Concert promotions and ticketing giant Live Nation Entertainment this week shuffled some high-level executives in an effort to boost its live entertainment business, which continued to slump in the third quarter, ended September 30.
Jason Garner, head of the company’s Global Music division, left Live Nation, effective October 29, and he will be replaced by a trio of executives, Mark Campana and Bob Roux, who will oversee the North American market, and Rick Franks who will handle touring strategies, according to published reports.
In addition, Ron Bension, who became CEO of the company’s secondary ticketing subsidiary TicketsNow in January, will now head the company’s House of Blues division. Who will replace Bension at TicketsNow, which is believed to still be up for sale, was not disclosed.
The moves are designed to help Live Nation act on its plans to alter the way it pays for and promotes concert tours in 2011, including an effort to pay artists less in guarantees. The company is banking on major tours and a stepped up online retail and social media effort to help right the company in 2011, in addition to a move to all-in ticket pricing to spark sales.
While not directly addressing the recent staff changes, Irving Azoff, Executive Chairman of Live Nation Entertainment, said in a statement that 2010 has been challenging. The merger with Ticketmaster was finalized earlier in the year, and the companies continue to work on bringing the two business cultures together.
“Clearly the adverse economic environment has negatively impacted our concert business during the 2010 year so far, and has had a similar impact on our ticketing and artist businesses as well. We continue to grow our Artist Nation business with new signings and acquisitions. While our roster of superstar clients and tour schedules for 2011 remains strong, we need some improvement in the overall economic environment in order to optimize profits going forward,” he said.
Live Nation’s net income for the third quarter was $51.5 million, down from $69.2 million, though revenues climbed slightly to $1.84 billion. The company has adjusted its projected annual net income figure down at least twice in recent months and is now looking at about $385 million for the year, more than $50 million off previous estimates.
The company’s global concert ticket sales slumped again, down about 4 million tickets for the quarter, but Ticketmaster’s ticket sales, which include sports, was down even more, off by more than 9 million. All four major professional sports leagues in North America, and NASCAR, are experiencing down years.
“I don’t know why it took a year to hit, but it’s not isolated,” Live Nation President and CEO Michael Rapino said during a conference call today, November 4, referring to 2010 being a tougher year for live entertainment than 2009 even though both years had a soft economic outlook. “But, I don’t think this will be a long-term trend.”
The company’s stock, which trades under the symbol LYV, closed at $9.81 today, up 13 cents from the previous close.