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SMA, Prodiss criticise France Billet over refund policy

French industry associations Prodiss and SMA (Syndicat de la filière des musiques actuelles) have issued public criticisms of France’s largest ticketing platform, France Billet, over its handling of coronavirus-related refunds.

The pair, which between them represent 450 live industry companies, state that France Billet and majority owner Fnac Darty “unilaterally took decisions that weakened the relationship of trust between event organisers and the public” following the cancellation of concerts due to Covid-19.

While commending the actions of other ticketing platforms for “quickly start[ing] to issue refunds”, Prodiss and SMA say that France Billet, in which CTS Eventim took a 48% stake last year, eluded to “technical and operational difficulties” and attempted to “get rid” of customers by giving them promoters’ contact details.

Prodiss and SMA believe that the ticketing platform intended to start issuing refunds after shops began to reopen in France in mid-May. Before this time, they claim the ticketer “voluntarily” decided not to respond to questions or complaints from ticketholders.

“Prodiss, SMA and their members therefore intend to shed light on the behaviour of Fnac/France Billet over the coming months”

The industry associations also claim “misleading” information was presented on the cancellations page of the France Billet website, informing fans that the ticketer was awaiting further word from promoters and that delays were beyond its control.

The first refunds, say Prodiss and SMA, were made in the second week of June for cancelled events and have yet to start “in earnest” for postponed events.

“Prodiss, SMA and their members therefore intend to shed light on the behaviour of Fnac/France Billet over the coming months,” reads a statement from the associations. “Fnac/France Billet are, above all, endangering the continuity of the entertainment industry, by treating ticketholders – the fans of the future – in this anomalous way.”

IQ has contacted Fnac/France Billet for comment.

 


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CTS Eventim shares up 60% in 2019

German entertainment behemoth CTS Eventim has enjoyed a profitable 2019 so far, with the creation of promoter network Eventim Live and expansion of online ticket sales driving “significant growth” in live entertainment and ticketing respectively.

The company’s share price has risen by 61.5% since January, climbing from €33.8 to to €54.6, following a “successful” first half of the year and strong third quarter results. Earlier this month, Eventim traded at an all-time high of €55.5.

At the time of writing, the company’s market capitalisation sat at €5.2 billion, a significant increase from the €3.9bn recorded in the first half of 2019, indicating an acceleration of growth as the year has progressed.

Group revenue surpassed €1bn for the first time in a nine-month period, up 16.5% from the same period in 2018 to €1.1bn. Normalised EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) also saw an increase from the previous year, rising 26.5% to €177m.

According to Eventim CEO Klaus-Peter Schulenberg, the company has “significantly improved” its online ticketing volume in 2019. The company has sold 36.8m tickets through its online channels so far this year – a 9.2% increase year-on-year – which has helped drive ticketing revenue up by 11% to €306.9m.

“Our aim is to offer international tour opportunities to artists from all over the world”

Schulenberg adds that the increasing number of tickets sales through digital channels “has positive and long-term impacts” for the company.

Live entertainment revenue “exceeded expectations” rising 19% to €781.4m, whereas normalised EBITDA grew “disproportionately” by 52.7% from the first nine months of 2018, reaching €57.8m. Eventim puts the growth down to “major tours” put on by Eventim Live promoters in Germany, as well as by newly acquired promoters abroad.

Russian promoter Talent Concert International (TCI) was the most recent addition to the pan-European promoter network, with Austria’s Barracuda Music potentially joining in the near future.

“CTS Eventim is on course to achieve the targets for the 2019 financial year,” comments Schulenberg. “The establishment of our promoter network, Eventim Live, is opening up additional avenues for us in the [live entertainment] field. Our aim is to offer international tour opportunities to artists from all over the world.”

The CTS boss adds that “by taking a stake in France’s market leader, France Billet, we have also achieved a major and strategic step forward in the ticketing segment. In this way, CTS Eventim is extending and reinforcing its market position in a commercially attractive and culturally diversified market.”

Read IQ‘s anniversary feature on 30 years of CTS Eventim below.

Deutsche Courage: The rise and rise of CTS Eventim


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Live events, ticketing growth spell CTS Q3 success

German live entertainment powerhouse CTS Eventim has recorded strong financial results for the third quarter of 2019, driven by high performance in its ticketing and live entertainment sectors.

The company grew quarterly revenue by 20% from Q3 2018 to €378 million, with normalised EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) increasing by 23% to €65.2m.

Live entertainment revenue grew by 22% to almost €277m and normalised EBITDA by 118% to €20.4m in a particularly strong Q3 performance. The ticketing segment also recorded substantial growth, with revenue rising 15% to €106.6m and EBITDA increasing 23% to €44.8m.

