fbpx

PROFILE

MY SUBSCRIPTION

LOGOUT

x

The latest industry news to your inbox.

    

I'd like to hear about marketing opportunities

    

I accept IQ Magazine's Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

DEAG acquires Germany’s Classic Open Air

DEAG has enhanced its presence in the classical and jazz market with the acquisition of classical music festival Classic Open Air.

The German live entertainment group has acquired 85% of the shares in the event, which celebrated its 30th anniversary this year, via its DEAG Classics AG subsidiary.

Launched in 1992, Classic Open Air has grown under the direction of Gerhard Kämpfe und Mario Hempel to attract around 25,000 to 30,000 visitors each year to the Gendarmenmarkt in Berlin. Highlights have included evenings with Till Brönner, Sarah Connor, Katie Melua, José Carreras, Al Jarreau, the Scorpions, Earth Wind & Fire, Montserrat Caballé, Udo Jürgens, Chris de Burgh, Roger Cicero and Joja Wendt.

“We are adding an attractive festival series to our event portfolio, which has already hosted many top national and international stars in recent years,” say DEAG CEO Peter Schwenkow and Jacqueline Zich, divisional board member of DEAG Classics AG. “We are delighted to be able to contribute to the further development of Classic Open Air with our live expertise and outstanding network.”

“DEAG has the potential to make this unique event even more international”

As well as expanding its activities and market position in the classics and jazz segment, DEAG says it expects to achieve synergy effects in the concert business and in the acquisition of artists, among other areas.  The deal will also increase the volume of DEAG’s ticketing business.

Hempel, MD of Media On-Line, the organiser of Classic Open Air, will remain a shareholder and continue to provide long-term support and advice to the company together with DEAG Classics AG.

“I am very pleased to have found the right partner in Peter Schwenkow and DEAG Classics AG for the further development of Classic Open Air at Gendarmenmarkt, which will celebrate its 30th anniversary this year,” says Hempel. “DEAG has the potential to make this unique event even more international at one of the world’s most beautiful venues and I am very much looking forward to being able to accompany this.”

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

DEAG reports biggest summer in company history

DEAG has reported the most successful summer in its 44-year history, with more than three million tickets sold for the promoter’s events.

A record total of 3.1m people are scheduled to attend DEAG shows in Germany, UK, Ireland, Switzerland and Denmark between June and August.

Highlights so far have included Stuttgart’s Kesselfestival, which attracted 50,000 visitors for the first time last weekend. A similar number is expected at the upcoming Sion Sous Les Etoiles festival, along with an open air Die Ärzte concert in Thun, both in Switzerland.

Via its Kilimanjaro Live subsidiary, it has also either promoted or co-promoted stadium concerts by Ed Sheeran and Stereophonics in the UK and Tom Jones at Live at Chelsea. Allied to shows by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and Kiss in Germany, as well as the Rock the Ring festival in Switzerland, DEAG welcomed close to 1.1m paying customers in June alone.

“It’s a great feeling to finally be back on track after the challenging months brought on by corona”

“It’s a great feeling to finally be back on track after the challenging months brought on by corona,” says DEAG CEO Peter Schwenkow. “Considering the rising costs and limited availability of personnel and material, my unconditional thanks go to our organisers, partners and employees for their great commitment to artists and the audiences.”

The group has already sold 1.3m tickets in July for concerts by the likes of Iron Maiden, Anna Netrebko, Die Toten Hosen in Switzerland, the Scottish festival Belladrum and the Nature One and Ruhr-in-Love festivals. Together with the already very good sales for August 2022.

Schwenkow predicted a bumper year when speaking to IQ earlier this year.

“We are very much convinced we will see a record year, just by delivering the 5,000-plus shows we have on sale,” he said. “Probably not with the full profit margins due to lack of personnel and by accepting higher costs at ticket prices from 2020 and 2021, but still strong.”

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

DEAG on the road to recovery after strong 2021

Deutsche Entertainment (DEAG) has reported a strong fourth quarter and a significant increase in revenue and earnings in the financial year 2021.

The Berlin-based live entertainment group saw its revenue hit €91 million in 2021, up 82% from €49.9m in 2020.

In addition, EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation) rose by 144% from €9m in 2020 to €22.1m in 2021.

DEAG says the increases in earnings and revenue are down to “a significant upturn in operating activities” in the second half of 2021.

The promoter and ticket agency owns businesses in Germany, Switzerland, the Republic of Ireland and the UK – which has been fully open since last summer.

“DEAG has weathered the pandemic comparatively well over the past two years, which have not been easy for the entire live entertainment industry due to Covid-19,” says professor Peter Schwenkow. “We stand on strong legs, have successfully continued our expansion course in Germany and Europe and are currently experiencing an increasing return to normal for our business activities in all our core markets and high demand for tickets for concerts and events.”

