Ticketmaster: Wikis

  
  

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Ticketmaster
Type Public (NASDAQTKTM)
Founded 1976 in Arizona by Albert Leffler, Peter Gadwa, Gordon Gunn & Charles H Hamby Jr.
Headquarters 8800 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, California Flag of the United States.svg
Key people Irving Azoff, CEO
Eric Korman, President
Terry Barnes, Chairman
Brian Regan, EVP and CFO
Industry Live Entertainment
Products Ticketing technology, Ticket Sales, Ticket Resales, Marketing, Distribution of event tickets and information, support of venue renovation
Revenue Sold 142 million+ tickets valued at $8 billion in 2007
Employees 6,678
Website www.ticketmaster.com

Ticketmaster Entertainment, Inc. is a ticket sales and distribution company based in West Hollywood, California, USA, with operations in many countries around the world. Most US ticket sales for US venues are fulfilled at the Ticketmaster two main fulfillment centers located in Charleston, West Virginia and Pharr Texas. Typically, Ticketmaster's clients (promoters) control their events, and Ticketmaster simply acts as an agent, selling the tickets that the clients make available to them.

Ticketmaster sells many of its tickets online, some via phone, and some through its many ticket outlets.

In January 2009, Ticketmaster acquired a UK ticket exchange site, Getmein.com[1]. Getmein is a ticket exchange site that allows sellers to list the tickets at whatever price they choose. It claims to have over 500,000 tickets listed at any one time.

On 10 January 2008, Ticketmaster completed the acquisition of Paciolan Inc. after the deal was subject to months of litigation over the potential breach of antitrust laws. Paciolan is a developer of ticketing system applications and hosted ticketing systems. [2][3] On 10 February 2009, Ticketmaster and Live Nation, the largest concert promoter, officially announced their merger deal.[4]. The new company will take the Live Nation name and will be Live Nation Entertainment. The merger has received regulatory approval in Norway, Turkey, and the United Kingdom. Regulatory reviews are continuing in the United States and Canada.[5]

Contents

Customer Service

Phone number for Ticketmaster is 1-800-745-3000. Ticketmaster is one of a number of organizations which have migrated to web based booking systems with no equivalent web/e-mail based system for queries/complaints. This allows them to achieve the benefits of the change to on-line purchasing without the concomitant costs of providing matching customer service. They do have an E-Mail service for Canada at TicketMaster.ca/email

Service fees

Ticketmaster collects no part of advertised ticket prices, in lieu it adds services fees to boost its earnings. Consumers often find these markups unreasonably excessive, especially because there are many instances where no alternative purchase method is offered (allowing the purchase of tickets without incurring fees). This business practice, along with a dearth of competitors, has led many to view Ticketmaster as monopolistic.[6] Alternative ticketing companies have emerged but due to Ticketmaster's exclusive agreements with a large percentage of venues the company does not need to lower service fees. In some instances customers may be able to buy tickets directly from the venue, which may make its own service charge.

The typical fees levied by Ticketmaster, in addition to a ticket's face value include:

  • Service Charge

This is Ticketmaster's charge for the general service they provide and maintain. You will pay this charge no matter which way you buy the tickets through Ticketmaster (Phone, online or in person at a ticket center), although the amount of the charge may be different for different channels and different payment methods.

  • Building Facility Charge

This is determined by the venue, and not Ticketmaster.

  • Processing Charge

This is Ticketmaster's charge for processing your order and making the tickets available to you. This is usually not a per ticket charge, but rather a per order charge.

  • Shipping Charge, E-Ticket Convenience Charge, or Will Call Charge

Ticketmaster charges a fee for ticket delivery, whether the tickets are mailed to the customer, printed out at home, or collected from the venue. Seemingly paradoxically, the charge for printing out the ticket at home is often higher than the fee to have the ticket physically mailed to you, even though the cost to Ticketmaster is lower. In other sectors, such as airline ticketing, companies usually do not charge (or even offer a discount), for electronic ticketing. Economist Emily Oster of the Chicago Business School suggests that this reflects the lack of competition in the industry, with customers willing to pay more for the convenience of obtaining the tickets immediately due to a lack of alternate options[6].

As an example of a typical markup, a ticket to see Britney Spears at the Nissan Pavilion in 2004 cost $56. In addition to this, Ticketmaster levied fees of $4.10 (processing charge), $3.50 (facility charge) and $9 (convenience charge), a total of $16.60, almost 30% of the ticket's original price.[7] In some instances service charges can amount to up to 50% of a ticket's face value.[7]

Ticketmaster has come under attack from those who claim its fees are excessive, with 40 British MPs signing an early day motion criticizing the company for overcharging and for the lack of transparency in its pricing structure.[8]

Ticket sales market

Ticketmaster frequently obtains agreements to become the sole provider of tickets for large venues, in keeping with a business strategy it has used since the 1980s when it consolidated regional ticketing services into a single entity. In many cases, acquiring this exclusivity requires Ticketmaster to pay substantial "signing bonuses" to venues, sometimes millions of dollars. Although this practice can significantly reduce the profitability to Ticketmaster of these exclusive relationships, to date using these bonuses has enabled them to maintain venue exclusivity as a competitive strategy, though the future viability of this strategy is unclear as the Internet as the primary sales channel for tickets makes exclusivity a less attractive option for venues.

