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Creditors owed £22.5m after Festicket collapse

Festicket owed more than £22.5 million to creditors at the time of its collapse, according to new documents.

The London-headquartered festival discovery and booking platform, which acquired Event Genius and Ticket Arena in 2019, entered administration last month after attempts to rescue the company as a going concern failed.

A new Companies House filing shows a total of £22,560,175 in unsecured debts. Significant creditors each owed seven-figure sums are listed as Event Horizon (£2,290,244), AEG Presents (£1,506,352) and Slammin Events (£1,346,679) in the UK, Spain’s Mad Cool (£1,516,613), and Australia’s Festco (£2,359,827) and Lost Paradise (£1,580,292).

In addition, more than 20 firms were owed six-figure sums including Amnesia (£918,309), Primavera Sound (£314,168) and Andalucia Big Festival (£184,574) in Spain; Australia’s Grapevine Gathering (£703,113) and The Hour Group (£104,704); Portugal’s Everything is New (£223,807), MOYG (£180,775) and Conquistapadrao (£141,571); Cosmopop (£284,341) and Loft (£211,256) in Germany; and US-based Float Fest (£361,492) and Danny Wimmer Presents (£111,329).

Others creditors include the UK’s NCLF (£221,991), Motion & The Marble Factory (£201,683), Hospitality D&B Events (£415,801) and 2 Four Six Marketing (£112,050); Croatia’s Electronic Events (£328,337); GMED Projects, Malta (£143,659) and Malta Tourism Authority (£115,191); Loveland Events (£247,122) in the Netherlands; Movement Entertainment (£182,166) and SAND (£164,416) in Italy. HMRC, owed £298,000, is named as a preferential creditor.

The firm’s credit card processor, Stripe, has advised that it holds £7.69m across multiple currencies but “the level of any recoveries in relation to this sum are currently uncertain and will depend on a number of factors”.

In a statement outlining its proposals, administrator ReSolve Advisory adds: “We have received communication from a number of promoter creditors who are asserting that the net realisations from their ticket sales were to be held in trust for them by the company. Our understanding is that the company did not segregate or ringfence any assets for the benefit of specific parties.”

“We considered that a pre-packaged administration sale of the business and certain assets of the company as a going concern would result in the best outcome for the company’s creditors”

Ticketing exchange Lyte announced earlier this month that it had acquired Festicket and Event Genius assets and pledged to protect Festicket employees and find “ways to reconcile and rebuild with affected promoter clients”. Lyte’s clients include North American festivals such as Life Is Beautiful, Pitchfork Music Festival, BottleRock and Baja Beach Fest.

ReSolve’s Cameron Gunn, Simon Jagger and Lee Manning, who are overseeing Festicket’s administration,  pursued a “pre-pack” sale – whereby a firm’s business and assets are immediately sold by administrator under a sale arranged before the administrator was appointed.

“We considered that a pre-packaged administration sale of the business and certain assets of the company as a going concern would result in the best outcome for the company’s creditors,” says Manning in the report.

After marketing Festicket to “a range of industry specific parties”, a deal was struck with Lyte, which acquired the company’s business and certain assets for £100,000.

“We understand it is the purchaser’s intention to carry on the business of the company,” adds Manning. “We expect that this will reduce the risk of future event cancellations in relation to events for which tickets have been sold, and therefore improve the overall outcome for creditors.”

“The company’s systems were challenged by the new requirements created by the pandemic”

Founded in 2012 by Zack Sabban, Jerome Elfassy and Jonathan Youne, Festicket also ran offices in the US, the Netherlands, Germany, Portugal, France and Australia. The company recorded losses of approximately £11.3 million and £8m in the 2019 and 2020 financial years, respectively.

“Following the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020 and the resulting lockdowns, social distancing and restrictions on travel, the company experienced an unprecedented level of ticketing refunds and deferment requests due to the multiple event cancellations and a reduction in consumer confidence,” states the document.

“The company’s systems were challenged by the new requirements created by the pandemic. This was further exacerbated by the integration of the Event Genius and Ticket Arena platforms, which had not yet been completed. As a result, the company’s financial and internal reporting systems became increasingly reliant on manual calculation and input.”

 


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Lyte acquires Festicket and Event Genius assets

Ticketing exchange and technology firm Lyte has confirmed the acquisition of Festicket and Event Genius assets.