“We are excellently positioned for future growth with our broad portfolio of events and our strong financial position”

Last year, the company delisted from the stock market after 23 years as a listed company, with CEO Peter Schwenkow telling IQ that DEAG could raise more funds as a private company than on the financial markets.

The company later announced it raised more than €6m to fund future acquisitions in “key markets” such as literary events production company Fane Productions in the UK.

“We are excellently positioned for future growth with our broad portfolio of events and our strong financial position,” continues Schwenkow. “Our ticket sales are at an above-average level and we have started the current year with plenty of tailwind.

“In the UK, booking levels are already back to pre-crisis levels and in our other core markets they are approaching 2019 levels again, the year before the corona pandemic broke out. We will offer visitors hundreds of events over the next few months and set off event fireworks.”

Schewnkow recently told IQ the company was seeing a 50-80% increase in ticket sales compared to pre-pandemic.

In view of the recovery in its core markets, strong ticket sales and growth from the companies acquired in 2021, DEAG says it expects a significant improvement in EBITDA and further revenue increases in 2022.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

DEAG CEO bullish as German ‘Freedom Day’ confirmed

DEAG CEO Peter Schwenkow is predicting a record 2022 after the German government unveiled its roadmap back to full capacity live events.

With most coronavirus rules already or about to be lifted in the UK, Denmark, Sweden, and the Netherlands, Germany has now confirmed a gradual, three-step approach to reopening, culminating in a long-awaited “Freedom Day” on 20 March, amid falling infection numbers.

Beginning with the removal of restrictions on private indoor meetings for the vaccinated, capacity limits on major outdoor events will be raised from 10,000 to 25,000 (or 75% capacity) on 4 March, with clubs also allowed to reopen from that date. Most other Covid curbs will then be axed from 20 March, although basic protective measures such as mask-wearing will remain.

Berlin-based DEAG reported a 126% increase in sales in its most recent financial report, and Schwenkow tells IQ he is confident of the touring market is on an upward trajectory, while acknowledging the ongoing issues it faces with regards to rescheduled shows, re-staffing and the supply chain.

“We are very much convinced we will see a record year”

“We are very much convinced we will see a record year, just by delivering the 5,000-plus shows we have on sale,” he says. “Probably not with the full profit margins due to lack of personnel and by accepting higher costs at ticket prices from 2020 and 2021, but still strong.”

Over in Austria, where measures will be lifted on 5 March, Goodlive Artists Austria’s Silvio Huber warns there are still major obstacles on the live sector’s road to recovery.

“We are glad that restrictions will be lifted soon. It’s about time after two years of uncertainty, worries and nearly no shows,” he tells IQ. “On the other hand, we will face lots of challenges and 2022 will be a tough ride for sure. The market is packed with shows, there is an immense lack of experienced local crews and we will see a significant rise in production costs, rentals and more.

“Additionally we shouldn’t forget that we are not used to a pre-pandemic workload yet! I guess this will be the hardest challenge for our industry this year. I’m really looking forward though as I’m convinced we will overcome all these difficulties.”

“The sale of tickets for regularly planned events will only start slowly and the market will only recover after several months”

Switzerland will also lift almost all pandemic restrictions from midnight on 18 February. Swiss trade body Alliance of Organizer Associations has welcomed the planned easing, but pointed out that it will be months before public confidence is restored and ticket sales return to pre-pandemic levels.

“On the one hand, the existing measures and the cautious behaviour of the public led to the cancellation or postponement of almost all major events planned until the second quarter of 2022,” it said in a statement. “In the same period, almost all events with international artists had to be postponed or cancelled. This presents the industry with the problem of a production backlog and the resulting oversaturation of the market. It can therefore be assumed that the sale of tickets for regularly planned events will only start slowly and the market will only recover after several months.

“On the other hand, the event industry is subject to numerous international dependencies, which – despite easing in Switzerland – continues to pose planning uncertainties for the industry.

“These special circumstances and difficulties in the event industry must be taken into account by ensuring support and compensation measures for as long as there are restrictions and also for an after-effect period of at least 12 months. The latter is also urgently indicated because the lead time for planning large events is several months to one and a half years.”

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

DEAG rebounds as UK business boosts Q3 earnings

Berlin-based Deutsche Entertainment Group AG (DEAG) has reported a 126% increase in sales for Q3 2021, thanks largely to the performance of its UK business.

After the first six months of the year were severely impacted by the pandemic, sales in the third quarter soared from €4 million to €16.7m, while EBITDA rose by 617% from €600,000 to €4.3m.

The upturn is mostly attributed to the UK, DEAG’s operating most important market outside Germany, where concerts are already taking place again at full capacity. Its Kilimanjaro Live subsidiary has organised sold-out concerts and tours by the likes of Gorillaz in the region. The first events have also been held in Germany.

