Spain’s Wegow reports record 2019
Spanish concert discovery and ticketing platform Wegow reported a record year in 2019, receiving 38 million visits and opening a new office in Mexico City.
Launched in 2015, the Bilbao- and Madrid-headquartered company is one of a number of B2B digital platforms growing in popularity in Spain, according to the International Ticketing Yearbook 2019. As well as providing ticketing services, Wegow also acts as a concert discovery portal, digital marketing tool and live music-focused social platform.
The start-up recorded a turnover of €25.4 million (£21.1m) in 2019, a 135% increase year-on-year.
Around 2,300 promoters now sell tickets through Wegow, with over one million customers buying tickets via the platform last year – more than double those bought in 2018.
“It is very important to keep offering a live music platform that is complete, fast and secure, both for users and all other industry stakeholders”
Over 28.3m unique users visited the marketplace throughout 2019, with significant increases in visits from the USA, Portugal and UK. The company also strengthened its Latin American footprint in 2019, opening offices in Mexico, adding to operations in Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Brazil.
“We are extremely satisfied with the 2019 results, which prove that we have a well-established and consolidated business in Spain,” says Wegow CEO and cofounder José María Ozamiz.
“We have also been extremely well received in Mexico and other Latin American countries. Based on this, we will continue to commit to Wegow’s internationalisation. However, beyond the good numbers, we believe it is very important to keep offering a live music platform that is complete, fast and secure, both for users and all other industry stakeholders.”
Wegow currently operates in 17 countries across Europe and Latin America, as well as in the United States and Australia.
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Eventim UK appoints John Gibson as MD
CTS Eventim has appointed John Gibson as managing director of its London-based British subsidiary, Eventim UK.
Gibson, who started his new role in January, joins Eventim UK from online marketplace Groupon UK, where he headed up the live ticketing business for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
The new Eventim UK MD previously held senior positions at SeatGeek, Vivaticket, Ticketmaster UK and See Tickets.
“I am delighted to have John on board in his role of managing director,” comments Eventim UK chairman Nick Blackburn.
“Gibson brings a wealth of experience with him, including an in-depth knowledge of all aspects of our industry”
“He brings a wealth of experience with him; which includes an in-depth knowledge, and understanding, of all aspects of our industry.”
According to the International Ticketing Yearbook 2019, Eventim UK is one of a number of major international corporates operating in the UK ticketing industry, along with Ticketmaster, See Tickets, AXS and Eventbrite.
Read IQ’s special anniversary feature on CTS Eventim here.
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Bristol Ticket Shop closing after 30 years
Independent UK-based ticketing company Bristol Ticket Shop has announced it is closing down, citing overdue payments from a debtor.
Launched in 1987 as a concession in Virgin shops and then in record retailer Our Price, Bristol Ticket Shop later found its own home in the centre of the UK city of Bristol. With a focus on supporting the local music scene, Bristol Ticket Shop also sold tickets to events such as Glastonbury Festival and Download Festival.
“After more than 30 years being part of Bristol’s incredible music scene, Bristol Ticket Shop is sadly closing,” reads a post on the ticketer’s Facebook page.
“All the staff here are devastated. The list of incredible events we have supplied tickets for is overwhelming. There are so many regular customers, old and new, that we have really enjoyed talking to over the years and we will miss you all dearly.”
“After more than 30 years being part of Bristol’s incredible music scene, Bristol Ticket Shop is sadly closing”
The management team owes the closure to “news that a debtor owing a large amount of money was unlikely to be able pay in a timely manner”, as well as to the illness of the company’s owner, which has “had a large impact on the resilience of the business”.
The company states it is instructing a third party to negotiate with promoters in order to ensure that “there is as little impact to the customer as possible”. Although the ticketer aims “to honour tickets for future events”, it notes this may not always be possible, in which case refunds will be issued.
Bristol music fans have responded to the “sad news”, showing support for the ticketer, which formed a “huge part” of the local live scene.
According to the International Ticketing Yearbook 2019, the primary ticketing business in the UK is “incredibly competitive”, with major international companies including Ticketmaster, See Tickets, AXS, Eventim and Eventim taking a large share of the market.
