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Vivendi grows ticketing, live revenue in Q1

Vivendi Village (VV), the division of French media giant Vivendi related to live entertainment, has recorded a strong first financial quarter for 2019, with particular growth in ticketing revenues.

The Vivendi subsidiary includes ticketing operations See Tickets, Digitick and Paylogic, as well as live event producers Vivendi Talents & Live and promoter Olympia Production, which owns festivals and venues in France, the UK and Africa.

Overall VV revenues were up 0.4% from the first quarter of 2018 and 16.4% at constant currency and perimeter, which reflects the impact of the acquisition of ticketing technology platform Paylogic in April last year.

Ticketing revenues amounted to 15m, an increase of 38.3% compared to the first quarter of 2018. The company attributes the success to the acquisition of Paylogic, which enabled further expansion throughout Europe and access to Paylogic clients including Tomorrowland, ID&T, Amsterdam Dance Event and Awakenings.

In 2018, Vivendi’s ticketing platforms turned over 58m, selling a record 20m tickets.

The company’s live activities recorded revenues of 7m, an increase of 57.4% at constant currency and perimeter as compared to the same period of last year.

Overall, Vivendi’s group revenue saw an increase of 10.7% as compared to Q1 of last year

In February 2019, Olympia Production signed an agreement for the co-production, ticketing and communication of the ODP Talence festival in southwest France, in line with its policy to develop regional festivals in France. The festival, which celebrated its fourth edition last year, received 17,000 visitors over three days.

Olympia Production acquired popular French music festival Garorock (50,000-cap.) in October last year.

CanalOlympia is expected to open its twelfth venue on April 17 in Brazzaville, the Republic of Congo, adding to existing venues in Guinea, Niger, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Benin, Togo and Gabon.

Overall, Vivendi’s group revenue saw an increase of 10.7% as compared to Q1 of last year, amounting 3,459m.

The French media conglomerate mainly attributes this to the growth of Universal Music Group, which grew revenue to 1,502m, up 18.8% at constant currency and perimeter and 22.9% on an actual basis.

New releases from Ariana Grande and Billie Eilish, as well as continued sales of the A Star is Born soundtrack and Queen albums contributed to UMG’s first quarter success.

Vivendi is aiming to sell up to 50% of UMG’s share capital to one or more partners “likely to accelerate UMG’s development and increase its value”.

 


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64,000 Tomorrowland-goers compromised in data breach

The personal data of tens of thousands of attendees of Tomorrowland 2014 has been compromised in a suspected cyberattack, the festival has confirmed.

Personal information of 64,000 people who bought tickets through Paylogic, including names, email addresses and postcodes, may have been stolen after hackers gained access to an old festival database, although sensitive data such as payment information was not affected, according to Tomorrowland press coordinator Debby Wilmsen

Speaking to Flemish-language daily De Standaard, Wilmsen says the Belgian festival, one of the world’s largest electronic dance music (EDM) events, reported the breach to the Dutch Data Protection Authority before contacting customers.

“The managers of the Paylogic ticketing system noticed some unusual activity on an older system,” she explains. “After careful analysis, it appeared that an old database from Tomorrowland 2014 was responsible. The server in question was immediately taken offline.”

“An old database from Tomorrowland 2014 was responsible. The server in question was immediately taken offline”

“When we were informed about this by Paylogic, we first informed the Data Protection Authority. We then decided to send an email to all affected visitors to inform them.”

The data that was compromised, she adds, “only contains [visitors’] names, email address, gender, age and postal code. The payment details, passwords and addresses of the users are not included.”

News of the Paylogic breach follows similar hacks of other ticketing systems, including Ticketmaster and, more seriously, Eventbrite’s Ticketfly, both this summer.

In a statement, Paylogic (now owned by France’s Vivendi) says it has “taken all necessary actions” to prevent access to other old databases. “We also continue to invest in the security of our system,” it adds. “This incident only affects Tomorrowland 2014 and not our other customers.”