The Q3 results contribute to a successful 2019 to date for CTS Eventim, as group revenue in the year-to-date surpasses the €1 billion mark at €1.075m, a 17% increase from the first nine months of 2018.

The Q3 results contribute to a successful 2019 to date for CTS Eventim

Live entertainment revenue in 2019 is up 19% to €781.4m, with a 53% rise in normalised EBITDA to €57.8m. Ticketing revenue for the year grew 11% to €306.9m while EBITDA rose disproportionately by 17% to €119.2m.

The company expects unchanged growth in revenues and earnings for the fiscal year 2019.

It has been a busy year on the live entertainment side for Eventim, which created its pan-European promoter network Eventim Live in March. The company has since grown its portfolio with the addition of Russian promoter Talent Concert International, and is reportedly looking to add Austrian promoter Barracuda Music to its collection.

The German giant has also augmented its ticketing business recently, acquiring a minority stake in France Billet, the ticketing arm of Fnac Darty.

 


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CTS Eventim completes acquisition of France Billet stake

CTS Eventim has finalised its acquisition of a minority stake in France Billet, the largest ticketing platform in France.

Concluding negotiations begun in July, Europe’s leading ticket seller has acquired 48% of France Billet’s shares from Fnac Darty, and will merge its French ticketing activities into the partnership. Germany-based CTS Eventim also has an option to acquire a majority stake in four years’ time.

Eventim to acquire stake in market-leading France Billet

The new joint venture will continue to do business as France Billet, while all established retail brands – including Eventim’s eventim.fr and Fnac’s fnacspectacles.com and billetreduc.com – will remain place.

Klaus-Peter Schulenberg, CEO of CTS Eventim, comments: “By partnering with Fnac Darty, CTS Eventim significantly enhances its market position in an economically attractive and culturally diverse market. I’m delighted that we were able to successfully conclude our constructive talks in such a short time.

“Now we will work together on ensuring that France Billet can profit from our technology and our pan-European network as best as possible. We want to offer our customers in France attractive services, a powerful platform and a wide range of offerings.”

According to the International Ticketing Yearbook 2019, France Billet is “the éminence grise of French ticketing, providing the backend for market-leader Fnac Spectacles, as well as for hypermarket Carrefour and Veepee (formerly Vente-Privée) and its discount ticket service, Panda Ticket.”

“France Billet will take advantage of … CTS Eventim’s expertise and importance”

With turnover of nearly €7.5bn in 2018, Fnac Darty, meanwhile, is France’s largest retailer of entertainment products, consumer electronics and household appliances. It has stores in 12 countries, and is also one of the country’s largest ecommerce businesses, with 20m unique visitors to its retail sites per month.

Enrique Martinez (pictured), CEO of Fnac Darty, comments on the Eventim deal: “We are very pleased to have concluded negotiations with CTS Eventim. That shows our common will to accelerate in this rapidly changing market, to pave the way for new avenues of development for France Billet, and strengthen its offer and its innovative capacities in a competitive sector.

“France Billet will take advantage of the know-how and the strength of the Fnac brand as well as CTS Eventim’s expertise and importance.”

 


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International Ticketing Yearbook 2019 out now

The International Ticketing Yearbook 2019 (ITY), the latest comprehensive review of the state of the global ticketing industry, is now available to read in print and online.

The print issue of ITY 2019 will be distributed along with the recently published IQ 85, providing in-depth profiles of 44 key global markets and features exploring the best in ticketing technology, innovative paperless ticket solutions and the impact of consolidation across the ticketing sector.

Following on from the success of last year, ITY 2019 contains figures for the estimated value of live music ticket sales in each market and a projection of sales for four years’ time. The statistics, taken from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) year-end estimates, signal the 20 markets that are expected to gross the most from ticket sales in 2019, with the United States, Germany and Japan leading the pack.

“Dynamism and innovation” continue to characterise the sector, according to editor James Drury, with “modernising forces” overhauling the ticket buying process in Brazil, Scandinavia, Hong Kong, Mexico, Poland and Singapore, among others.

Advances in facial recognition and augmented reality technology, the growth of “subscription-based models” and the “explosion in mobile ticketing” are among the most exciting of recent developments, according to Drury.

“New tech is not only helping combat fraud, but also means there can be a better understanding for who is attending events”

“New tech being used by ticketing firms is not only helping combat fraud, but also means there can be a better understanding for who is attending events,” says Drury. “This offers exciting opportunities to understand audiences better and provide better services and experiences as a result.”

Consolidation of the ticketing sector is also put under the microscope in the new edition of ITY.

