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LN on course for another record year after ‘best Q3 ever’

Terrorism has failed to put a dent in Live Nation Entertainment's remarkable 2017, with the concert colossus set for a 7th consecutive year of record growth

By Jon Chapple on 03 Nov 2017

Michael Rapino, CEO Live Nation Entertainment, Q3 2017 results

Live Nation president and CEO Michael Rapino

Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino has praised the ‘resilience’ of the concert business to attacks such as those in Manchester and Las Vegas, as the live music giant posted its best third-quarter results to date.

Speaking to investors yesterday, Rapino said Live Nation has seen “increased ticket sales since September” and “no effect at all on the business” from the shooting at its Route 91 Harvest festival, saying a combination of the “diversity” of Live Nation’s “global business” – and the industry’s collective response to terrorism, with all major players “doing a better job over the last five years of upgrading its on-site [security]” – means the company is still on course for its best year to date.

In Q3, Live Nation’s year-on-year revenue was up 12% to US$3.6bn, with operating income up 5% (to $201m) and adjusted operating income (AOI) up 10% (to $335m); in the nine months ending 30 September, meanwhile, revenue grew 19%, operating income 26% and AOI 16%. All three Live Nation Entertainment divisions – concerts, advertising and ticketing – delivered their strongest quarterly AOI results ever, Rapino said.

Live Nation’s 20,000+ concerts were attended by 65m people – a 16% rise – with revenue climbing 11% to $2.9bn, while revenue from sponsorship/advertising grew 16% to $158m, and ticketing 17% to $532m. Underlying Ticketmaster’s growth, said Rapino, is its “product innovation”, including the roll-out of its Verified Fan platform and moving to solely digital ticketing with the National Football League (NFL).

“We are confident that our strong performance will deliver another year of record top line”

Verified Fan has reportedly reduced the number of tickets finding their way to the secondary market by 90%, with Rapino predicting that, by the end of the year, “we will deliver three million tickets to Verified Fans, saving them $100m relative to buying on secondary sites after bots got the tickets first.” (Live Nation no longer provides separate financial results for its primary and secondary ticketing platforms.)

Live Nation COO Joe Berchtold also touched briefly on the ongoing Songkick lawsuit, telling investor Brandon Ross of BTIG – who asked if the company’s legal fees (included in a loss of $41.3m associated with “other [costs] and eliminations”) would be “something that’s ongoing” – he expects, “hopefully, to get that resolved and move on, but in the near term, there is a bit of costs associated with that.”

Commenting on the results, Rapino says: “As we approach the end of 2017, we are confident that our strong performance will deliver another year of record top line, operating income and AOI.  All of our businesses – concerts, advertising and ticketing – have delivered growth for the nine months, and based on their key operating metrics, we currently expect each to deliver record revenue, operating income and AOI for the full year.

“As we look forward, we see tremendous opportunities to continue global consolidation of our concerts and ticketing businesses, and for further growth in advertising and ticketing from the concerts flywheel.”


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