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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 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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