Many local independent outfits, such as Manchester’s Ticketline, Birmingham’s the Ticket Factory, Leeds’ Ticket Arena and Nottingham’s Gigantic – now majority owned by DEAG – also perform well.
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LN strengthens Latam presence with DG Medios stake
Live Nation has acquired a majority stake in independent Chilean concert promoter DG Medios, as the live entertainment behemoth further strengthens its foothold in Latin America.
IQ calculates that Live Nation has taken a majority shareholding in 19 promoters, festivals and other live music-related businesses worldwide this year.
Santiago-based DG Medios, which was founded by well known regional promoter Carlos Geniso, sold over 330,000 tickets last year and has promoted shows by U2, Rolling Stones, Guns N’ Roses, Paul McCartney and Justin Bieber.
“DG Medios is another important step in expanding our footprint across Latin America”
According to the International Ticketing Yearbook 2019, the promoter is one of a number of local players, along with Lotus and Bizarro, that contribute to “the health of Chile’s live music market”.
Live Nation has co-promoted with DG Medios owner Geniso, who will continue to oversee all operations at the company, for tours by the likes of Bon Jovi, Bruno Mars, Phil Collins, Depeche Mode and Harry Styles.
Live Nation president and CEO Michael Rapino says he is “thrilled to be in business with legendary Chilean promoter Carlos Geniso”, adding that, “DG Medios is another important step in expanding our footprint across Latin America.”
Geniso comments that: “Teaming up with Live Nation will give us access to resources that will be instrumental in growing our substantial roster of shows even further. The DG Medios team and I are excited to provide even more memorable experiences for fans.”
Survey: weekend camping festivals remain on top
A survey carried out by UK ticketing agency Gigantic has found that traditional greenfield camping festivals are still the most popular among fans, despite the emergence of many new kinds of festival experiences.
Out of the 3,020 respondents to the Gigantic Festival Survey, seven out of ten favoured weekend festivals over day events.
Almost two thirds (61%) said they preferred traditional field-based events, with 27% choosing city festivals over all else. Only 7% opted for seaside festivals and a mere 3% said festivals overseas were their top choice.
Regular camping was shown to be more popular than glamping, with 34% preferring regular campsites compared to 11% going for the luxury option or a campervan. A number of respondents preferred staying offsite, either at home (22%) or in a hotel (18%).
Comfort appeared to be creeping up on festivalgoers’ agendas. Nearly half (48%) of respondents said they would pay extra for showers, 34% for phone charging, 24% for a VIP bar, 22% for pre-erected tents and 18% for VIP standing/gold circle.
For just over half of respondents, medium- and small-sized festivals – from 5,000 to 20,000 capacity – are best. Small festivals (5,000 to 12,500) were preferred by 26%, whereas medium festivals, from 12,500 to 20,000, were chosen by 27%.
“People are seeing a big festival a year as a summer holiday with their friends”
The ethics of a festival were deemed “quite important” by 71% of respondents and “really important” for 15%, perhaps reflecting the push for festivals to become more eco-friendly and to present more gender-balanced line-ups in recent years.
In terms of acts, the Killers, Muse, Arctic Monkeys, Radiohead, Oasis, Pink and Kasabian were among the most common choices for desired festival performances in 2020.
“People are seeing a big festival a year as a summer holiday with their friends,” says a spokesperson for the ticketing agency. “This idea of it being more of a holiday is accompanied by the fact that 35% of those surveyed said they would pay for early access, extending that holiday for as long as possible.”
Reporting a record year last year, Gigantic works with promoters including Live Nation, DHP Family and AEG Live; festivals such as Reading and Leeds, Tramlines and Download; and UK venues O2 Academy Brixton, Wembley Stadium and the Royal Albert Hall, among others.
According to the International Ticketing Yearbook 2019, Gigantic is one of the largest independent ticketing agencies in the UK and has sold over two million tickets. The company is currently preparing to launch its own fan-to-fan resale platform.
