Live Nation announced on August 7, 2012, that the company’s second quarter profit missed analysts’ expectations and that the company expects earnings to remain flat throughout the rest of the year.
Live Nation announced to shareholders that the company’s all important summer concert season ended up below industry estimates, with the company taking a 42 percent dip in earnings through the second quarter. Concert revenue saw a drop of 0.6 percent, taking in $1.8 billion, while merchandise sales saw a huge drop of 7.8 percent in revenue.
Live Nation’s concert profit margin is not based on face value ticket sales. Rather, the company relies on revenue from ticket fees from Ticketmaster, the company’s ticketing element, as well as concessions and parking fees from their owned venues. With merchandising taking such a large hit this quarter, it was clear that despite a rise in concert-goers, profits would be done.
According to Live Nation’s CFO Kathy Willard, the young age of the bulk of this summer’s concert goers is a strong explanation for the fall of merchandising revenue. This summer’s major concert attendance was for festivals and amphitheater concerts, which typically attract a younger ticket buyer. With that being the case, Willard told shareholders that younger buyers often “typically have lower spends per head,” leading to lower merchandise sales.
Live Nation’s second quarter announcement is particularly disappointing as the company had announced in early May, while discussing its first quarter returns, that it anticipated a good summer in terms of revenue. Live Nation’s first quarter earnings were lower than anticipated, but the company did announce that concert ticket sales were up 23 percent worldwide during the first quarter. Comparatively, worldwide tickets sales rose 6 percent in the second quarter.
However, there was good news to be found in the realm of North American ticket sales. Live Nation announced that, while revenue may not be increasing, the second quarter saw an increase of 7 percent in North American sales, with a 4 percent increase year-to-date.
In addition to strong showings from music festivals and amphitheater concerts, one area of the music scene that was credited for the increase was Electronic Dance Music (EDM). One of the hottest concert genres, EDM has been in the news a great deal lately, as Live Nation and billionaire entertainment mogul Robert F.X. Sillerman have both taken interest in the increasingly popular genre.
Also highlighted by Live Nation Entertainment CEO Michael Rapino at the company’s investor meeting were the continuing strides taken by Live Nation to further embrace the changing realm of technology. Rapino indicated that he believed mobile phone ticketing to be the wave of the future and stressed that Live Nation’s goals included a desire to “deliver growth in our core business while we continue to invest in the technology platform, unlocking future growth opportunities with our 200 million transaction base and maintaining our strong leadership position in the marketplace.”
The optimistic outlook from Live Nation is hardly surprising, as the company remains the largest concert promoter in the world. It appeared that investors were not put off by the announcement either, as Live Nation’s stock was actually up after the announcement.