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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 board ‘to file for administration’

Festicket appears to be on the verge of administration after a moratorium filed by the festival discovery and booking platform came to an end.

The moratorium, which gives struggling businesses breathing space to explore rescue and restructuring options, free from creditor action, commenced on 17 August and was due to run until 15 September.

However, it was brought to an end on 30 August, according to Companies House documents, which state the moratorium was “no longer likely to result in the rescue of the company as a going concern”.

“The Board resolved on 29 August 2022 that the company should enter administration proceedings and that a notice of intention to appoint administrators be filed,” adds the filing.

London-headquartered Festicket also has offices in the US, the Netherlands, Germany, Portugal, France and Australia

A Festicket spokesperson tells IQ the company is unable to comment at present, while Chris Farrington and Ben Woodthorpe of London-based Resolve Advisory, who were appointed as insolvency practitioners, would only confirm: “We were Joint Monitors in a Company Moratorium that has ended.”

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.

London-headquartered 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.

 


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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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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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International Ticketing Report 2021: Communication

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 consumer behaviour click here.


While IQ has been hearing tales of audience drop-off rates for rescheduled shows being as high as 40%, most of the ticketing executives in this report admitted to rates of closer to 15-20% – still a significant no-show number.

Such statistics have prompted questions over whether the communication with fans has been good enough.

Weezevent CEO, Pierre-Henri Deballon, admits, “We attribute [the no-shows] to the fact that many people simply forgot they had bought tickets. There were also all the effects of rescheduling or changes in programming, which made the public less enthusiastic about attending. In addition, personal circumstances may have changed, such as couples who had purchased tickets together splitting up.”

Skiddle’s head of marketing Jamie Scahill believes the numbers of people actually testing positive for Covid, or who are required to self-isolate when they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive, has had a major impact on no-shows.

“As many events were rescheduled to the same time, this led to a higher drop-off rate for festivals as there was an abundance of events for customers to attend.” But Scahill claims that with the summer season now over, drop-off rates appear to be returning to pre-Covid levels of 8-15%.

“We attribute [the no-shows] to the fact that many people simply forgot they had bought tickets”

The Ticket Factory‘s Richard Howle cites different reasons. “The events with cheaper tickets have seen the highest drop-off – however, it is still early days. Once we start getting to the events that have rescheduled three or four times, we may well see a higher drop-off.”

“Good communication with fans is key,” states Howle. “We have continued our ‘Not Long Now’ email programme in the lead up to events and that seems to have been enough of a prompt to remind people that the event they booked two years ago is happening soon.”

At AXS, director of ticketing, Paul Newman, has a similar viewpoint. “The percentage of no-shows tends to be high- er on those events that have rescheduled more than once, and ticket price is a factor – i.e. the percentage of no-shows is greater on lower- vs. higher-priced events,” says Newman.

And while Benjamin Leaver says Event Genius & Festicket are recording 20-30% drop-off rates, there are positive aspects as fans return to see their favourite acts.

“It seems that people are treating themselves as they return to live events,” says CEO Leaver. “At our egPay cashless partnered events we are witnessing around a 20-30% increase in spend per head. This is a trend we are also seeing with ticket and travel package orders for international festivals in 2022 as average order values are at an all-time high.”

 


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International Ticketing Report 2021: Consumer behaviour

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 staffing click here.


In addition to purchasing add-on insurance coverage, fans are often waiting until the 11th hour to buy tickets for certain events – although some recent tours and dates for A-list acts next year have sold out within minutes.

While that dichotomy could give promoters sleepless nights, what is proving more certain is the willingness of the general public to embrace digital ticketing. This has been accelerated by the pandemic, as people recognise the health and hygiene benefits of steering away from physical passes for events.

“Digital transformation has significantly changed attitudes towards digital tickets – a Rubicon has been crossed,” says Total Ticketing sales director Martin Haigh. “Contactless purchase, fulfilment, transfer, and redemption is very attractive given the pandemic. Digitally connecting tickets to waivers and proof-of-vaccine may soon be mandatory.”