“The last 12 months have seen some significant acquisitions, not least CTS Eventim’s move into France, and Live Nation Entertainment’s buy-out of Mexico’s Ocesa Entertainment,” writes Drury, stating that the “two big-money developments” could have “wide-reaching impact”.

The fight against secondary ticketing also rumbles on, as promoters and ticketing executives in Norway, Spain, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Japan and Italy voice their discontent with the continuation of for-profit resale.

The print edition of the International Ticketing Yearbook is free to subscribers of IQ Magazine (subscribe here), and will be distributed at events including Reeperbahn Festival in Germany, Eurosonic Noorderslag in the Netherlands, Moscow Ticketing Forum in Russia, Ticket Summit and Intix in the US, LatAm in Chile and the Ticketing Professionals Conference in the UK over the next 12 months.

Read the digital copy of ITY 2019 below:


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H1 growth puts Eventim shares at record high

Bremen-based live entertainment powerhouse CTS Eventim grew revenues to almost €700 million in the first half of this year – a 15% increase from the same period last year – as the company looks on track for a successful 2019.

In addition to the rise in revenue, normalised EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) broke the €100m half-year mark for the first time, growing almost 18% to €111.8m.

The half-year sucess puts Eventim share prices at their highest ever, reaching €50.1 at press time, with market capitalisation currently standing at a record €4.8 billion. The company had beaten its previous share-price high in July, after announcing plans to acquire a stake in Fnac Dart-owned ticketing brand France Billet.

The growth is in keeping with the company’s first quarter financial report, which stated the rise in revenue had “accelerated” at the start of Q2.

Growth in the ticketing sector – which generated €200m in the first half of the year – was fuelled by online sales, with 23.7 million tickets sold via Eventim web portals in H1, a 6% increase on the first six months of 2018. In the second quarter alone, online ticket volume rose by more than 8%.

“CTS Eventim is heading for another successful year”

Live entertainment revenues exceeded half a billion euros (€505m) for the first time in a six month period, representing an 18% rise from last year. Normalised EBITDA was also up, climbing 31% to €37m.

Live success came from “a strong tour business” for promoters in the newly created, pan-European Eventim Live network, which combines the company’s majority owned promoters, including FKP Scorpio, Fullsteam, Semmel and Vivo Concerti.

Successful editions of twin festivals Rock am Ring and Rock im Park and the acquisition of four Italian concert promoters also delivered “positive business performance” for the German company.

“CTS Eventim is heading for another successful year,” says chief executive Klaus-Peter Schulenberg, pointing to the planned deal with France Billet and the creation of Eventim Live as “important strategic moves for the future.”

IQ revealed earlier this week that major stock market-listed live companies have increased their collective market value by more than US$8bn in the past two years.

Update: Eventim’s market capitalisation later broke the €5bn mark for the very first time, peaking at a share price of €53.


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CTS share price up following Fnac Darty announcement

German ticketing and live entertainment giant CTS Eventim has seen a surge in share price over the past few days, earlier today (29 July) trading at an all-time high of €46.88.

Shares in CTS Eventim (EVD) have increased by almost 7% in five days – up from €43.3 – since the company announced plans to acquire 48% of leading French ticket agency, France Billet, last week.

The share price represents an all-time high for Eventim, with the company’s market capitalisation surpassing the €4.5 billion mark for the first time.

The share price represents an all-time high for Eventim

On Friday, the company received a €53 target price from Hamburg-based Berenberg Bank, on the back of the company’s plans to establish a joint venture with France Billet owner, Fnac Darty. The price indicates a potential increase of 15% from the stock’s current value.

Shares have climbed €13 (38%) since the beginning of the year, following a successful first quarter and an “acceleration” of financial performance in Q2 of 2019 .

At press time, CTS Eventim shares were priced at €46.10.

 


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Eventim to acquire stake in market-leading France Billet

CTS Eventim has announced plans to acquire a stake in France Billet, by far France’s leading primary ticket agency, in a major expansion of its activities in the €800 million French live music market.

Bremen-based CTS Eventim, Europe’s largest ticket seller, says it is in “exclusive negotiations” with the Fnac Darty group, which owns France Billet, to establish a French joint venture, expected to be up and running by the end of 2019. Under the proposed strategic partnership, Eventim would acquire 48% of France Billet, with an option to increase its holding to a majority stake four years later.

The joint venture will continue to do business as France Billet, as will Fnac Darty’s other ticketing brands, Fnac Spectacles and BilletReduc, and CTS Eventim’s Eventim.fr.

