This story was updated at 5:26 p.m. EDT on Monday, July 25, 2011, to include comments from Jon Potter, president of the Fan Freedom Project.
Digital ticketing company Veritix, which offers a competing paperless ticketing product than that of rival Ticketmaster, sees good news in a recent poll conducted by the Fan Freedom Project (FFP) about how consumers view the technology.
The poll asked 1,000 consumers for their opinions about paperless ticketing and found that a combined 51 percent said that the technology was “very good” to “somewhat good” for fans, 50 percent “strongly” or “somewhat” support the use of paperless tickets and 52 percent “very likely” or “somewhat likely” to purchase paperless tickets.
Veritix President Jeff Kline believes the results point to generally positive views by fans. “Not only are people embracing the technology, they like it,” he told TicketNews concerning Flash Seats, Veritix’s product, adding that the company has sold more than 4 million paperless tickets in the last few years, and Veritix’s growth has exceeded 250 percent in less than two years.
Kline said that while he has spoken to representatives from both the FFP and the newly formed Ticketmaster group the Fans First Coalition (FFC) about their efforts in educating the public about paperless tickets, Veritix is staying neutral and has no plans to actively support either group. The FFP is battling restrictive paperless tickets, which Ticketmaster employs, that are virtually non-transferable, but Kline is quick to say to Veritix’s paperless offering is different and is even being utilized by some ticket brokers to resell tickets.
Veritix requires consumers create free online accounts with the company in order to transfer tickets, and artists, venues or sports teams can ultimately control how those tickets are delivered. But, Kline believes fans want to be able to — and should be able to — easily transfer, resell or give away any ticket they purchase, and while Veritix’s solution might not be perfect on all counts, it is simple, safe, secure and efficient, all aspects that fans can appreciate. Kline recently blogged about the poll and Veritix’s Flash Seats on the company’s Web site.
Respondents to the survey, which was conducted by Penn Schoen Berland on behalf of the FFP, overwhelmingly said they believe they should have control over the tickets they buy, be able to do what they like with them and do not want restrictions placed on transfer or resale. A majority also acknowledged that paperless tickets can be more convenient than traditional hard copy tickets.
“I understand that StubHub [a backer of the FFP] doesn’t like paperless tickets, that they see it as a threat to their business. But, Flash Seats is not a restrictive paperless ticket product. Artists, venues and teams have a choice on how they want their ticket distributed, we don’t dictate that,” Kline said.
Jon Potter, president of the Fan Freedom Project, told TicketNews in a statement that Veritix’s Flash Seats may harbor some positives, but it still has drawbacks.
“Jeff Kline’s blog post deftly highlights a few points of FFP’s recent survey that arguably support the Veritix/Flash Seats business model. Unfortunately, he fails to mention two key points of dissonance between fans and the Veritix/Flash Seats model,” Potter said. “Kline notes that Veritix agrees with the large majority of fans who want the right to own and transfer tickets, but he ignores that fans also want the power to choose how to transfer or sell the tickets they have purchased, including on which market to list their tickets for sale. In fact, 87 percent of respondents agreed that they ‘should have the right to transfer tickets freely, to anyone I choose, as a gift or resale through any resale ticket market I choose.'”
In addition, Potter said Veritix could write a software API that would allow third party exchanges to sell Flash Seats paperless tickets, but so far the company has resisted doing so. “Instead of innovating in ways that promote competition and benefit fans, Veritix chooses to eliminate fans’ choices.”
Potter also said that the poll indicates that fans also want the choice of what to price resold tickets at, in addition to the ability to buy them at below face value. The Veritix system allows for resale below face value, if the content provider (artist, venue or team) decides to permit it.
“The reality is fans enjoy purchasing resale tickets below face value — and benefit tremendously from $2 major league baseball and NBA tickets, for example,” Potter said. “Veritix should permit fans to benefit from market principles instead of forcing them to play bid-and-ask games that are frustrating and annoying.”
Kline said that Veritix would be willing to discuss partnerships with StubHub or other ticket resale exchanges or broker sites that would allow for even easier resale.
“We’re open to having strategic conversations with anybody. Flash Seats was built to sit atop any primary ticketing solution, and it could theoretically do the same with a secondary ticket market exchange,” he said.