Ticketmaster is the subject of frequent complaints in the media due to high ticket service charges. [9] Notably, in the 1990s, Pearl Jam brought a lawsuit alleging that Ticketmaster is a monopoly, whose anticompetitive practices allow markup prices of more than 30%. The case was acquitted because ticket purchasers were not deemed to be the actual customers of Ticketmaster.[10][11]

Recently, there appears to have been questionable dealings between Ticketmaster and TicketsNow.com (which was acquired by Ticketmaster in January 2008). An anonymous source alleges that a TicketsNow executive assisted with the sale of more than $1 million worth of Radiohead tickets on the TicketsNow website[12] There appears to be a conflict of interest when a company operates in both the primary and secondary sales markets, and furthers claims about the negative implications of Ticketmaster's Monopoly on ordinary consumers.

Competitors include Vendini, Inc., VenueDriver, LLC, Tickets.com, ShowClix, StubHub, Classictic, TicketBiscuit, TicketExperts.com, TicketLiquidator.com, [OnlineSeats.com], TicketVendor.com and others. TicketWeb, a Ticketmaster subsidiary also offers lower fees. These companies are typically excluded from primary ticket sales for major-league sports events in the U.S. (with the exception of Major League Baseball, which, as noted below, is now the owner of Tickemaster's number two competitor Tickets.com).

A new brand of competition has emerged in the form of companies selling ticket futures contracts. Web-based companies such as Yoonew and TicketReserve offer ticket futures which guarantee customers tickets to big games such as the Super Bowl and World Series if the team for which they have futures contracts makes it. Though the price of ticket futures are often substantially lower than the price of actual tickets to the big event, customers risk losing their investment if their team does not make it. Yoonew, in addition, provides an exchange where ticket futures can be traded between users.

Ticketmaster is the primary ticket seller for 27 of the 30 NHL teams and 28 of 30 NBA teams, but in 2005, Major League Baseball acquired Ticketmaster rival Tickets.com. Some analysts expect MLB to stop using Ticketmaster for the sale of its approximately 100,000,000 baseball tickets per year once current contracts with Ticketmaster have expired. Thus, when the Ticketmaster contracts end, finding sources for primary or "box office" tickets online may become a difficult task and vertical ticket search engines may become indispensable for finding primary ticket outlets.

Also of concern to the company is declining sales in the highly profitable concert business. Off by double-digit percentages in 2005 from 2004, the summer concert season is a major profit center for the company with its high per-ticket prices and accompanying high service fees.

Ticketmaster has had only limited success in the secondary ticketing market. In September 2003, Ticketmaster announced plans to sell tickets in internet auctions, which would bring the price of tickets closer to market prices, but its market share compared to that of eBay or Stubhub remains small, and Internet auctions are still a relatively minor part of its business. Indeed, since around the time of the 2003 announcement, Ticketmaster has lost the lead in the secondary ticketing market to new entrants like Stubhub, who have developed a popular and effective person-to-person market for tickets. Recently, Ticketmaster President Sean Moriarty appeared on a story about the ticketing business on NPR and pleaded for legislation that would make the selling of tickets from person to person illegal except through Ticketmaster's own product for this purpose. [13] Ticketmaster established the Ticketmaster Ticketexchange to try to compete with Stubhub, their main tagline being that tickets are 100% guaranteed to be authentic, since they are sold through the season ticket holder's account. (Some NFL teams require people to be on the waiting list in order to use the service. The New England Patriots, New York Giants and New York Jets require waiting list memberships.)

In Canada, Ticketmaster is trying to overturn anti-scalping legislation that is in place in some provinces. They are lobbying the Ontario and Manitoba governments to review rules banning the resale of tickets.[14] The Premier of Ontario, Dalton McGuinty, stated on March 23, 2009 that his government is planning to introduce legislation which would prevent Ticketmaster from reselling tickets through its TicketsNow website after they would not agree to do so when asked by the Province.[15]

Also in Canada, front page news in early January 2008 was a story about how a show for AC/DC in Vancouver was sold out in minutes, only for tickets to be available for higher prices on TicketsNow. The resale site also charged up to $1,199 for a $44 face-value ticket to a recent Killers concert in Toronto — roughly a 2,500 per cent markup.[16]

In an article by the CBC, Ticketmaster has been quoted as saying

"You and I both know there is a thriving ticket-broker industry... so the law is really a fiction... We very strongly feel the law needs to be modernized to reflect the reality of internet commerce. By keeping a price cap in place, you're really just driving the [resale] business into the shadows."[17]

Ticketmaster developed, in the late summer of 2009, a new way to resell tickets that atttempted to shut out brokers and scalpers. [18] This new system relies on a "paperless" ticketing platform, which makes customers prove their purchase by showing a credit card and ID.[19] Paperless tickets account for fewer than 1 percent of all ticket sales.[20]

Privacy

The company's use of personal information is more aggressive than most: a term that users wishing to purchase from their website must agree to is to receive Ticketmaster marketing:

