Exploring the Impact of Virtual Programs on Revenue Generation at Cultural Organizations

Wednesday, April 5th: 11:15am - 12:30pm


Founder @ Cuseum

Professional Forum Abstract


Since March 2020, digital programming has become of critical importance to museums. With this, many new questions have emerged: how many organizations are monetizing digital programs? What types of virtual initiatives are bringing in the most revenue? What is the return on investment for digital programs? To understand how museums are generating revenue through virtual programs and the long-term outlook of digital, this session will share the results of a 2021 study of 500+ cultural professionals.

In 2020 and 2021, we witnessed an explosion of virtual programming in the cultural sector, including many experiments and attempts to monetize virtual programming. As the world returns to “normalcy” in many ways, the continued relevance of online programs – both for audience engagement and revenue generation – is a big question mark. With this in mind, this session will address the outcomes and future of revenue generation through virtual programming.

The basis for this session is a 2021 survey of over 500 cultural professionals. The survey participants represent every size and class of cultural organization, with operating budgets ranging from under $1 million to over $100 million, and including art museums, children’s museums, history museums, science centers, parks, gardens, zoos, and aquariums. The survey respondents also represent every type of museum department, including education, curatorial, marketing, IT, and development.

This session is ideal for professionals in digital engagement, programming, events, and education who have been involved in (or would like to become involved) in the monetization of virtual programming. It is also relevant for those overseeing strategy and finance.

Learning Objectives

After attending this session, participants will:

Understand six different modes of virtual programming deployed by cultural organizations, and which have been most effective; 

Be able to assess which types of digital programmi

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