 


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Strong showing for ticketing and live in Vivendi’s H1

While most of the column inches dedicated to Vivendi’s H1 2018 results have centred on its plans to sell up to 50% of Universal Music Group “to one or more strategic partners” and not via an IPO, the French conglomerate’s latest financials also underline the strength of its many live businesses, with record festival crowds and a powerful ticketing unit incorporating the recently acquired Paylogic.

Vivendi Village – which includes Vivendi Ticketing (See Tickets UK and US, Digitick and Paylogic, acquired in April) live event producers Vivendi Talents&Live and Olympia Production, and several music venues and festivals – turned over €52 million in the first six months of 2018. While that’s a slight decline on the €56m seen in H1 2017, the 2018 figure includes the cost of the acquisitions of Paylogic and ad agency Havas.

Following the Paylogic deal, ticketing accounts for half of Vivendi Village’s revenues, giving Vivendi a “strong and complementary presence in three major markets: it is a leading player in the United Kingdom, it offers significant opportunities for synergies in Continental Europe and it is strongly growing as challenger in the United States”, according to the financial report.

Beyond ticketing, Vivendi’s festivals also saw success in the first half of the year. France’s Les Déferlantes, Brive Festival and Live au Campo – all managed by Vivendi Village – saw their attendance rates grow by 17%, 30% and 15%, respectively, and the company is plotting further expansion in the French festival market with the rumoured acquisition of Garorock and the launch of a new event in Limoges in 2019.

Total live revenues grew 36.7% year on year.

Outside of Europe and North America, meanwhile, a strong performance in Africa, and intentions to expand these operations, has also proved fruitful. An additional CanalOlympia venue was opened on 1 June 2018 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso – Vivendi’s second in the city and the ninth in its growing west African live venue/cinema network.

 


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See Tickets parent Vivendi ‘to acquire Garorock’

Vivendi, the parent company of See Tickets, Digitick and Universal Music Group, is in talks to acquire Garorock festival, according to French media.

Le Républicain reports the French media giant, majority owned by Vincent Bolloré’s Bolloré group, is set to finalise the acquisition of the 50,000-daily cap. festival this weekend. Vivendi already owns Brive Festival in Corrèze and Festival des Déferlantes in in Argelès-sur-Mer.

Garorock 2018, scheduled to wrap up on Sunday, was headlined by Indochine, Marilyn Manson, DJ Snake and Macklemore. The fourth and final day, Sunday 1 July, was partially cancelled after the Marmande site was evacuated owing to inclement weather.

Vivendi acquired ticketing technology platform Paylogic earlier this year, in a deal that it said forms part of plans to create a “global ticketing network spanning Europe and US”.

 


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See Tickets expands European presence with Paylogic buy

French media giant Vivendi, the parent company of See Tickets, has acquired Netherlands-based Paylogic, putting in motion ambitious plans for what is calls a “global ticketing network spanning Europe and US”.

Paylogic – previously owned by LiveStyle/SFX Entertainment, and acquired by Vivendi/See for an undisclosed sum – is, along with Ticketmaster, CTS Eventim and Ticketpoint, one of four main players in the Dutch ticketing market, according to the International Ticketing Yearbook 2017. According to Vivendi, the company sells more than five million tickets annually in more than ten countries.

The acquisition of Paylogic means Vivendi now has ticketing operations in the UK and US (See Tickets), France (Digitick), the Netherlands, Spain, Belgium and Germany, employing more than 500 people and projected to sell 20m+ tickets a year for music, cultural and sporting events.

Paylogic’s clients include leading European EDM festival brands and promoters such as Tomorrowland, ID&T, Amsterdam Dance Event and Awakenings.

See Tickets US has simultaneously entered into an agreement with LiveStyle and its subsidiaries to ticket its US festivals and events, which include Electric Zoo (pictured), Miami’s Life in Color, Sunset Music Festival in Tampa and Spring Awakening in Chicago.

