Rupert Murdoch-led media powerhouse News Corp. has launched a new ticketing venture in Murdoch’s native Australia that could put a crimp in Live Nation’s plans for expansion in the country.
Called Foxtix, the new endeavor is run by News Corp.’s Australian newspaper division, News Limited, and seeks to offer “consumers, promoters and venue managers a flexible, easy, option to buy and sell tickets.” To help facilitate that, Foxtix will leverage the marketing reach of News Limited’s print and online publications, which total more than 110 newspapers throughout the country. In addition, Foxtix will be able to market events through News Corp.’s Myspace social network.
“Foxtix aims to achieve three things: To break up the cosy duopoly in ticketing in Australia, to give consumers access to lower booking fees and to utilise News Limited’s media assets to give ticket buyers, venues, promoters and artists a stronger alternative to what currently exists in ticketing,” John Hartigan, chairman and CEO of News Limited said in a prepared statement. Foxtix will be aligned with another News Limited property, Moshtix, which recently conducted a survey of Australian music fans’ thoughts about the secondary ticket market.
The “duopoly” Hartigan is referring to is Live Nation’s Ticketmaster division, and Ticketek, the 30-year-old company that sells tickets to more than 13,000 events annually in Australia and New Zealand.
Ticketmaster is second to Ticketek in the country, but it has slowly and steadily grown, and this past spring, Live Nation announced it was going to build on that effort and expand its presence in Australia by launching a concert promotions business. The creation of the Australian office followed Live Nation’s decision to establish a similar operation in Germany.
By creating a ticketing operation in Australia, News Corp. is establishing a beachhead in a highly competitive industry, and the company has deep financial pockets to ensure its success. According to published reports, most of the high profile events in the country are already under contract to either Ticketek or Ticketmaster, but with News Limited’s marketing prowess, those events will likely think long and hard before renewing those deals because News Limited’s publications reach millions of potential fans.
While Live Nation already faced a challenge in Australia with Ticketek, the company, which has dealt with slowing ticketing sales and nervous investors throughout most of the year, must now also fend off an aggressive rival in a burgeoning market. In the U.S. ticketing market, Live Nation picked up another competitor, Outbox Enterprises LLC, which is headed by former Ticketmaster CEO Fred Rosen.