November 7, 2023

The 2022 Cultural Consumption Barometer. Cultural participation and democratic perspectives was launched during the National Theatre Festival

Press Release - October 30th, 2023

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  • Cultural Consumption Barometer

On Sunday, October 29th, 2023, the National Institute for Cultural Research and Training – Culturadata launched the The 2022 Cultural Consumption Barometer. Cultural participation and democratic perspectives at ARCUB – Column Hall, during the National Theatre Festival (FNT).

The 2022 Cultural Consumption Barometer assesses the changes registered at the level of cultural consumption practices, emphasising its particularities among young people, and analyses the relationship between culture and democracy, for the first time in Romania.

„The Cultural Consumption Barometer is an important tool for the Ministry of Culture, especially in terms of taking evidence-based decisions to help develop policies and measures that we can promote, in the long run, for each cultural sector”, conveyed by Raluca Turcan, Minister of Culture, in her message.

„I particularly appreciate the fact that research analyses, in a pioneering approach, the relationship between culture and democracy, which is all the more important in the international context we are living now. Culture and democracy are essential pillars of a vibrant society and feed on each other” said Janina Sitaru, Secretary of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

„Today, we are all witnessing a milestone. A coming-of-age celebration of the most important research study that measures the level of cultural consumption in Romania, the Cultural Consumption Barometer, a publication that has gained a reputation over time for its rigorous research and unique approach to cultural participation. The Barometer is returning after the pandemic period when we replaced it with a study that measured cultural participation intentions. However, we have observed that trends persist, so we are doing somewhat better than in 2021; we are on an upward trend, but we have not yet reached the level of consumption in 2019″ mentioned PhD Assoc. Prof. Carmen Croitoru, General Director of Culturadata, coordinator and co-author of the study.

At the level of cultural consumption in the public space, the effects of the pandemic are felt considerably, the only increase registered being 14 percentage points for visiting historical monuments or archaeological sites, at least once a year (59% of respondents in 2022, compared to 45% in 2019). The decreases reported in public cultural consumption are: participation in theatre performances from 29% in 2019, to 20% in 2022, watching movies at the cinema from 35% in 2019, at 26% in 2022, going to the library to read / borrow books from 28% in 2019, to 17% in 2022, visiting museums, exhibitions or art galleries from 38% in 2019 to 30% in 2022.

„I think that in order to advance in what we set out to do, starting right from the concept of a cultural event, we need tools, studies such as the Cultural Consumption Barometer. Through the data it provides to us, Culturadata contributes to correlating our approaches with public policies and strategies” said PhD Prof. Aura Corbeanu, the Vice President of the Romanian Theatre Union (UNITER) and Executive Director of FNT.

The results of the Barometer show that, in terms of cultural activities in the private space carried out by respondents, at least once a year, there is an increase in audio-visual practices: music consumption increased to 96% in 2022, compared to 85% in 2019, watching TV programs increased to 97% in 2022, compared to 92% in 2019.

The Barometer also shows an increase in internet use to 85% in 2022, compared to 70% in 2019, and the percentage of use of social networks reached 88% in 2022, compared to 79% in 2019. Among the activities practiced on the internet, there were a series of significant increases: 26% of respondents bought books, CDs, theatre tickets, tickets to cultural events, etc. in 2022, compared to 16% in 2019, 51% of respondents watched movies or TV programs broadcast online (Netflix, HBO GO, Voyo etc.) compared to 27% in 2019, and visiting the websites of museums, libraries, festivals, theatres, pages of cultural events increased to 40% in 2022, from 12% in 2019.

Book consumption data indicate that in 2022, 56% of respondents read books in printed format and 28% in electronic format.

„The Cultural Consumption Barometer is a highly sociological product and is extremely important for all people of culture to better understand the relationships between them and the rest of society – how society could be called to culture,” said PhD Prof. Andrei Ţăranu, Vice-dean of the Faculty of Political Sciences, National School of Political and Administrative Studies (SNSPA).

According to the Barometer, 94% of young respondents, aged between 18-35 years, use the internet daily. This segment of young audiences, who spend a lot of time on the internet, shows a lower level of tolerance, it is almost uninterested in social or civic participation and is less tolerant of certain social categories.

Social trust is one of the key dimensions of democratic participation. Respondents have the greatest confidence in family members (91%), in people they know personally (56%) and in the local community (38%) neighbourhood, village or township. The results indicate that people participating in public and non-public cultural activities show a higher level of social trust compared to all categories of data subjects.

Young people, low-educated people and low-income people are more likely not to trust the information presented in the media. Data on the perception of the media show that media organizations face a very large deficit of trust. For example, 75% of respondents either have little or no confidence in the news distributed through any of the information channels. The highest level of trust seems to be attributed to news published on social networks and distributed by relatives or friends: 28% of respondents say they have confidence or a lot of confidence in such information.

The Barometer also highlights the link between respondents’ preference for freedom and security, as democratic values, and non-public cultural consumption. Overall, study data indicate a substantial preference for safety (68%), to the detriment of freedom (32%). It is important to note that those respondents who have opted for safety are rather loyal consumers of TV shows and programs, and those who have expressed their preferences in favour of freedom have as their main source of information the written press (newspapers, magazines).

„The Cultural Consumption Barometer is an essential tool for elaborating public policies because few of the policies carried out in Romania can benefit from this sociological approach, they can use empirical data, either to measure the impact or to assess the change on the basis of indicators measured at different stages,” said Dan Jurcan, Research Director of the Romanian Institute for Evaluation and Strategy (IRES).

The English translation of the 2022 Cultural Consumption Barometer in digital format will be available soon.

The 2022 Cultural Consumption Barometer is based on an opinion poll conducted by the Romanian Institute for Evaluation and Strategy (IRES), between September – October 2022, on a nationally representative sample for the population aged 18 and over. The approximate volume of the sample is 1035 persons, with a maximum error of + / -3.1%, at a confidence level of 95%. The application of the questionnaires was made by the CATI method, on a simple, random sample, by generating telephone numbers with valid format within the Romanian territory, by the RDD method (Random Digit Dialling).

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