The firm says the acquisition represents “significant and immediate growth for Lyte, with a broad expansion of their services and team worldwide”.

London-headquartered Festicket, which acquired Event Genius and the associated Ticket Arena consumer website and brand in 2019, formally entered administration last week, with ReSolve Advisory Limited appointed to oversee the process.

Festicket and Event Genius worked with hundreds of festivals and events across the UK, EU, Australia and Latin America, including BPM Festival, Ibiza Rocks, Summer Daze and Annie Mac’s Lost & Found Festival.

The company has pledged to protect Festicket employees and find “ways to reconcile and rebuild with affected promoter clients”.

The news comes after Australian festival Borderline Music and Arts Festival (cap. 10,000) was cancelled due to the collapse of Festicket, which was its primary ticketing partner.

According to the company, many Festicket clients have begun signing with Lyte, including Slammin Events in the UK and Vic Falls Carnival in Zimbabwe. More signings across the United Kingdom, Europe and Australia are to be confirmed in the coming days.

“To be launching Lyte’s international expansion from the place where it all started, is truly special”

“Lyte’s success to date has been achieved by building a coalition of employees, ticketing companies, and event organisers who share the aspiration to make all aspects of going to a show as great as seeing the talent that graces the stage,” says Lawrence Peryer, Lyte’s chief commercial officer.

“With the assets we have acquired in this transaction – and all of the new team members in the UK, Europe and Australia who we welcome as part of it – we are bringing global opportunities to our existing employees and partners while extending an offer of access to our alternate universe to all promoters, ticket platforms and fans worldwide. The future of live events is here.”

Ant Taylor, Lyte’s CEO and founder, adds: “Ten years ago I visited London for the 2012 Olympic games. The events were sold out, there were no tickets on the streets but the venues were half-full. I was just a fan but that empty seats problem stuck with me and led me to start Lyte a couple years later. To be launching Lyte’s international expansion from the place where it all started, is truly special. Our company vision is to make the live events e-commerce experience magical for fans and event creators, the world over…This is a step in that direction. Now the real work begins.”

Lyte enables fans to reserve tickets without competing with other fans and brokers during on-sales, to return tickets if their plans change and to easily secure tickets to sold-out events.

The company says the results are fuller venues for talent and event stakeholders and a significant reduction in risk for fans of overpaying or being stuck with unusable tickets.

Lyte’s clients include North American festivals such as Life Is Beautiful, Pitchfork Music Festival, BottleRock and Baja Beach Fest.

 


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Australian fest cancelled after Festicket collapse

An Australian music festival has been cancelled following the collapse of festival discovery and booking platform Festicket.

Presented by Triple M, the 10,000-cap Borderline Music and Arts Festival was due to be held at Gateway Lakes, Wodonga, Victoria, on 8 October, headlined by acts such as Jimmy Barnes, The Teskey Brothers, Pete Murray, Glenn Shorrock, Tulliah and Nikki Nicholls.

Organisers have released a statement attributing the cancellation to “unforeseen circumstances outside of our control”.

“This tough decision was necessary due to our primary ticketing partner Festicket entering into administration”

“This tough decision was necessary due to our primary ticketing partner Festicket entering into administration, which has caused significant and unrecoverable financial issues for the event organisers,” reads the statement. “Labour shortages, supply chain issues and difficult economic conditions including ballooning insurance premiums and infrastructure costs have also created problems.

“Proceeding with the event in the face of all these difficulties would have meant that the audience experience would have suffered and that was simply not an option. We worked hard to try and deliver a great event for the border community of Albury-Wodonga but we have exhausted all options to avoid cancellation and for that we sincerely apologise.”

London-headquartered Festicket, which acquired Event Genius and the associated Ticket Arena consumer website and brand in 2019, formally entered administration last week, with ReSolve Advisory Limited appointed to oversee the process.

The firm previously filed a moratorium, which ended on 30 August as it was “no longer likely to result in the rescue of the company as a going concern”. Its most recently available accounts from July 2021 showed losses of €8,976,888 for 2020 and €12,934,107 for 2019.

According to Mixmag, Festticket clients are said to include TimeWarp, Ibiza’s Amnesia and Cova Santa, Secret Project Amsterdam, ION Festival and Epizode in Albania, Primavera Sound Los Angeles, Morocco’s MOGA, Fort Festival in Spain, and Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide in France.