Sales revenues amounted to €24.1m whereas, in the nine-month period in 2020 when the first quarter was only slightly affected by the pandemic, revenues were €39.1m.

DEAG and the entire live entertainment industry are finally gaining momentum again

“DEAG and the entire live entertainment industry are finally gaining momentum again after well over a year without concerts and events,” says company CEO Peter Schwenkow. “We look forward to offering our visitors hundreds of concerts and events in the months to come and expect to achieve a significant increase in earnings in the fourth quarter.

“In the meantime, the situation with the epidemic in Europe is leading to a daily reassessment of the current situation in all national markets. We are adequately protected against possible risks arising for us from the currently rising corona figures by extensive measures taken by the respective country governments and our insurance coverage. Our very robust financial position and a uniquely high event density for 2022 show our excellent positioning for growth in the coming year.”

The group also credits its ticketing platforms, the companies acquired in 2021 as part of DEAG’s acquisition and integration strategy, together with the provision of new services, for the improved performance. In addition, it mentions the enormous cost-cutting programme in the group as well as inflows from subsidy programmes, which DEAG has taken advantage of in all national markets, and its continued full insurance coverage.

DEAG, which reports strong advance sales for events in 2022, has expanded its successful Christmas Garden format to 18 locations – eight of them in other European countries – in the 2021/2022 season. New additions in Germany include Cologne, Frankfurt/Main and Hanover, as well as internationally in Paris, Barcelona and Windsor Park in London.

“Based on these, the significant revival in the UK and growth impulses from the companies acquired in 2021, DEAG expects another significant increase in earnings with high visibility in the fourth quarter of 2021,” concludes the report.

Last week, Munich-based live entertainment giant CTS Eventim posted “encouraging” financial results for Q3 2021, powered by improved ticket sales.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Schwenkow predicts open-air shows this summer

Concert promoters should be able to stage outdoor events, as well as smaller indoor shows, this summer, DEAG’s Peter Schwenkow has predicted.

“When we have around 80% of people who have been vaccinated, by June or July, we should be able to hold smaller and open-air events,” Schwenkow, CEO of the German promoter, told yesterday’s Tagesspiegel.

Schwenkow also said that organisers should be free to restrict entry to events to those who have already had the coronavirus vaccine, or who can produce a negative Covid-19 test at the door, reports the DPA news agency.

“Why not let 2,000 people into the [Berlin] Philharmonie when they have all been tested and vaccinated? Organisationally and technically, this is not a problem,” he continued. “The question is whether you can find an official who would approve it.”

“Why not let 2,000 people into the Berlin Philharmonie when they have all been tested and vaccinated?”

Speaking to IQ last month, Schwenkow said he sees 2021 as a year of largely domestic touring and smaller shows, with a full return to normality in summer 2022 through a combination of vaccines and rapid testing.

“It’s a miracle that they could develop the vaccine in under 12 months,” he said, “but the miracle is there. By end of the year, everybody who wants to be will be vaccinated.

“We have been wishing since March that someone could help us out of this, and now they can. Of course, speedy testing and vaccinations are easier for 5,000 people than 80,000, so while the former I think will be possible by winter [2021] we’ll have to wait until summer 2022 to have the full 80,000 people at our Nature One festival, for example.”

He echoed this prediction in the Tagesspiegel interview, saying it would be at least April or May 2022 before international artists – especially Americans – will be touring Germany, presenting a unique opportunity for “local entertainers”.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

DEAG heralds open-air concert success

German live entertainment giant DEAG has had a successful summer season so far, profiting from recent European investments.

DEAG sold 110,000 tickets for open-air events Sion Sous Les Étoiles in Switzerland, Scotland’s Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival and Germany’s Nature One in Germany. All events were sold out.

DEAG made three promoter acquisitions last month, most recently taking a majority stake in Sion Sous Les Étoiles (Sion under the stars) promoter Live Music Production, along with sister company Live Music Entertainment.

A few weeks before, the powerhouse bought into Livestyle’s German subsidiary I-Motion, the promoter of rave event Nature One.

“We are not only contributing to strengthening our profitability, but also providing growth impetus in our ticketing business”

DEAG increased its shareholding in German ticketer MyTicket, which provided the ticketing for Kilimanjaro-promoted Belladrum, in January.

“We are supplementing our organic growth by expanding our own successful entertainment formats with very selective M&A activities,” comments DEAG chief executive Peter Schwenkow.

“All three open-air events are great proof of how successful we are. We are not only contributing to strengthening our profitability, but also providing growth impetus in our ticketing business. Via MyTicket we sell tickets for all our events, as well as third-party content.”

