Basic Cultural Impacts of Light Festivals and Events

Image making impacts are about assessing the events’ international and national profile and media coverage, but also resident and visitor perceptions.

Estimating Publicity

In assessing media impact of light events and festivals, there are a number of variables which need to be evaluated, including:

  • Fit with message (i.e. how good is the event likely to be at selling the desired message)
  • Volume and type (i.e. how much coverage the event can achieve in each target territory. The type refers to the kind of coverage that is anticipated)
  • Tone (i.e. whether the coverage was positive, negative or neutral)

These variables will need to be evaluated both pre-event and post-event to assess whether success was achieved in gaining desired short-term media coverage and longer-term attitudinal and behavioral impact.

Media tracking can include both simple monitoring of coverage and sophisticated analysis including a review of the readership for a particular article, using weighted opportunity to see analysis – looking at the tone of the article and the favourability of the coverage goes some distance in terms of assessing the potential impact of the article on readers. New media allows undertaking cost effective systematic media tracking using online software and systems, including using the Google News search engine.

Assessing Advertising Equivalent Value

Event organizers can calculate the value of publicity of the event using Advertising Equivalent Value (AVE), which is the amount that needs to be paid if event organisers were to advertise their event on TV, radio, newspapers and other media.

It is important to keep in mind that although AVE shows a monetary value of publicity, it is not an evaluative metric as such – it is not a measurement of value, but a measurement of cost. Generally speaking, advertising tends to command attention and create awareness. Publicity tends to build credibility.

Examples of AVE include:

  • In Durham, Visit County Durham estimated the value of media coverage based on an equivalent advertising value for all known media coverage at around 800,000 EUR (£700,000). This includes 90 articles on Lumiere and Durham, including six articles in national consumer titles worth circa 55,000 EUR (£48,000).
  • In Osaka, the evaluation team calculated the advertisement equivalent value as approximately 2 million EUR, consisting of 37 articles in newspapers and 57 TV reports, representing 1 hour 46 minutes coverage in total.


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Intermediate Cultural Impacts