Bristol’s Motion Club, which has partnered with Festicket and Ticket Arena for the last six years, says it is owed in excess of £300,000

Earlier this month it was reported that ticketing exchange and technology firm Lyte had reached a deal to acquire certain assets from Event Genius.

Elsewhere, in the UK, Bristol’s Motion Club, which has partnered with Festicket and Ticket Arena for the last six years, says it is owed in excess of £300,000 due to not receiving payments for tickets sold through their platforms, and is calling on HMRC to immediately pause any deals that see assets sold from Festicket.

Meanwhile, North Brewing Co, which holds beer festival The Springwell Sessions, tells The Drinks Business it lost in excess of £25,000 as a result of Event Genius’ collapse. A GoFundMe page set up to protect ticket holders and ensure the event could still go ahead raised more than £15,000.

Festicket has offices in the US, the Netherlands, Germany, Portugal, France and Australia.

 


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Report: Lyte to acquire Event Genius assets

Ticketing exchange and technology firm Lyte is reportedly acquiring certain assets from Festicket-owned Event Genius.

Earlier this week, it emerged that Festicket was on the verge of falling into administration after a moratorium filed by the festival discovery and booking platform came to an end, with Companies House documents stating it was “no longer likely to result in the rescue of the company as a going concern”.

Now, according to an update to partners seen by The Ticketing Business, Event Genius – the ticketing and cashless payments specialist acquired by Festicket in 2019 – confirms it is winding down its existing business and has reached a deal with US-based Lyte.

“An agreement has been made with Lyte for the sale of certain assets from the business, including the technology platforms and employee contracts”

“We can now tell you that an agreement has been made with Lyte for the sale of certain assets from the business, including the technology platforms and employee contracts,” it says. “We are on a path to close this transaction on Monday 12 September.

“In parallel, we are in a process to wind down the existing business, which includes the appointment of an Administrator to determine what monies will be on-hand to pay out unsecured creditors and promoter obligations. You will be hearing more on that process from us soon.”

Event Genius worked with well known European events, including BPM Festival, Ibiza Rocks, Summer Daze and Annie Mac’s Lost & Found Festival.

“Going forward, Lyte will take over the operation and continue providing our end-to-end event management technology – while also offering their platform – to all of our partners,” adds the update. “In addition, Lyte is preparing a proposal for new agreements with them which include plans to address what, if any, money you are owed by us.”

 


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Festicket files moratorium

The future of festival discovery and booking platform Festicket is uncertain after the company filed for moratorium.

The course of action “gives struggling businesses formal breathing space in which to explore rescue and restructuring options, free from creditor action”.

A Companies House filing, listed today, shows the moratorium’s start date as 17 August, with Chris Farrington and Ben Woodthorpe of London-based Resolve Advisory appointed as insolvency practitioners.

A spokesperson for Festicket tells IQ they are not in a position to comment at this time.

The development was first reported by The Ticketing Business, which quotes an insider as saying “the company still has to pay its ongoing debts during the moratorium”, such as rent and employee liabilities.

“It is my understanding that the company directors are in exclusive negotiations with a third party, and this gives them some time (initially 20 days but this can be extended) to assess the situation and to potentially develop the plan for the company as a going concern,” adds the source.

“Unfortunately, for current clients and staff, the business may be considered beyond rescue.”

Festicket is the world’s largest platform for discovering and booking festival trips

Founded in 2012 by Zack Sabban, Jerome Elfassy and Jonathan Youne, Festicket acquired Event Genius and the associated Ticket Arena consumer website and brand in 2019. Former Treatwell COO Benjamin Leaver was named CEO in October last year, with Sabban assuming the role of president.

Alongside its London headquarters, Festicket also has offices in the US, the Netherlands, Germany, Portugal, France and Australia. Its most recently available accounts published in July last year showed losses of €8,976,888 for 2020 and €12,934,107 for 2019.

“Festicket has been through a planned investment phase with an aim to aggressively capture market share,” says the report. “It is still loss-making at this stage but has an agreed strategy with the board to deliver scale first and then profitability in the near team future.

“The plan to operate profitably is still management’s financial goal, despite the Covid-19 global pandemic altering revenue expectations in the industry downwards in 2021.”

