Last winter we asked a representative sample of Canadians what Canadian arts and cultural activities, including professional and amateur sports, they personally considered important. We also asked whether people would be willing to pay for such activities.
Not surprisingly, pro sports were considered the most important activity when ranked by the percentage who said they were “very” important. Libraries basically tied with pro sports. On the other hand, amateur sports were considered no more important than theatre. Such things as newspapers, movies and TV documentaries also scored highly with Canadians. Newspapers are obviously not dead yet, even if readers have turned to the internet for classified ads and some other content that the paper used to feature. Fiction and non-fiction books as well as museums formed a second group of activities next in level of importance. Many of the more classical arts activities such as art galleries, theatre, painting, classical music and sculpture fared much poorer with the public and the least important activity was professional dance. Interestingly, internet video and publications (including blogs I assume), also did not rate highly compared to other arts/culture choices. Contemporary Canadian music fared only slightly better than classical music. The details are shown in the following chart:
Of course, results vary substantially within various demographic groups and readers are encouraged to request more details. Two groups of Canadians who differ from the national averages are CBC Radio 1 and Radio 2 listeners. Both Radio 1 and 2 listeners considered pro sports less important than libraries and newspapers, another positive sign for the newspaper industry and reading in general. Radio 2 listeners also ranked museums and art galleries far ahead of many other activities. Radio 1 listeners ranked classical music well down the list, whereas Radio 2 listeners put it on par with fiction and non-fiction books. Despite the gutting of much classical music on Radio 2, current listeners remain supportive of it. Even among the high-brow CBC radio audience professional dance finished dead last in importance and many other traditional art forms like painting and sculpture fared relatively poorly. The details for CBC radio listeners are shown below: