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Eventbrite: 30% of ticket sales still for virtual events

Eight months on from the shutdown of nearly all live events, a third of ticket sales on Eventbrite are still for online experiences, according to the US-based ticketing/event-management company.

Even as major events return to markets in Asia and Australasia – and following a temporary return to semi-normality in Europe and North America over the summer – up to 30% of Eventbrite’s ticket volume in the third financial quarter (Q3) of 2020 involved virtual events, says the company’s CFO, Lanny Baker.

Speaking to investors during Eventbrite’s Q3 earnings call, Baker said the continued popularity of online events could point to a “structural” change in the business, even after a vaccine for Covid-19 becomes available.

“When the in-person events have recovered and people have moved from their computer screens back into the real world, we’ve seen that next shift back [to physical], but we’re still talking about 10%, 20%, 30% of ticket volume being for virtual events,” he explained. “Whereas pre-Covid, that number might have been 2%, 3% or 4%.

“So I think there’s been a structural opening of a business opportunity and habit around online events. There are new creators [which were] not necessarily [in] the event marketplace in the past.”

“I think there’s been a structural opening of a business opportunity … around online events”

This continued demand for virtual experiences hasn’t, however, affected ticket sales for physical events: the company reported in September that it saw paid ticket volume grow 17% in August alone, as more fans went to Covid-secure in-person shows.

Eventbrite, which has offices in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, Spain and the Republic of Ireland, reported a 75% year-on-year decline in revenue, to US$21.8 million, in Q3 – an improvement on Q2, where the figure was just $8.4m.

The company says it has also achieved expense savings “ahead of plan” for its $100m cost-cutting scheme, announced in April, reducing net loss to $19.1m, compared to $30.1m in Q3 2019.

“The continued improvement in our results reflects creators’ ingenuity and their confidence in our platform to deliver when it matters most,” comments Eventbrite CEO Julia Hartz. “Activity on our platform rebounded in the third quarter, as creators hosted more events than they did this time last year, and total consumer ticket volume began to approach pre-Covid levels.

“We believe that our platform is uniquely positioned to serve the needs of independent creators, helping them to grow their businesses and lead the recovery of live experiences.”

 


This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.

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Eventbrite upbeat as paid tickets increase 26%

Self-service ticketing specialist Eventbrite says it sold 26% more paid tickets to physical live events in August than July, demonstrating continued pent-up demand for safe in-person experiences.

In a September operating update for investors, the NYSE-traded company revealed total paid ticket volume grew 17% in August 2020, following a 25% increase from June to July. Year on year, sales are down 65% – an improvement on the 82% decline reported in the second quarter of 2020 (April–June).

“The growing activity on our platform reflects the enduring appeal of live events, as well as the ubiquity of the Eventbrite platform,” says Eventbrite co-founder and CEO Julia Hartz (pictured).

“The growing activity on our platform reflects the enduring appeal of live events”

“More [event] creators are leveraging Eventbrite’s self-service platform to deliver engaging live experiences through both online events and a growing number of the smaller, safer in-person gatherings. We are inspired by the resilience and ingenuity of our creators and remain committed to helping them succeed through and beyond the challenges presented by Covid-19.”

EB’s share price has been on a steady incline since crashing in March, reaching a high of US$12.39 at press time, up from $5.86 on 3 April.

The San Francisco-headquartered firm laid off around 500 employees, many from its music division, in the early days of the pandemic as part of a $100m cost-cutting plan, but later affirmed its commitment to live music.

 


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Eventbrite confirms commitment to live

In a month that saw San Francisco-based event management and ticketing company Eventbrite lay off 45% of its staff, including many in its music division, the company’s founders have stated that they are not intending to pivot away from music.

The layoffs, which affected 500 employees, form part of a $100 million coronavirus cost-cutting plan and were carried out due to “the unprecedented shutdown of the global economy”, according to Eventbrite CEO Julia Hartz.

Similarly to other live music executives, including heads of Live Nation, CAA, Endeavor, UTA and Paradigm, Hartz is foregoing her salary for the year to save costs.

In response to reports that the company’s music division was particularly hard hit by the money-saving measures, Hartz told Billboard: “We are not planning to exit music and we’re committed to serving independent creators,” adding, “can you imagine our country without independent live music venues?”

“We are not planning to exit music and we’re committed to serving independent creators”

Hartz states that Eventbrite is using this time to “double down” on improving its platform, adding that the company “has always had a self-service ethos”.

In 2019, almost 950,000 event organisers used the Eventbrite platform, in a year that saw net revenue increase by 12% from the year before to $327m.

The company’s 2017 acquisition of former competitor Ticketfly aimed to create a “powerhouse” for independent venues and promoters, although Eventbrite encountered some issues relating to the integration of the platform, which was completed late last year.

Ticketfly co-founder Andrew Dreskin, stepped down from his role as Eventbrite Music president in May 2019 and stayed on in an advisory role, although reports suggest he may have now departed the company completely, following a pitch to buy back Ticketfly’s assets.