Concerts axed as unrest builds in Chilean capital
Following the outbreak of anti-government protests, the Chilean government has ordered the cancellation of all “large-scale events”, declaring a state of emergency and imposing a curfew in Santiago and other parts of the country.
The protests began in the capital city of Santiago on Friday (18 October), following a public transport fare hike. Demonstrations later evolved into more general protests over living costs and inequality, spreading to other areas of Chile.
Two performances from celebrity violinist André Rieu at the 17,000-capacity Movistar Arena in Santiago were put on hold following the measures.
“We are deeply sorry for the cancellations and the inconvenience this will cause to those who had bought tickets,” stated local promoter Bizarro Live Entertainment, “but we find ourselves in a situation that is out of our hands.”
Canadian singer Bryan Adams was also due to play at the arena, following shows in Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay. The singer cited “civil unrest” as the reason for the cancellation of today’s (22 October) show.
The one-day Vívela Festival, which was set to take place in Santiago’s Quinta Normal park, was also called off. Colombian band Bomba Estereo, UK electronic group Morcheeba, Jamaican reggae band Inner Circle and Venezuelan duo Mau y Ricky were among acts scheduled to play the festival.
“We are deeply sorry for the cancellations, but we find ourselves in a situation that is out of our hands”
“We are suspending the festival as we received an official statement from the government informing organisers that all large-scale events in the metropolitan area must be cancelled, due to the difficult situation that is going on,” announced festival promoter Street Machine.
Tickets for a show by Argentinian rock band Soda Stereo, due to go on sale today for Banco de Chile customers and on Thursday for the general public, will not be available until further notice, announced Chilean promoter Lotus Producciones.
According to IQ’s International Ticketing Yearbook 2019 (ITY), Chile’s live market has “thrived” in recent years, while South America’s other major touring destinations – Brazil and Argentina – have “faltered”.
“We have our own challenges, but we see the Chilean market as much more stable than the other markets in Latin America and the Caribbean,” Paulo Atienza, CEO of Chile’s leading ticketing company PuntoTicket, told ITY.
Major festivals in the country include Lotus Producciones-promoted Santiago Gets Louder and Lollapalooza Chile. Rock in Rio founder Roberto Medina recently announced that a Chilean edition of the Brazilian mega festival would take place in 2021.
Authenticity, AR, facial recognition: The future of ticket tech
From methods of tackling fraud to improving the visitor experience, ticketing firms are exploring a variety of tools.
High on everyone’s minds is the rapid rise of mobile tickets – as frequently reported in the market profiles throughout ITY 2019. But this is just the start of a mobile-first paradigm shift.
“We’ve got a generation of new consumers coming through now and they don’t just expect their services to be on mobile, they expect them to be mobile first,” says industry veteran Steve Machin, global director of ticketing strategy and innovation at FanDragon. “People are buying tickets now who don’t ‘go online’ to do something, they just use their phone. This move to mobile will make the shift away from CDs look like a slow meander.”
Security is the top priority, says international ticketing consultant Tim Chambers. “Unfortunately, prevention of fraud costs time and resources and all too often organisations fail to plan for worst case, without any regard as to how to recover post-incident, and assume they’ll continue to get away without specialised focus.”
He adds: “Related to this is the issue of combatting automated bots that impact site availability (DDoS), on-sale queueing, event webpage reload, ticket purchase and other operational factors. Unfortunately, as an industry, too little has been done with shared expertise, best practice or market intel.”
Maureen Andersen, president and CEO of the International Ticketing Association (Intix), thinks ticket authenticity is a significant focus for companies when considering how new technology can help them.
“As an industry, too little has been done with shared expertise, best practice or market intel”
“Tickets delivered to your mobile is well established, but what will be more important in this matter is that the distribution is tied to your mobile, for example, by using a barcode that’s refreshed frequently. Ticketmaster has now released SafeTix, which is not unlike other technologies out there, but that the largest ticketing company in the world has done this shows how important authenticity is.”
Launched in May 2019, SafeTix uses a barcode that changes every few seconds, meaning it can’t be copied or screenshotted. Fans can transfer tickets to friends or family using mobile phone numbers or an email address. A new digital ticket is tied to the recipient’s account and phone, each time a ticket is transferred or sold, making the journey of each ticket visible to organisers.
