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O2 vows to clamp down on secondary ticketing abuse

Responding to its presale Priority Tickets reappearing on resale platforms, the telco is working with the industry to ensure those tickets end up in the right hands

By Gordon Masson on 22 May 2018

O2 Priority Tickets

image © O2/AIS London

O2 has responded to public concern over secondary ticketing by joining forces with the FanFair Alliance (FFA) in an effort to put customers, gig-goers and music lovers first in terms of ticket sales.

The announcement was made at an Music Managers Forum/FanFair event in London yesterday (21 May), where professionals from across the UK industry gathered to hear presentations on how the likes of Ed Sheeran, Pixies and Iron Maiden have managed to protect fans from being ripped off by unscrupulous resale outfits.

The telecoms giant’s Priority Tickets pre-sale programme helps shift tens of thousands of tickets per year, but the company says it has seen some of those tickets reappear on resale platforms. With FFA research underlining the depth of public concern with mass-scale ticket touting on many secondary ticketing platforms, O2 has now pledged to work with the ticketing campaign to keep tickets out of the hands of touts.

In addition to having naming rights on the world’s most popular music venue – The O2 arena in London – the company also has partnerships with 19 O2 Academy venues in 13 cities across the UK and provides its customers with access to tickets to over 5,000 shows in over 350 venues across the UK each year via Priority Tickets.

“We recognise the increasing concerns from our customers, artists and the wider industry about the scale of abuse in the secondary ticket market,” says O2 CMO, Nina Bibby. “Music is in O2’s DNA and we are committed to ensuring that tickets made available through Priority Tickets end up in the hands of genuine fans.

“The FFA has made significant progress in addressing some of these concerns over the past two years, pushing for change from government and organisations alike. We are looking forward to working with the FFA even further to help drive the agenda and ultimately clamp down on touts.”

FFA’s research revealed that nearly three quarters of the UK population (74%) think online ticket touting is becoming a major concern for music fans, while (44%) were unaware of the difference between primary and secondary ticket sites. However, 72% of respondents found the idea of pre-sales appealing, giving registered fans a chance to buy tickets before they go on general sale.

“It is heartening that O2 are getting on the front foot to help ensure millions of Priority Tickets reach their customers as intended”

In 2008, O2 pioneered the pre-sale model with the launch of Priority Tickets, allowing customers access to tickets 48 hours before general release. The model works by providing O2 customers early access to official tickets, which are sold on primary ticketing sites. Over the years the scheme has enabled millions of O2 customers to see their favourite artists live.

After an extensive audit, O2 will be introducing a series of measures to Priority Tickets to minimise abuse on the service:

  • Updating Priority Tickets terms and conditions to reflect recent changes to the Consumer Rights Act, ensuring tickets are for individuals and not businesses
  • Working with our venue partners to monitor all pre-sale purchases
  • A regular cleanse of the Priority Ticket database to remove individuals who no longer meet the minimum criteria and/or abuse the service
  • Providing FFA advice to O2 customers in order to help them make informed ticket purchasing decisions

Welcoming the support of O2, Adam Webb, campaign manager for FanFair Alliance, says: “The past two years have seen significant progress to tackle mass-scale online ticket touting, including a raft of new and updated legislative and regulatory measures. These should empower artists and music businesses to better protect their audiences, and it is heartening that O2 are getting on the front foot to help ensure millions of Priority Tickets reach their customers as intended.

“We hope others will follow their lead.”

Annabella Coldrick, CEO of the Music Managers Forum, adds: “Pre-sales are part and parcel of live music, and this raft of measures from O2 will help ensure Priority Tickets get into the hands of real music fans. It is a very positive move forward, and one that will have ramifications throughout the live music business.”


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