Scahill states, “Much like we’ve seen with promoters, we expect more of an increase in demand towards the use of digital tickets vs physical as consumers become more accustomed to using technology throughout the pandemic. In addition to this, sustainability is somewhat of a hot-button issue in the events and touring industry, so the more we can limit paper usage in the ticketing industry, the better.”

“Contactless purchase, fulfilment, transfer, and redemption is very attractive given the pandemic”

However, pointing out that a digital ticket merely identifies the mobile phone’s IMEI number, rather than the person holding it, Fair Ticket Solutions’ founder & CEO, Alan Gelfand, comments, “Attendees now have to provide some additional physical form of ID for entry, so whether a ticket is on their phone or physical now becomes only a matter of what the attendee deems convenient for them and should have their choice of deciding, not dictated to.”

And that scepticism wins favour with CTS Eventim chief operating officer Alexander Ruoff, who contends that not everyone will embrace the digital switch. “We believe very strongly that many customers will want to continue to receive a physical ticket or receive it in addition,” he tells IQ.

“An electronic ticket in a virtual wallet hardly triggers anticipation of a concert. In contrast, a paper ticket on the fridge or on the pinboard evokes exactly that feeling. A physical ticket also plays a very important role for many fans as a souvenir of a great concert experience.”

Nonetheless, Richard Howle from The Ticket Factory states, “The pandemic has forced the public (whether they like it or not) to embrace mobile technology with the use of tools like the [UK’s] NHS Covid App. It was only a matter of time until digital ticketing arrived, and the pandemic has simply accelerated that process. Some of our first events to go to 100% digital ticketing were non-music events with audiences that traditionally find it harder to adopt these technologies.”

“Within the next two years I expect that 90% of tickets issued will be digital”

He adds, “Within the next two years I expect that 90% of tickets issued will be digital.”

And Benjamin Leaver, CEO, Event Genius & Festicket says his company’s investment into mobile-friendly products sets them up nicely for the manic 2022 events schedule.

“For example, we recently released our new Festicket customer app, which makes it easier for eventgoers to access their tickets offline from their mobile device, speed-up entry, reduce possible overcrowding at entry gates and generally improve audience flow,” he says.

Indeed, Total Ticketing’s Haigh cites a fundamental shift in attitudes when it comes to digital adoption. “We operate in Asia and there is a cultural proclivity towards conservatism, yet we are seeing clients in some of Asia’s most conservative countries embrace and even demand digital ticketing, where just a year or two ago we were being told that ticket buyers would only accept physical tickets,” he reports.

“We believe that digital ticketing opens up a whole new world of engagement and activation opportunities for live-event promoters and sponsors and as such it’s inevitable that transformation towards digital ticketing will accelerate.”

 


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International Ticketing Report 2021: Demand

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 staffing click here.


Having been starved of live music for more than a year – and in some cases, more than two years – fans around the world are understandably craving the experience of gigs and festivals. This has manifested itself in some truly remarkable sold-out shows in the months ahead.

“Artists have been itching to get back on the road and we’re already seeing the biggest names – Ed Sheeran, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Coldplay, Shawn Mendes, Tool, BTS – selling like wildfire, with plenty more on the way,” says Ticketmaster’s Mark Yovich.

“We’re expecting colossal things for 2022 – not only do artists and fans want to make up for lost time, but the cyclical nature of our business ensures its longevity. The pipeline will always be full – sporting seasons, theatre runs, and touring cycles will remain a constant fixture.”

Eventim’s Ruoff is a tad more circumspect. “Fortunately, demand for tickets has been rising steadily since spring, but as expected has not yet reached pre-pandemic levels,” he says. “In Germany, and Europe as a whole, we have seen great pre-sales in recent weeks for concerts by top artists.”