Of course, knowing who all the attendees are provides venues and companies with a rich source of data – an opportunity to track what experiences are valuable to any given consumer.
Generation Z is more comfortable with being tracked in exchange for a fast service, says Andersen. “They know they leave a digital footprint, but they want information right in their hand and they want it immediately. They understand they’re being tracked and they’re okay with it because they get served options and they’re all about options.”
She points to statistics showing that in Las Vegas while 68% of visitors attend a show or event, two thirds of them decide what to see after their arrival, and 60% of event tickets are sold within 72 hours of event. “This is because people are waiting to look at all the options that are fed to them before they make a decision. They’re in the moment. It’s only the older generation that’s worried about being tracked.”
Nonetheless, we are moving towards a world where consumers will have more control over their data. That will affect not just the ticketing industry but all sectors of public-facing commerce, from the motor industry to travel.
“People are waiting to look at all the options that are fed to them before they make a decision”
“This means we will need to be able to deliver hyper-relevant services to individuals even when you don’t know who they are,” says Machin. “You’ll be tracking behaviour in an anonymised way. This is one of the benefits of blockchain.”
FanDragon’s ticket-wallet feature means while the person owning the wallet remains anonymous, their behaviour can be analysed. For example, if a wallet buys tickets every time a certain artist comes to their town, but suddenly stops, that sort of information might be interesting to the client. Similarly, if a wallet has 600 tickets in it, it’s a scalper.
“Tickets are no longer simply ‘a revocable licence to attend the event listed on the front,’ they are a personal communication hub,” says Machin. “Once you buy a ticket, you can have experiences, messaging or content delivered to your phone because the organiser knows you’re going and who you’re going with. It means the event experience can start much sooner. It’s a much deeper relationship but that requires greater responsibility not to impinge on people’s privacy and data.”
My face is my ticket
Using your face to unlock a smartphone has been commonplace since Apple launched FaceID in 2017 (other earlier phones used facial recognition but it could be easily hacked). But when Live Nation Entertainment invested in biometric company Blink Identity in 2018, the prospect of being able to walk into a venue without needing to get your phone or paper ticket out took a step closer to becoming reality.
Justin Burleigh, LN-owned Ticketmaster’s global chief product officer, says: “We didn’t want to have a database of millions of customers’ faces, so instead this technology uses the same mechanism as the facial recognition tech that unlocks many smartphones. By scanning a face and converting that information into code, it negates the need for storing images of people’s faces.
“Facial recognition will be able to create some really compelling experiences for backstage, or VIP personnel control. For example, if you’re carrying some beers and food it will mean you don’t have to reach into your pocket for your phone or ticket to gain access.”
“Facial recognition will be able to create some really compelling experiences for backstage, or VIP personnel control”
However, he adds, “We have a lot more to do in the lab before this gets rolled out. We want to get it right because we know if we get it wrong we won’t be given a second chance.”
It’s not just the world’s biggest ticketing company that’s interested in the technology. Former Ticketmaster CEO and later head of commerce at Twitter, Nathan Hubbard, recently announced a facial recognition-powered ticketing platform of his own, Rival. Its first client is Kroenke Sports and Entertainment, owner of Denver’s Pepsi Center (20,000-cap.), although migrating from AXS had some teething problems.
And while there may be what Machin calls some “ickiness” around the idea of facial recognition at music events at the moment, the technology’s use at airport security is commonplace. And as people become more comfortable with it in this context, that will smooth the path for its arrival in entertainment.
Enhanced real life
Augmented reality is becoming increasingly sophisticated and more common in live entertainment, so how will the ticketing industry respond to that? Andersen reckons the answer will be driven by how much consumers want to buy into these things and what they want to experience.
“Whereas a 50-year-old might want to come into a venue and sit down, buy a hot dog and watch the show, somebody younger wants to engage with technology that recognises them as an individual. You could be watching the game from your seat but also see it from the players’ perspective by looking at your device.”
