At a press conference this afternoon, Don Vaccaro, CEO of TicketNetwork, outlined the top four issues of that the ticketing industry will face this year, which include transparency, transferability of tickets, discount tickets, and the Ticketmaster / LiveNation merger. The press conference took place at Ticket Summit, the industry’s leading conference and trade show in Las Vegas.
According to Vaccaro, transparency is an important topic in the primary ticketing market, especially after a significant number of Bruce Springsteen tickets were held back from the public during the event’s official onsale. Minutes after tickets went on sale, consumers were redirected from Ticketmaster to TicketsNow, a secondary reselling site owned by Ticketmaster, to purchase tickets. Vaccaro stated that “consumers should be made aware of how many tickets are made available by venues and who has access to premier tickets or how they can be obtained.” Also, if tickets have been held back and are later released for sale, consumers should be made aware of when, where, or how to buy these tickets.”
Transferability of tickets is another issue that the primary market is going to have to solve. This year, Miley Cyrus’s tickets for all shows are paperless and non-transferrable. To enter the venue, consumers will have the credit card which was used to purchase tickets online swiped at the venue. “There will always be consumers who want to transfer their tickets,” said Vaccaro. Paperless tickets that do not permit transferability severely limit consumers’ purchasing options, since consumers are forced to make the purchase with a credit card.
The third issue the ticketing market is dealing with is discount ticketing. “Overall ticket prices have dropped more than 15 percent this year,” Vaccaro said. For Las Vegas-based shows, the total revenue has decreased by 50 percent from May 2008 to May 2009 according to sales data from the TicketNetwork exchange. Broadway shows are also having problems filling their venues. To solve this problem, shows are likely going to have fewer tickets available and prices will increase. If dynamic pricing were applied to concert and show tickets, consumer dissatisfaction would become a major issue. Consumers would wait until the last minute to purchase tickets, waiting for the price to go down. Since tickets would not sell out immediately, promoters would incur greater marketing expenses because they would be forced to extend their advertising efforts up to the actual date of the event.
Finally, this year, the ticketing industry is faced with the possible merger of Ticketmaster and LiveNation, the first and second largest primary ticketing companies, respectively, according to the TicketNews exclusive rankings and power scores. Vaccaro stated that “combining LiveNation and Ticketmaster is troubling because it will lock up more artists and venues with Live Nation’s traditional strength and Ticketmaster’s dominance in ticketing.” He added that “it would be hard to see how there would be any competition for ticketing services for artists and venues that are affiliated with LiveNation.”
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