for on-site improvements and new policy direction. First and foremost, it will be necessary to obtain data concerning ticket sales, performing arts industry revenues, and indirect revenues, as well as long-term revenues from related industries, in order to expand the study’s scope to include the broader market, not just specific industries. Furthermore, analyses of economic fluctuations in the industry in the relevant year will be conducted to provide timely data on consumers and trends, which would aid market agents in adjusting their business strategies. This study and others in the future will hopefully serve as a barometer to help the arts strengthen its industrial economic foundations.       



Hae Minyoung Manager of Research & Evaluation,  Creative Arts Office, KAMS(Korea Arts Management Service )
Hae Minyoung Manager of Research & Evaluation, Creative Arts Office, KAMS(Korea Arts Management Service )
Hae Minyoung studied Chinese language and literature and policy sciences and headed the Performing Arts Market in Seoul (PAMS) under KAMS from 2007 to 2011. She currently directs market investigations and field studies for KAMS Creative Arts Office.