“By partnering with Fnac Darty, we seek to create a company that offers its customers attractive services, a powerful platform and a wide range of offerings,” says CTS Eventim CEO Klaus-Peter Schulenberg.

“At the same time, we intend to use this investment to significantly strengthen our market position in an economically attractive and culturally diverse market. I look forward to our further discussions with Fnac Darty.”

According to the International Ticketing Yearbook 2018, in addition to powering market leader Fnac Spectacles, France Billet offers white-label ticketing services to supermarket giant Carrefour and ecommerce site Veepee (formerly Vente-Privee), giving it a total market share of around 45% (compared to 25% for Ticketmaster and 4% for Vivendi’s DigiTick).

“We intend to use this investment to significantly strengthen our market position in an economically attractive and culturally diverse market”

By value of ticket sales, PwC estimates the French live music market was worth US$875m (€785m) in 2018.

Commenting on the proposed partnership, Enrique Martinez, CEO of Fnac Darty, says: “We are very pleased with this project with CTS Eventim, which is part of our process of implementing our Confiance+ strategic plan and rolling out our platform to partners who are experts in their field.

“In a rapidly changing market, this value-creating partnership would pave the way for new avenues of development for France Billet, now backed by two major players, and would strengthen its offer and its innovative capacities in a competitive sector.

France Billet would take advantage of the knowhow and strength of the Fnac brand and CTS Eventim’s expertise and importance.”

With turnover of nearly €7.5bn in 2018, Fnac Darty is France’s largest retailer of entertainment products, consumer electronics and household appliances. It has stores in 12 countries, and is also one of the country’s largest ecommerce businesses, with 20m unique visitors to its retail sites per month.

 


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France Billet appoints new president

France Billet, France’s leading ticket seller and distributor, has promoted Arnaud Averseng to president.

Averseng joined France Billet, part of the Fnac Darty retail group, as commercial director last May. He succeeds Katia Hersard, who departed the company in early October.

According to Fnac Darty, as president Averseng “will support the development and diversification of Fnac Darty’s ticketing business, and will work to strengthen its cultural commercial offering in line with the group’s Confiance + strategic plan. He will also have the mission to strengthen the presence of France Billet on the national and international market.”

According to the International Ticketing Yearbook 2018, “as well as powering market leader Fnac Spectacles, France Billet acts as the white-label ticketing provider for Carrefour and Vente-privee”, giving it an overall marketshare of 45% (compared to 25% for Ticketmaster and 4% for Vivendi’s Digitick).

 


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Fnac partners with Deezer for gig recommendations

Entertainment retailer Fnac, France’s market leader in ticketing, has announced a strategic partnership with Deezer that will see the music streaming service recommend Fnac-ticketed concerts.

Fnac, which operates France Billet, Carrefour Spectacles and its own Fnac Spectacles ticket agency, says the “strategic alliance” – which also allows for collaboration in promoting live events, and gives Fnac customers access to special offers on the Deezer platform – “enables both companies to build bridges between the various music markets (physical, digital and live) and to offer the public new services, thereby developing new growth drivers which will ultimately benefit the entire music industry”.

With the new focus on Deezer, Fnac’s own Fnac Jukebox streaming service will be shut down, with customers offered the option to migrate their accounts to Deezer.

The partnership, announced today, does not include any equity changing hands, although Fnac notes it “may become a Deezer shareholder” in future.

“Deezer is the ideal partner in the field of digital music distribution”

“We are proud to announce this ambitious agreement, which marks a strategic landmark for Fnac,” says Fnac Darty CEO Alexandre Bompard. “Deezer is the ideal partner in the field of digital music distribution. Together, we have worked to ensure that this partnership will be beneficial for our customers and will drive growth for both companies.

“This alliance will contribute to the growth of a virtuous ecosystem for the distribution of music, in line with Fnac’s historic commitment to the industry.”

Alexis de Gémini, CEO of Deezer in France, adds: “This partnership is excellent news for Deezer and Fnac, for market players and for music fans everywhere. Already a partner of the largest French telecommunications operator [Orange], we are delighted, as the number one streaming service in France, to combine our music expertise and technology with the market leader for the distribution of cultural and technical products. This coming together of the physical and digital worlds can only be beneficial for both companies and end consumers.”

The deal is similar to the recently announced partnership between Spotify and Ticketmaster, although it is not known if the Fnac-Deezer tie-up will see Fnac ticket listings integrated into Deezer artist pages.

According to the International Ticketing Yearbook 2016, Fnac/France Billet is one of a “powerhouse trio of ticketing companies in France”, along with Ticketmaster France (formerly Ticketnet) and Vivendi’s Digitick. Vivendi purchased a 15% stake in Fnac in April 2016.

 


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