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Since 2007, New York state law has allowed the resale of tickets for profit; however, the law that legalized such resale expires this month, forcing the state legislature to reexamine the rules governing the secondary ticket market.
Harry Truman famously expressed a desire to consult only with "one-armed economists". Our 33rd President wasn't fond of counsel that began "On the one hand, this…" and was followed by "On the other hand, that…" Truman wanted straight talk without equivocation.
So, here is a bit of economic straight talk from the data vaults of TRG Arts. Forget everything you learned in that Econ 101 class you took in undergraduate school. You can also forget what you learned at Business School. It doesn't apply to tickets.
A few years ago, my husband and business partner returned from a networking meeting charged up about what he called "Facebook Bucks." He'd spoken with a leading credit card loyalty program provider, who was in early discussions with Facebook about moving their stream of commerce and points-based purchases to the social media giant. He's a true visionary, and he said, "This is where it's going. People are going to spend billions in that environment within the scope of several years."
It was at least a year later that we launched our Facebook Ticketing application that allowed for ticketing sales to happen on Facebook — not a link, or an iFrame, but an application, like Farmville — that is fully branded to the company, directly interfaced with the ticketing system, and secured. We watched with interest as other companies scrambled to launch their own version, and chuckled a little when Ticketmaster, the venerable ticketing giant, announced their version at INTIX this past January 2012.
Earlier this year, consumers were surprised and enraged when Uber, a company that allows users to order car services through a smartphone application, charged many times the standard rate on New Year's Eve ("Disruptions: Taxi Supply and Demand, Priced by the Mile," The New York Times, Jan. 8, 2012). This practice, commonly called "dynamic pricing," is expected when you book airline tickets, hotel rooms and is increasingly common in sports ticketing; however it is quickly moving beyond those core industries to enter segments such as electricity consumption, car services, parking spaces and toll lanes.
In professional sports, dynamic pricing means that a weekend game against a league leader will likely be more expensive than a weekday game against a lesser opponent. For electricity, dynamic pricing means that energy consumption in the middle of a hot summer afternoon will be more expensive than at night when most people are asleep. For Uber, dynamic pricing means that a ride on a major holiday is more expensive than your average weekday. Prices can rise and fall multiple times a day or week, based on the market.
It's been coming for weeks and the signs have been everywhere - commercials on TV, appropriately themed baked goods, shelves lined with more cards than anyone could ever possibly read, and of course, heart shaped objects as far as the eye can see.
After weeks of anticipation, Valentine's Day has finally arrived.
In 2012, I see so many opportunities for the ticketing industry that I barely know which one to go after first. Between the rapid explosion of mobile technology and the almost immediate upgrades cloud-based systems can offer, there's almost no limit to what is possible in the next 12 months.
For my first prediction, let's start with mobile ticketing. According to Yahoo, "iPhone" was the No. 1 most-searched term in 2011. Approximately 44 percent of Americans already have smartphones, according to data recently released by Nielsen, and I don't think it's going to be long before most Americans have smartphones.
I think we can all agree that the use of social media as a marketing tool cannot be ignored. After all, word of mouth is the number one way that people hear about events, and Facebook is the most used social media platform.
Here are some statistics, according to Facebook: The site has more than 800 million active users, more than 50 percent of active users log onto the site in any given day, and the average user has 130 friends.
The ticketing industry is one of the most misunderstood industries in America. Unfortunately, the role and function of a ticket broker is even more misunderstood. It's worth taking a minute to explain what a broker is and what services they provide.
Like many industries, ticket brokers are salesmen trying to provide a service to consumers. Each broker has their own strategies and techniques that they use to satisfy their customers. Some brokers still only do business over the phone and in person. However, the majority have adapted to the times and do a mix between online and phone sales.
When it comes to pricing ticketed events, what works? For nearly two decades, TRG Arts has answered that question for hundreds of non-profit arts and culture organizations. About four years ago, TRG also began working with a number of commercial entertainment clients, mostly Broadway productions.
Although non-profits and commercial entertainment presenters/producers serve very different missions, both face the need to get the most from every ticket sold. Maximizing revenue is frequently a life or death issue.
The mobile revolution is taking over the ticketing industry. Some may think that I am overstating it because only 2 billion mobile tickets were sold last year, according to a new study by Juniper Research.
But get ready because that same study predicts that by 2014 more than 15 billion tickets will be purchased via mobile. And I think that's a conservative estimate.