By Carolyn Sumners
REPORT OF THE AUDIENCES AND EVALUATION STRATEGIC PLAN WORKING GROUP
Extensive evaluation of audience characteristics exists for the giant screen theater, but much less attention has been paid to the characteristics and interests of those who choose to visit planetariums. (Giant screen theaters are also facing a change in audience perception resulting in a shift away from traditional documentary films, making their landscape more fluid as well.) Information about audience composition has multiple benefits for the dome community because generally planetariums survive and thrive by maintaining and increasing attendance. Whoever they are, our audiences define us and they vote with their pocketbooks, selecting one planetarium program over another or choosing another venue/destination over the planetarium. The following recommendations for the strategic planning process focus on defining these audiences, identifying the criteria they use when deciding to visit a planetarium, and summarizing trends and themes in audience choices.