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Tech the key to controlling touting, finds second Waterson report

Economist Prof. Michael Waterson has penned a second review of the UK ticket market, this time looking at technological solutions to make ticketing more consumer friendly

By Jon Chapple on 09 Oct 2018

Michael Waterson

Prof. Michael Waterson

image © Warwick University

Warwick University economics professor Michael Waterson – known to the music industry as the author of the government-commissioned Waterson report into secondary ticketing – has called for the UK ticketing sector to look at ways in which technology can be used to improve consumer experience online, including increasing online security, making transactions more transparent and enabling greater controls over the secondary market.

In ‘Ticketing as if consumers matter’, which serves as a follow-up to his May 2016 report – which made several recommendations, including banning ticket bots, investing in consumer protecting agency National Trading Standards and prosecuting violators of the Consumer Rights Act, all of which were accepted by the British government – Prof. Waterson outlines ways in which he believes online ticketing could be made more consumer friendly.

He focuses particularly on two technological solutions:

  • Using the blockchain, “which can easily incorporate several primary sellers for the same event through an open-source protocol” and be designed to “incorporate the rule that if the owner cannot attend, they must transfer the ticket back to the original seller for redistribution or for on-sale at no more than a particular price”
  • Resale models exemplified by AXS’s Flash Seats and Ticketmaster Presence, wherein “any unwanted tickets go back to the original seller for recirculation to new buyers” (though he notes that, at present, these solutions “assume a single primary seller and bring with them the prospect of reduced competition in the ticket selling marketplace”)

The report was funded by a grant from blockchain ticketing platform Aventus, for which Waterson is an advisor.

“In my view, a desirable ticketing system would be one that puts consumers first, both in terms of ease, fairness and choice,” Waterson writes. “Currently, many of the participants in the market do not have consumers foremost in mind, and the lesson from various other markets where technology has shown significant potential is that ultimately, a framework that provides what (most) consumers want wins out.”

‘Ticketing as if consumers matter’ can be read in full here.


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