"By completing this registration form you indicate that you consent to Ticketmaster sharing your email address and other information with those who provide the event, and that you consent to those who provide the event using your information to contact you by email or other means to send you marketing or other messages or using or disclosing your information in other ways. By completing this registration form, you also indicate that you consent to Ticketmaster contacting you by email or other means to send you marketing or other messages and using and disclosing the information you submit, as described in the Ticketmaster Privacy."[21]

This term is actually somewhat less aggressive than previously, following criticism[22][23] and accusations of spamming. However, users of the site automatically receive a regular "My Account" email, which comes with the notice "By signing up to Ticketmaster you agreed to receive this email. If you do not want to receive it, you can edit your preferences on the site". In other words, Ticketmaster deliberately does not allow users to opt-out at signup from unwanted email in order to increase the audience for its marketing, and the unsubscribe procedure requires the user to login to a web page: there is no simple unsubscribe link or email address.

Prominent lawsuits

In 1994, the rock band Pearl Jam appealed to the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice, complaining that Ticketmaster adopted monopolistic practices and refused to lower service fees for the band's tickets. At the time, Pearl Jam wanted to keep ticket prices under $20 for their fans, with service charges no greater than $1.80. The company had exclusive contracts with many of the large venues in the United States and threatened to take legal action if those contracts were broken. The Justice Department ruled in favor of Ticketmaster [24] which culminated in the cancellation of the 1994 Pearl Jam tour. Four years later, Pearl Jam resumed their relationship with Ticketmaster.[25][26][27]

On April 28, 1997, Ticketmaster sued Microsoft over its Sidewalk service for allegedly deep linking into Ticketmaster's site. The suit was settled after a two-year legal battle in which Ticketmaster claimed that linking to specific pages on an Internet site without permission was an unfair practice.

In 2003, the popular jam band String Cheese Incident and its associated booking group, SCI Ticketing sued Ticketmaster arguing that Ticketmaster's exclusive use contracts and most US venues was a breach of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. This lawsuit was settled in 2004 with no publicity of the settlement terms[28]

In 2009, Ticketmaster faced several lawsuits across North America, claiming they conspired to divert tickets to popular events to its ticket brokering website TicketsNow, in which the same tickets were sold at premium prices.[29] This also raised the ire of rock legend Bruce Springsteen, who said he was 'furious' at Ticketmaster,[30] and "...the one thing that would make the current ticket situation even worse for the fan than it is now would be Ticketmaster and Live Nation coming up with a single system, thereby returning us to a near monopoly situation in music ticketing".[31]

Key Staff

  • Irving Azoff -- CEO
  • Terry Barnes -- Chairman
  • Eric Korman -- President
  • Brian Pike -- CTO
  • Rick Oliver -- PMO

See also

References

  1. ^ Telegraph UKTicketmaster moves into UK concert resales]
  2. ^ Yahoo! BusinessForm 10-Q for Ticketmaster
  3. ^ Ticketnews Ticketmaster Acquisition of Paciolan to Face Federal Review. 03 July 2007.
  4. ^ Live Nation and Ticketmaster Agree to Merge New York Times. 10 February 2009.
  5. ^ Ticketmaster and Live Nation Welcome Competition Commission Ruling on Merger
  6. ^ a b http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2009/09/podcast_the_economics_of_ticke.html
  7. ^ a b http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A13496-2004Jun28?language=printer
  8. ^ http://www.thestage.co.uk/news/newsstory.php/19885/mps-unite-to-challenge-ticketmasters
  9. ^ CNN Money
  10. ^ United States Dept of Justice
  11. ^ Antitrust Institute
  12. ^ Ticketmaster scalps Radiohead tickets
  13. ^ NPR National Public Radio
  14. ^ CBC News CBC News. 09 July 2008.
  15. ^ Toronto Star Toronto Star. 23 March 2009.
  16. ^ CBC News CBC News. 02 January 2009.
  17. ^ CBC News
  18. ^ http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32898804/ns/business-retail/
  19. ^ http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32898804/ns/business-retail/
  20. ^ http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hrIY6WBxfdiWRWKCo2W1Q-35dxngD9AP7QG83
  21. ^ news.com.com
  22. ^ Gripe2ed
  23. ^ Clickz
  24. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/1995/07/06/arts/us-ends-ticketmaster-investigation.html?fta=y
  25. ^ Five Horizons
  26. ^ Five Horizons Testimony in Pearl Jam case.
  27. ^ Liberty Haven
  28. ^ http://www.rollingstone.com/news/story/5936870/incident_fight_ticketmaster
  29. ^ http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/February2009/23/c3133.html
  30. ^ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/celebritynews/4520960/Bruce-Springsteen-furious-at-Ticketmaster.html
  31. ^ "Bruce Springsteen “Furious” At Ticketmaster, Rails Against Live Nation Merger". Rolling Stone. February 4, 2009. http://www.rollingstone.com/rockdaily/index.php/2009/02/04/bruce-springsteen-furious-at-ticketmaster-rails-against-live-nation-merger/. Retrieved 2009-10-19.  

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