UK-based music, travel and experiences start-up Pollen fell into administration earlier this month, just three months after raising US$150m in new funding.

 


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Event Genius shares ‘The Fan Report: Back to Live in 2022’

The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the live events industry like never before. But as it finally subsides, it is now critical that event organisers understand how the pandemic has affected the attitudes and expectations of music fans. How they respond to these and improve the fan experience will be key to the success of the recovery.

This is something we at Event Genius were keen to help our partners understand. At the start of this year, we conducted a survey of 12,000 music fans from the UK, Europe and the US for our Fan Report: Back to live in 2022. The full report is available to download for free from the Event Genius website by clicking here.

The report gives a snapshot of how demand for live events is shaping up for 2022, including what proportion of music fans from each region have attended an event since restrictions were eased, what share have booked tickets to events at home and abroad in 2022, what’s stopping some fans from booking, how they found any new measures they experienced on-site, and what are the main factors influencing the buying decision.

For example, 75% of European event fans have either booked tickets to an event abroad this year, are planning to, or are waiting to have the money to book. This trend follows what we’ve seen in our own sales data, with our report on consumer travel behaviours from November 2021 which found that eventgoers are spending nearly three times more on their international event trips now than they were before the pandemic.

However, 31% and 60% of fans from all three regions reported they haven’t yet booked a ticket to a domestic and international event respectively in 2022. There are a number of reasons that are stopping this group, including fears an event will get cancelled, a lack of money, and still not feeling entirely comfortable due to Covid-19. Fortunately for organisers, these fans also noted a number of ways organisers could help them return.

“While demand and optimism for live events remain high for 2022, event organisers are having to work harder to stand out”

That fear of an event being cancelled also shone through when we asked fans what were the most important factors when it came to deciding whether to buy a ticket to an event. Eighty per cent of those we surveyed said that an event having a clear cancellation policy would be very important, at times even more so than the event’s lineup.

Eventgoers from each region also experienced a number of changes to events they attended, for example, the use of Covid passes, mobile tickets and a cashless payments system to help reduce the spread of the virus. Importantly these measures made fans feel safer at events, with UK and European eventgoers reporting that a cashless payments system was the second most important measure in making them feel safer, even more so than having to wear a face mask. These measures can play a key part in helping fans feel more comfortable returning to live events.

While demand and optimism for live events remain high for 2022, event organisers are having to work harder to stand out from the crowd. Understanding and responding to these new fan expectations will go a long way in ensuring they make the most of the post-pandemic recovery.

Download the full report by clicking here, see the data for yourself and find out how music fans around the world really feel about the return to events.

Event Genius will also be sponsoring the Arthur Awards aftershow party at this year’s International Live Music Conference (ILMC), taking place on Thursday 28 April.

While, Event Genius COO Reshad Hossenally is slated to take part in the Festival Forum: New lands, new adventures panel.

 


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Ticket sales soar past pre-pandemic levels

Top promoters and ticketing firms including DEAG, Dice, Event Genius and The Ticket Factory say that current ticket sales are even higher than pre-pandemic levels.

Event Genius, which serves more than 50 countries worldwide, says its ticket sales are outstripping 2019 levels by more than 25%.

“It’s been an incredibly strong and heartening start to 2022,” says the company’s CEO, Benjamin Leaver. “Demand for events is arguably at an all-time high, and we see lots of potential for growth this year which is immensely encouraging.

“We’re expecting 2022 and the next few years to become a landmark period for the events industries.”

According to an Event Genius customer survey conducted at the beginning of this year, fans are also digging a little deeper into their pockets for events.

“We’re expecting 2022 and the next few years to become a landmark period for the events industries”

“Such is the demand for events and experiences – both domestically and abroad – event-goers are now spending up to three times more on their domestic and international event trips than even pre-Covid levels,” Leaver says.

Dice, a UK-based mobile ticketing and discovery platform for live events and live streams, has also seen a replenished demand for live events since the pandemic.

“With the venues and festivals we can draw comparisons from, we’ve seen fan demand for live events higher than it was before the pandemic,” Andrew Foggin, global head of music at Dice, tells IQ. “The industry was in great shape before the pandemic, and it’s encouraging to see that it’s picking up where it left off.”

Foggin has witnessed a particularly strong demand for breakthrough artists such as PinkPantheress and Fred Again, each of which sold out multiple shows in minutes. “We’re generally seeing tickets selling out faster, with fans joining our Waiting List for sold-out shows in higher numbers than we’ve ever seen,” he says.

“We’re generally seeing tickets selling out faster”

Elsewhere, Berlin-based DEAG, whose core markets include Germany, the UK, Switzerland, Ireland and Denmark, has reported a 50-80% increase in ticket sales compared to pre-pandemic.

DEAG CEO Peter Schwenkow says that family entertainment, concerts, and spoken word events are selling best at the moment, although he also explains that the dramatic increase is partly attributable to the company’s acquisition of six promoters during the pandemic.

“We are very much convinced we will see a record year, just by delivering the 5,000-plus shows we have on sale,” he recently told IQ.

Elsewhere, The Ticket Factory, one of the UK’s leading national ticketing agents, says its return to pre-pandemic levels of ticket sales is primarily driven by A-list artists.

“We are very much convinced we will see a record year”

“A busy schedule of major shows including the likes of Stormzy, Sam Fender and Little Mix, has certainly been one of the key drivers,” Richard Howle, director of ticketing at The Ticket Factory, tells IQ.

“But we’ve also been well aware that for many of our clients, 2022 is the first year since Covid where they’ll be able to run their usual annual events. So, not only are we feeling optimistic about the volume of current ticket sales – driven primarily by the A-list artists – but also our future pipeline with the return of several major events.”

The ticketing company, is owned by UK venue operator NEC Group and is the official box office for the NEC Birmingham as well as a ticket seller for many of the UK’s major music festivals.

“As the live events industry starts to feel more reminiscent of pre-pandemic times, we’re expecting more peaks than troughs this year – even bigger than what we’re experiencing right now,” adds Howle.

The Ticket Factory’s Richard Howle chairs the Ticketing: All change please! session at this year’s International Live Music Conference with guest speakers including Dice’s Amy Oldham, Ticketmaster’s Sarah Slater and others.

 


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Event Genius announces Iberian festival link-ups

Event Genius has renewed its focus in the Iberian market after inking exclusive, multi-year deals with a raft of the region’s leading festivals.

The Festicket-owned ticketing and cashless payments platform has partnered on the debut of Sónar Lisboa and the 15th edition of electronic music staple Neopop, both in Portugal, and signed a three-year deal with organisers of Barcelona’s Cruïlla.

The arrangement with Cruïlla also covers the promoter’s series of music, dance and cultural events – Cruïlla Primavera, Cruïlla Tador, Cruïlla XXS and Cruïlla Comedy.

“We really value receiving data that will help us improve our users’ experience”

“We couldn’t be happier about our agreement with Event Genius as our exclusive ticketing partner,” says Festival Cruïlla director Jordi Herreruela. “Their dedication towards fans is totally aligned with our own. We really value receiving data that will help us improve our users’ experience, so we are excited that we can explore this aspect thoroughly with the platform provided by Event Genius.”

In addition, Event Genius has signed a three-year deal to provide exclusive ticketing, travel, and marketing for all events at Spain’s oldest active nightclub, Florida 135.

“Florida 135 has always been known for being on the cutting edge since opening more than 75 years ago,” says Florida 135 director Joaquín Cabós Moré. “For this reason, we have decided to reach an agreement with a forward-thinking ticketing company, with the best technology and marketing tools out there. From the day we started working with Event Genius, we’ve had great success from all our ticketing and campaign efforts and we are really excited about this.”

 


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International Ticketing Report 2021: The Recovery

The International Ticketing Report is a one-off annual health check on the global ticketing business, with emphasis on the sector’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The past two years have been turbulent for the business, but with consumer demand for live events now at an all-time peak, the challenges of fulfilling the most packed event schedule in history will test ticketers to the hilt.

Staffing, vouchers schemes and refunds, demand, consumer behaviour, communication, new products & services, secondary ticketing, pandemic lessons and recovery are among the challengers addressed by industry-leading experts in this extended report.

The report, originally published in IQ105, is in lieu of the International Ticketing Yearbook – a standalone global guide to the live entertainment market that will return in 2022.

IQ will publish sections of the International Ticketing Report over the coming weeks but subscribers can read the entire feature in issue 105 of IQ Magazine now.

To read the previous instalment of the report on pandemic lessons, click here.


Weezevent CEO Pierre-Henri Deballon observes that the coronavirus pandemic helped separate the wheat from the chaff in terms of dependable ticketing partners.

“It’s important for a company to make money in its model so that it is solid, capable of facing crises like this one, but also so that it is capable of investing and supporting in the long-term, and not only in the short-term or only on the basis of fundraising,” says Deballon.

“We can see this with completely crazy fundraising schemes for models whose profitability I really doubt can be proven. It’s a real issue because unprofitable players are players who have a short-term vision, with all that this can imply on the organisers’ databases.”

As the live entertainment market aims for a rapid recovery, Fair Ticket Solutions’ founder & CEO Alan Gelfand advocates paying attention to consumer choice when developing ticketing technology.

“The key element for ticketing companies is to find ways to identify people for health and security reasons without additional friction. Blockchain, digital/mobile, and NFTs only identify the transaction, not the actual identity of an attendee, which is where they all fall short.

“If the ticketing companies can tie an actual verified identity to the ticket, it could open up a new acceptance of biometrics”

“If the ticketing companies can tie an actual verified identity to the ticket, it could open up an entire new acceptance of biometrics and launch future new fan experiences based around biometrics, which have been talked about for years but not accomplished to date,” adds Gelfand.

“We are extremely positive about the prospects for the future,” says Event Genius & Festicket CEO Benjamin Leaver. “The coming months and years offer incredible opportunities to deliver the best-ever customer experiences in live entertainment.

“Promoters and customers expect nothing less than a seamless, delightful, digital-first experience. Our sole focus is to deliver this for our partners so that they can continue to put on extraordinary live entertainment across the world.”

Martin Haigh and Total Ticketing are also looking to forge closer relationships with promoter and event organiser partners to aid their prospects. “Our future roadmap is to a large part projected by the clients we service,” notes Haigh.

“Our development queue has never been longer, as such ticketing is only going to become more and more integrated into our clients’ infrastructure. We are continuing to invest heavily into allowing our clients to manage their inventory more elegantly, reach ever more consumers through our network and to maximise their revenue from each ticket sold.”

“Sustainability in all sectors will become more of a default setting, including the events industry”

But The Ticket Factory‘s Richard Howle concludes that companies must, first and foremost, listen to the needs of the fans. “One of the notable things that has changed in recent months has been customer sentiment – everyone seems angrier and more impatient,” he says.

“As an industry we need to do more to put audiences first, ensuring we are doing the right thing by them. We have a lot of building back to do and we need to bring fans with us, making sure we are open and fair to them. Over the past 18 months [fans] have found other things to do with their leisure time and money and, yes, whilst there is pent-up demand, we shouldn’t take it for granted.”

TicketPlan’s Ben Bray agrees. “Many fans will want the reassurance that the environments they attend are safe and secure and, given the heightened understanding of risk that now exists, they will continue to purchase TicketPlan on a wide range of bookings with generally, higher attachment rates,” he surmises.

“Sustainability in all sectors will become more of a default setting, including the events industry, and whilst the impact of the pandemic has inevitably and necessarily meant that our sector has focused on its survival, sustainability will become a crucial part of the planning and design of events.”

Paul Newman says the strategy of AXS will be to “continue to support our clients, making their customers feel happy and safe to return to the live events market.”

He concludes, “Demand is very strong, but with a flooded market of events, people will be making choices to see artists that mean the most to them. The key is getting the right events in front of the right customers, at the right time; and we are committed to working with our partner venues and promoters to do exactly that.”

 


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International Ticketing Report 2021: New products and services

The International Ticketing Report is a one-off annual health check on the global ticketing business, with emphasis on the sector’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The past two years have been turbulent for the business, but with consumer demand for live events now at an all-time peak, the challenges of fulfilling the most packed event schedule in history will test ticketers to the hilt.

Staffing, vouchers schemes and refunds, demand, consumer behaviour, communication, new products & services, secondary ticketing, pandemic lessons and recovery are among the challengers addressed by industry-leading experts in this extended report.

The report, originally published in IQ105, is in lieu of the International Ticketing Yearbook – a standalone global guide to the live entertainment market that will return in 2022.

IQ will publish sections of the International Ticketing Report over the coming weeks but subscribers can read the entire feature in issue 105 of IQ Magazine now.

To read the previous instalment of the report on communication, click here.


Event Genius & Festicket CEO Benjamin Leaver notes that the pandemic shutdown created additional time for individuals and companies to develop new products and services – time that ticketing service providers the world over have been exploiting.

“One of the biggest takeaways for us is the accelerated embrace of technology in the industry, from digital ticketing to contactless access and cashless payment systems,” Leaver says. “Although the adoption has been quicker because of the pandemic, we strongly believe the change will benefit the industry in the long-term.”

AXS director of ticketing, Paul Newman, agrees. “The last 18 months have afforded us the opportunity to accelerate the development of a number of initiatives that would have otherwise taken far longer to implement,” he says, citing AXS opening up its mobile ID technology to other ticket agents.

“Taking notice of the feedback from the customer sentiment surveys we have undertaken; we have introduced venue iconography and other features into our purchase flow to give returning customers the information and reassurances they seek to return to live events.”

Weezevent CEO, Pierre-Henri Deballon, says: “Over the last 18 months, we have essentially worked on the relaunch: the challenge was to ensure that the teams were ready for the relaunch and that the product was also ready. To do this, we worked on international development by buying the company PlayPass.

“We also reworked our capital structure by buying out the shares of Veepee, which was a shareholder of Weezevent, in order to be completely independent. This makes us one of the few truly independent European players in our sector.”

“The last 18 months have afforded us the opportunity to accelerate the development of a number of initiatives”

It’s also been a time for acquisitions at Dice, which bought Boiler Room, as well as completing a $122m (€105m) funding exercise.

“We built-out our live-stream offering working with 6,400 artists on quality streams; we developed and rolled out a completely new client tool with collaboration from our partners; we made massive design and functionality improvements across our app and website; and we opened up a new HQ in New York,” says Russ Tannen of Dice.

On a B2B level, Leaver says, “We developed our Ticket Management Portal [TMP], which allows event organisers to be fully track-and-trace compliant by collecting all attendee details. The TMP also allows fans to easily share tickets with friends, as well as letting organisers seamlessly communicate with all eventgoers rather than solely lead bookers.”

Fair Ticket Solutions’ founder & CEO, Alan Gelfand, meanwhile, says, “We have spent the time evolving our identity-based platform to include a pre-clearance tie-in of the health requirements to activate all types of ticket formats.”

And in Hong Kong, Total Ticketing‘s Martin Haigh tells IQ, “We have developed a global distribution system allowing us to ingest ticketing inventory from a large number of inventory holders and redistribute it to hundreds of agents, managing CMS, sales, invoices, credits. This allows for massive increased discovery.

“Alongside the ongoing development of our ticketing software, we have also created Total Streaming to give promoters the ability to mix and match in person and streamed sales through our platforms and to geofence viewers and enforce a single-viewer-per-link on our streams.”

“We took this moment to take our business global”

Mark Yovich says the pandemic pause allowed Ticketmaster to fulfil long-held ambitions. “We took this moment to take our business global,” he says. “Our goal was to unify across the globe as a single team with a single mission – to innovate and build one incredible experience for fans and clients wherever they are in the world.”

“CTS Eventim has used the time of the pandemic for numerous strategic initiatives to emerge even stronger from the crisis,” reports chief operating officer Alexander Ruoff. “These include product developments. Among these, our digital ticket EVENTIM.Pass stands out in particular.”

Taking the opportunity to “make ticketing more seamless for both the promoter and customer,” Skiddle’s head of marketing, Jamie Scahill, says. “Over the last 18 months, we’ve launched our beta Promotion Centre to current promoters, built from the ground-up.

“[It] provides new features such as bulk-editing events, bulk-embargoing events, new dashboards, embed-listing widgets for promoters and more. We’ve also introduced a DIY payment plan builder for promoters to have greater control over the payment plans they want to offer to customers.”

Not to be outdone, Richard Howle says The Ticket Factory is close to completing an overhaul of its payment systems, offering increased security for customers when they are booking online.

“We have also installed a brand-new telephone system in our dedicated contact centre. It’s becoming increasingly rare in the ticketing industry for this kind of personalised interaction – and it’s something we’re committed to and really value as a business,” says Howle.

 


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