“We are delighted to acquire Paylogic,” comments See Tickets CEO Rob Wilmshurst. “It is a clear statement of our intention to grow our activities in Europe and the US.

“We are delighted to acquire Paylogic. It is a clear statement of our intention to grow our activities in Europe and the US”

“We warmly welcome the Paylogic team to the wider Vivendi family and look forward to sharing an agenda of growth, service quality and technological progression.”

Vivendi bought See Tickets (UK) in 2011, and in 2014 opened the company’s first US office, in Los Angeles. The company acquired EDM ticketing platform Flavorus, also from SFX, in June 2016, later integrating it into See Tickets US.

See was formerly owned by Lord Lloyd-Webber’s Really Useful Group, passing to Joop van den Ende’s Stage Entertainment in 2008, which merged it into Stage Ticketing International. Other companies formerly part of Stage’s See Tickets group were not part of the Vivendi deal, with ownership of Sherpa in Belgium passing to Ticketmaster, and Ticketonline (now oeticket) in Austria and Entradas in Spain to CTS Eventim.

In addition to ticketing, Vivendi has interests in TV and film (Canal+ Group), recorded music (Universal Music Group), video games (Ubisoft and Gameloft), online video (Dailymotion) and venue management (L’Olympia in Paris and several in west Africa).

Its 2017 turnover was €10.8 billion.

 


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Dutch ticketers comply with drip pricing ban

Tickets sold online in the Netherlands are now listed with all ‘unavoidable’ costs, such as booking and processing fees, listed upfront, following a successful intervention by the Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM).

ACM in July warned the country’s leading ticket agencies – which, according to the International Ticketing Yearbook 2017, are Ticketmaster, Eventim, Ticketpoint and Paylogic – that all extra costs must be listed in the ‘base price’ of the ticket, giving them until 1 October to comply. ACM’s counterpart in Canada, the Competition Bureau, followed suit the following week, warning sellers they could face court action unless they ceased drip pricing online.

Under Dutch law, ‘avoidable costs’, such as optional extras or upgrades, may be displayed at a later stage in the booking process.

“ACM has established that the sector has turned a corner,” comments Bernadette van Buchem, director of ACM’s consumer department. “Trade organisations have played a positive role in that process.

“Consumers are now able to see at the start of the booking process what a ticket will cost them, including all unavoidable costs. This will enable them to compare prices better. Providers are able to compete more fairly on price.”

 


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Paylogic integrates Make it Social for group booking

Edinburgh-based start-up Make it Social has announced a strategic partnership with Paylogic that will see its proprietary group-booking technology integrated into the Dutch ticketing company’s entire platform.

Make it Social’s application program interface (API) distributes planning responsibility for group bookings and automatically splits and processes payment. On the new Make it Social-enhanced Paylogic platform, an ‘invite friends’ button will trigger a group creation pop-up, allowing users to invite their friends via email or SMS. If invitees decide to join the group, each is walked through booking and payment, and the check-out amount is based on the total price split, with each group member paying his or her share only.

It has already facilitated several group bookings for Mysteryland 2016 for groups of up to 20 people.

“An excited fan who convinces others to attend a festival is one of the best marketing tools in the industry”

“An excited fan who convinces others to attend a festival is one of the best marketing tools in the industry,” says Jan Willem Van der Meer, international CEO of Paylogic, one of Europe’s fastest-growing ticket agencies. “Make it Social is a terrific tool that’ll help fans buy tickets with their friends – and, as a result, help our events sell out quicker. This new partnership is yet another way for Paylogic to make its platform even more useful for our customers.”

Make it Social published a study earlier this year demonstrating that 25 per cent of social group bookings – defined as events, including concerts, sporting events, films and holidays, booked in informal groups of two or more people – are abandoned sometime during the planning process, mostly due to wrangling over group members’ preferences and payments.