In France, Weezevent CEO, Pierre-Henri Deballon, also has encouraging news. “In the third quarter of 2021 we are above our 2019 figures, despite the fact that fewer events went on sale, due to capacity increases this year.”

“For 2022, we are expecting to see a triple effect: strong public demand, a plethora of events, increases in capacity and duration”

He continues, “Ticket prices are also changing. For 2022, we are expecting to see a triple effect: strong public demand, a plethora of events, plus increases in capacity and duration.

“All of this put together means 2022 should be a very strong year with a big rebound, especially for outdoor events, of which only the largest have taken place in France, in reduced formats, if at all. We expect shallower growth in the indoor sector, because setting up a tour is more complex than a festival.”

In Asia, Total Ticketing sales director Martin Haigh says, “Demand remains strong and tickets are selling very well, when events are able to happen. Customers are keen to get out and have experiences again where possible and as a result of the extremely low incidence of Covid in Hong Kong, customers are generally not concerned about the health risks of attending events.”

However, Haigh adds a weighty caveat. “The strong restrictions imposed, especially on larger events, means that volumes are still low overall – about 20-30% of previous volumes – but this represents a supply issue, not a lack of demand.”

Skiddle’s head of marketing Jamie Scahill says demand has been unprecedented. “We’ve seen a boom in consumer confidence since lockdown was lifted in the UK, and we’re confident that this trend will continue into 2022 as young people are eager to experience nightlife for the first time,” he says.

“In the first six months of this financial year, our overall sales have been down 25% on the same period in 2019”

“As a result, Skiddle has sold an extra £32m (€38m) in tickets in 2021 vs last year, a 442% increase on 2020. Skiddle’s phenomenal growth in 2021 has seen us grow 80% on its best-ever year (2019). Since Feb 2021, the majority of our tickets sold were for nightclub events (45%) with live gigs and festivals a close second (44%).”

The same isn’t true for all UK-based ticketing operations. At The Ticket Factory, Richard Howle notes, “Sales are beginning to return but still aren’t at pre-pandemic levels. In the first six months of this financial year, our overall sales have been down 25% on the same period in 2019.

“However, the on-sale patterns are still out of kilter with the norm, so it is difficult to compare like for like at the moment. Some recent on-sales have been weaker than expected, but I think that this is more likely to reflect the current economic situation rather than any Covid-related concerns.”

AXS director of ticketing Paul Newman contends, “It still needs to be decent content, but to be fair there are many top-level artists going out for the first time in a long time. So sales for the right events are very strong, which bears out the widely held view that we could be in for a bumper couple of years as long as the promoters can find space in the packed venue diaries.”

“It is no surprise that music fans cannot wait to get back out there to live events. Who can blame them?” says Benjamin Leaver, CEO, Event Genius & Festicket. “We’ve seen this play out in successful on-sales for 2022 events, such as Primavera Sound [in Spain], which sold out in just ten days, and for which we were the official payment plan provider.

“We’re also seeing fans spending more on their event trips too, resulting in a huge 172% uplift in average order value”

“We’re also seeing fans spending more on their event trips too, resulting in a huge 172% uplift in average order value for international bookings compared with pre-Covid numbers, with a similar increase also seen in domestic booking.”

He adds, “A large percentage of these are also now choosing alternative payment methods such as payment plans in order for customers to reduce their immediate costs.”

And with Covid never far from the headlines, the increase in demand is also benefitting ancillary businesses.

“We are currently seeing high attachment rates across our partner ticketing companies, venues, and events as people have a pent-up desire to book something to look forward to but at the same time have never been more aware of their risk of being unable to attend,” says TicketPlan’s CEO Ben Bray.

“This has led to higher take-up on our refund protection and insurance products as this enables ticket buyers to book in confidence knowing that if the worst happens and they are unable to attend the event, for instance if they are ill, they can request a refund via extended terms.”


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