Photo: JD Lasica/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) (cropped)

 


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Eventbrite cuts staff by 45% in $100m cost-saving plan

Event management and ticketing company Eventbrite is laying of 45% of its staff – reportedly between 450 and 500 people – as it implements widespread cost-saving measures.

The workforce reduction was announced as part of a cost-cutting plan, with the company looking to reduce annual expenses by at least $100 million.

The move follows layoffs at other companies in the entertainment industry, including Paradigm and WME parent company Endeavor.

Eventbrite expects to spend between $7m and $10m in severance payments, with an additional $3 to $4m in charges related to facilities and fixed assets.

Reports suggest that Eventbrite’s music division has been particularly affected by the cuts.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has caused massive disruption to the live entertainment and experiences economy and we are taking significant action to navigate this unprecedented time,” says Eventbrite co-founder and CEO Julia Hartz.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has caused massive disruption to live entertainment and we are taking significant action to navigate this unprecedented time”

“We are saddened to see many members of our team depart the company and we are supporting them in every way we possibly can during this tumultuous time. I want to personally thank our talented and dedicated teammates for contributing towards building the leading platform for independent creators.”

Eventbrite shares (EB) have dropped by just over 66% since the end of February, falling from $21.76 to $7.36. The company’s share price rose by more than 10% during trading yesterday (8 March), following the news of layoffs.

Shares in Eventbrite have been in decline since March 2019, as the company continued to work on the integration of ticketing platform Ticketfly, which it acquired in 2017 for $200m.

The company’s 2019 financial report saw net revenue increase by 12% from the year before to $327m and losses of $69m, an increase of over $6m from 2018.

Photo: Stefan Wieland/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0) (cropped)

 


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Eventbrite appoints new CFO following Q2 results

Ticketing and event technology platform Eventbrite has appointed Lanny Baker as chief financial officer, following mixed second quarter financial results.

Baker joins Eventbrite from Yelp, succeeding Randy Befumo in the role. Befumo, who has served as the company’s chief financial officer since 2016, will move into the role of chief strategy officer.

Eventbrite chief executive officer Julia Hartz says she “cannot think of a better partner […] to help lead the company in its next phase of growth” than Baker.

The announcement follows the release of Eventbrite’s Q2 financial report, which showed total revenue for the quarter at $80.8 million, a 19.6% increase compared to Q2 2018. Paid ticket sales were also up from the same period last year, growing 15% to $26.5m.

In a letter to shareholders, the company attributed revenue rise to ticket sales and the introduction of its add-ons feature, which allows event organisers to promote premium and ancillary offerings to customers.

However, the results showed an operating loss of $14.5m for the quarter, up from the $13.2m from Q2 2018.

“I cannot think of a better partner than Lanny [Baker] to help lead the company in its next phase of growth”

Adjusted EBITDA (earning before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) was down from the previous year, from $1.2m to $900,000.

In Wednesday’s earnings call, chief strategy officer Befumo stated the company expected EBITDA for the next quarter to be down further, “in the range of minus $9m to minus $5m”. The bulk of this loss, explained Befumo, would be related to the impact of the failed Roxodus festival.

Eventbrite pledged to refund all ticketholders out of its own pocket, following the last minute cancellation of Roxodus festival in Canada. MF Live, the company behind the festival, has since filed for bankruptcy.

The upcoming quarter will also be affected by “migration impact as we sunset the Ticketfly platform”. However, the company states it is “encouraged by the progress” it has made with the Ticketfly integration, with fewer than 100 clients left to migrate. The intention is to have all tickets sold on the Eventbrite platform by October 1.

In the earnings call, Befumo told investors that there was “no easy quantification” of how many customers would remain with Eventbrite after migrating from Ticketfly.

The company put its modest growth in Q1 down to issues relating to the integration of Ticketfly, which it acquired in 2017.

 


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Eventbrite Music president Dreskin to step down

Ticketfly co-founder Andrew Dreskin is taking a step back from his role as Eventbrite Music president and will not be standing for re-election to the board of directors as he transitions into an advisory role in early June.

Dreskin became president of Eventbrite in 2017, following the company’s US$200 million acquisition of Ticketfly from Pandora, and joined the executive board in early 2018.

Prior to Ticketfly, Dreskin co-founded TicketWeb, which he sold to Ticketmaster in 2000.

“After more than a decade at Ticketfly, two acquisitions, and all told almost 20 years running ticketing companies, it feels like the right time for me to transition into a different role,” Dreskin told Billboard.

“It has been a tremendous honour to lead both Ticketfly, and Eventbrite’s music division for the past couple years. I have mad respect for the team at Eventbrite and continue to believe that we are building the best music ticketing platform in the world.”

Dreskin adds that he is “stepping down but not stepping out” and has entered into a “new multi-year advisory agreement” with Eventbrite, remaining the “main point of contact” for his existing roster of clients.

“After more than a decade at Ticketfly, two acquisitions, and all told almost 20 years running ticketing companies, it feels like the right time for me to transition into a different role”

“We’re grateful for Andrew’s dedication to leading Eventbrite’s music division since Ticketfly and Eventbrite came together nearly two years ago, culminating in the release of the Eventbrite Music platform late last year,” says Eventbrite co-founder and chief executive Julia Hartz.

“Today’s news does not change our fervent commitment to the independent live music community both in North America and globally, and our clients and the team that serves them remain our highest priority,” states Hartz.

The new Eventbrite Music platform, a ticketing solution aimed at mid-sized independent venues and promoters, launched in November 2018 as the company announced plans to retire the Ticketfly brand. All existing Ticketfly clients will be moved onto the new platform by the end of the year.

The transitioning of Ticketfly to the Eventbrite platform has not proved straightforward. The company cited the integration process as a reason for its “modest growth” in the first financial quarter of this year. Eventbrite’s shares dropped 30% to $17 after releasing its Q1 report, which detailed almost 70% losses as compared to Q1 2018.

Almost a month after the publishing the report, the company’s shares continue to hover around the $16 mark, 30% below its IPO price of $23.

 


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Eventbrite grows revenue, profit and sales in first public financials

Eventbrite’s first financial quarter as a public company saw big increases in all key performance indicators, with double-digit growth in turnover, gross profit and ticket sales.

The San Francisco-based ticketing/event management business, which launched on the New York Stock Exchange earlier this year, posted year-on-year growth in revenue of 45.1% (US$73.6m), paid ticket sales of 32.2% ($23.9m) and gross profit of 41.7% ($42.2m), as well as increasing adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) from $1m to $11.2m.

While operating loss widened, from $10.4m to $13.1m, MarketWatch notes that “nearly half” of Eventbrite’s losses “were credited to stock-based compensation, which can be especially heavy in the first quarter after an initial public offering” (IPO).

Its net loss was $35.5m, which also included a one-off $17.2m loss on extinguishing debt.

Despite the positive headline figures, the Q3 report sent Eventbrite’s share price tumbling more than 8%, reports CNBC, after the company missed earnings expectations: Analysts predicted a loss equivalent to 47¢ share, rather than the $1.24 reported.

The picture is also complicated slightly by amortisation (or regular payments) related to the company’s $200m acquisition of Ticketfly last September, with another $2.8m in amortised losses forecast for the fourth quarter of 2018.

“We’ve tapped into a large, under-served global opportunity”

However, it beat revenue expectations by nearly $2m – reporting $73.6m against a predicted $71.7m – and, at the time of writing, its ~$31 share price is still up more than 30% above the IPO price of $23.

“Eventbrite is succeeding, even as its stock price is retreating,” summarises the Motley Fool analyst Rick Munarriz.

Speaking to investors during the company’s Q3 earnings call, Eventbrite CEO Julia Hartz (pictured) highlighted its recent Eventbrite Music launch, integration with YouTube and continued “efficient creator acquisition and predictable revenue retention” as positive indicators for Q4 and beyond.

“We’ve tapped into a large, under-served global opportunity in the mid-market of live experiences, and our goal is to help fuel this large and growing market,” she said.

Eventbrite CFO Randy Befumo added the company expects net revenue of $72–74m in Q4, “representing 16.4% year-over-year growth”. He also revealed that 2019 will likely see the business “taking targeted pricing actions in particular markets, in order to drive greater volume” of ticket sales.


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Eventbrite acquires Canadian ticketer Picatic

Eventbrite has announced it has acquired Vancouver-based ticketing and event registration platform Picatic. The deal is the latest in a busy twelve months for the global ticketing platform, which has already seen the acquisition of Dutch ticketers Ticketscript, US-based Ticketfly and the Spanish Ticketea.

Built on the idea of empowering event creators, Picatic has previously made its name through its “elegantly simple” software. Jayesh Parmar, CEO and co-founder, speaks passionately about events and the community they create. “Events are deeply rooted in our company’s DNA and we share the same passion for live experiences as the team at Eventbrite,” he says.

“Joining forces brings tremendous value to our loyal customers, who will now benefit from Eventbrite’s powerful platform. We’re excited to share our talented development community and have a broader impact in the Canadian market and beyond.”

“We are particularly inspired by [Picatic’s] commitment to empowering purpose-driven creators to drive positive change in their communities”

With employees in Calgary, Toronto and Montreal, the acquisition will further expand Eventbrite’s Canadian offering. Parmar will join the ticketing giant’s team to continue leading Picatic operations in Vancouver.

Julia Hartz, CEO and co-founder of Eventbrite, has commented on the deal, saying the two ticketing platforms share the same passion for live experiences. “We are particularly inspired by [Picatic’s] commitment to empowering purpose-driven creators to drive positive change in their communities,” she adds.

“Eventbrite has a long-standing commitment to Canada. Vancouver is emerging as a lively tech hub, full of world-class talent and innovative companies, and we feel a strong connection to it as a technology and cultural centre.

“We look forward to continuing to expand our local team and empowering our creators in this vibrant market.”

 


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