Other examples include creating 3D virtual venue models that can be expanded using AR. This could mean being able to see a model of the venue before you go to a show and finding out where everything is, as well as seeing sponsorship activations, and even connecting it to a Facebook account to see where your friends are sitting. You could find out where the bar queues are shortest, or where to get your favourite pretzel.
“SafeTix is not unlike other technologies out there, but that the largest ticketing company in the world has done this shows how important authenticity is”
That’s the present situation. But what nascent tech or business models might we see in the near future?
Ticketmaster’s Burleigh says he is excited to see new hardware come online, such as more powerful NFC tech, which would mean people don’t have to take their phone out of their pockets to scan on entry. He would also like to see more powerful cashless opportunities across venues. Andersen suggests a subscription-based model could have potential in the future.
“Like a Netflix model, where you buy something today and have access to it later – for example, if you want to go to a big game or play-off you can get access to early booking because you’ve paid a subscription.”
It’s not without precedent. In the cinema industry, MoviePass allowed people to go see films for a monthly subscription fee. Currently, the venture is in difficulty as the company behind it struggles to control its cash burn. However, US cinema chains AMC Theatres and Cinemark are also running subscription models with some success. AMC’s programme, which allows customers to see three movies a week for $19.95 a month, has over 900,000 subscribers. Could that model be transferred to live? While it’s unlikely to work for the largest companies and artists, it could be more viable for grassroots-level venues and promoters.
Whatever the future holds for ticket tech, Chambers predicts that the fragmented nature of all the options means there will need to be open-API schemes to ensure that a seamless customer delivery service is provided: multiple backends but unified consumer experience.
“This is increasingly evident in [London’s] West End theatre or with the NFL ticket retail and distribution agreements, and will inevitably spread to other sectors and territories to become much more commonplace,” he says.
CTS Eventim takes control of Russian promoter TCI
Live entertainment powerhouse CTS Eventim has expanded into Russia, acquiring 51% of concert promoter Talent Concert International (TCI).
As previously announced at the International Live Music Conference (ILMC) in March, TCI will join the company’s pan-European promoter network Eventim Live. The transaction will be completed in the next few days.
The addition of the Russian promoter brings the total number of countries represented in the network to twelve. The network now comprises 28 promoters, who together organise more than 30 festivals and 5,000 live events each year.
“TCI complements our portfolio perfectly,” comments Eventim CEO Klaus-Peter Schulenberg. “The Russian market is very important to a growing number of internationally popular artists – and few companies bring as many acts from abroad to Russia as TCI. I am sure that our new colleagues will greatly enrich the work of our Eventim Live network of promoters.”
Founded in 1995 by Ed Ratnikov, TCI has organised live performances by Blur, Nick Cave, Deep Purple, Kraftwerk, Limp Bizkit, Motörhead, Rihanna, the Scorpions and Robbie Williams, among others, in its home market. This year, TCI has promoted show by artists including Jennifer Lopez, Rammstein and Whitesnake.
“CTS Eventim is the best possible partner for continuing TCI’s growth story long-term”
TCI founder and president Ratnikov and finance director Nikolay Sinitsyn will continue to serve as the promoter’s senior management, holding the remaining 49% of the company between them.
“CTS Eventim is the best possible partner for continuing TCI’s growth story long-term,” says Ratnikov. “Becoming part of a global player opens up additional opportunities for us and the entire Russian market.”
The TCI founder adds that it is “a great honour” to join Eventim Live, stating that, “we look forward to expanding our new partner’s portfolio with exciting shows, and its geographic reach all the way to the Pacific.”
For Eventim Live managing director Dr Frithjof Pils, the TCI acquisition “strengthens our market position in Europe”, opens up access to “many exciting acts that have long relied on the services of Ed Ratnikov and his team”, and offers Eventim Live promoters a “hassle-free way” to have their acts perform in Russia.
Eventim has owned Russian ticketing provider parter.ru since 2006. Parter this year handled the ticketing for Universiade, “one of the most complex sports projects in Russia”, according to the International Ticketing Yearbook 2019.
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: