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German live market reaches record highs, but visitors fall

The German live events business turned over nearly €1.2bn more in 2016–17 than in 2012–13, although the growth is largely due to higher ticket prices

By Jon Chapple on 02 Feb 2018

Jens Michow, BDV

image © Klaus Westermann/bdv

The German live events market generated revenue of nearly €5 billion in the year ending 30 June 2017, an increase of 31% since 2013, according to new research by commissioned promoters’ association BDV.

In the period 1 July 2016–30 June 2017, sales from concerts and other live events totalled €4.99bn, compared to €3.82bn at the time of the last study by BDV (Bundesverband der Veranstaltungswirtschaft, or Federal Association of the Event Industry), in 2013. In the four years since, the live industry has jumped ahead of the book trade to become the leading economic driver of Germany’s growing entertainment market.

However, BDV president Jens Michow warns that growth has come despite falling visitor numbers, largely as a result of increased ticket prices.

“Despite all the happiness about this development, we should note two less encouraging facts,” explains Michow (pictured). “The study shows that despite the significant increase in sales, the total number of tickets sold declined from 120.6 million in 2013 to 113.5 million in the period investigated. It also demonstrates that the sales growth is largely due to increased ticket prices and a higher visit frequency, and not increasing visitor numbers.

“The main beneficiaries of the strong demand for live entertainment are not the organisers, but the artists”

“Artists and event organisers must give this some thought.”

The visit frequency, defined as the number of visits to live events per person annually, increased 8%, from 3.7 in 2013 to four in 2017.

Michow adds that artists, not promoters, are the ones who have mostly benefited from that 31% growth. “These figures should not obscure the fact that the main beneficiaries of the strong demand for live entertainment are not the organisers, but the artists,” he says. “Their continually increasing earnings expectations together with the ever increasing production costs and rising operational costs, are without doubt the main reason for the sales performance from event ticket sales.”

IQ’s European Arena Yearbook 2017 revealed that arenas in the GSA countries (Germany, Switzerland and Austria) had a particularly strong 2017 compared to venues elsewhere in Europe, although family shows are proving more popular than concerts.

The BDV study was undertaken by market research firm GfK with support from CTS Eventim.


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