DEAG has also recently taken a majority stake in Stuttgart-based promoter C2 Concerts.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

DEAG takes control of Christian Doll’s C2 Concerts

Deutsche Entertainment AG (DEAG) has revealed the first of its in-the-works European investments, today (3 June) announcing the acquisition of a majority stake in Stuttgart-based C2 Concerts.

The stake in C2 Concerts, a musical producer, tour operator and local promoter in southwest Germany, rounds off DEAG’s regional coverage in the country. The live entertainment company also has representation in Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, North Rhine-Westphalia and Frankfurt/Main.

The move marks the continuation of DEAG’s “buy-and-build” strategy. In its recent Q1 financial report, the German promoter alluded to the C2 acquisition as one of a number of ongoing investments expected to generate sales growth in its core markets of Germany, England and Switzerland.

Founded by Christian Doll and Christian Ludewig in 2010, C2 Concerts has expanded from its origins as a mainly local outfit to become a national tour operator. The company achieved turnover of €7 million in 2018, selling around 400,000 tickets for 200 events. By acquiring a stake in the concert promoter, DEAG aims to boost the ticketing side of its business via MyTicket, which the live entertainment company fully acquired in January.

DEAG has worked with C2 Concerts for a number of years. In 2018, the promoters launched the Christmas Garden in Stuttgart, attracting over 125,000 visitors. The format will be rolled out at two further locations in southwest Germany over the coming years.

“With DEAG, we are looking forward to intensifying our cooperation with a first-class partner in the live entertainment business. Both sides will benefit from this”

Due to past collaboration, the DEAG management board expects rapid integration of C2 Concerts into its group.

“The even closer cooperation with C2 Concerts in the future will give us the opportunity to continue growing profitably with an extended value-added chain,” says DEAG chief executive Peter Schwenkow.

As well as securing the company’s regional presence, Schwenkow also notes that the C2 Concerts investment offers “significant synergy potential in the live entertainment and ticketing business.”

“With DEAG, we are looking forward to intensifying our cooperation with a first-class partner in the live entertainment business,” comments C2 Concerts managing director and co-founder Doll. “Both sides will benefit from this.”

The DEAG executive board believes that, as part of the DEAG Group, C2 Concerts can realistically expect medium-term sales growth to over €10m.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Quadruple Deutsche: Four decades of DEAG

At one point in our interview – after taking us through four decades of live events history and entrepreneurship on the highest level – Peter Schwenkow pauses and says: “Which brings us to the answer to a question you have yet to ask: Why are you still doing this?”

Frankly, it had never occurred to IQ to ask why he’s still doing this. The promoter recently expanded the company’s presence in the UK market by buying Flying Music, its turnover is more than €108 million in the last three quarters and it’s back in profit after a turbulent 2016.

He’s recently had hit tours with Disney on Ice, Ed Sheeran, Aerosmith, Iron Maiden and Kiss, and has 2.2 million tickets already sold for 2018. Now, aged 64, he seems to still have the same joy for the business he discovered more than 40 years ago.

“It must have been 1974 or ’75. After completing my school exams in Hamburg, I was working as a tour manager for Karsten Jahnke. Because I had my own car and a driver’s licence, I was the one picking up artists like Ulrich Roski or Mike Krüger from the airport, and driving them around northern Germany and Hamburg,” Schwenkow remembers.

One person had a bigger impact on him than anyone else had at that point: writer and performer Hanns Dieter Hüsch, one of Germany’s most distinguished left-wing intellectuals and cabaret artists. Schwenkow, who had a politically conservative upbringing, remembers the countless hours of conversation he had with Hüsch. “He was around 50–60 years old, I was 20. We used to have wonderful arguments about politics, and eventually developed a friendship. This led me to think: ‘If it is possible to meet such interesting, exciting, powerfully eloquent and intelligent people in this business, I want to be a part of it.’”

It was the mid 1970s, and the business looked very different to today. “One lamp on the left, one on the right, five Marshalls in the back and something that started to resemble a PA,” Schwenkow recalls. “If an artist wasn’t able to perform – because it was still sex, drugs and rock’n’roll in the 1970s – they simply didn’t.”

“If an artist wasn’t able to perform – because it was still sex, drugs and rock’n’roll in the 1970s – they simply didn’t”

After leaving school, Schwenkow studied advertising and communication science in Berlin, and worked part-time for the city’s biggest promoter at the time, Konzertdirektion Jänicke, starting out as technical director. He went on to do the promotion and different other jobs for Jänicke, working mostly from home. His boss had promised him his own office once he could afford a bigger space, and even offered to make him a junior partner.

In 1978, Jänicke moved into a huge new villa. “When I had my first appointment with him there, he was sitting in an office that seemed as large as a football field,” Schwenkow remembers. “There was only one desk in it, so I said: ‘Mr Jänicke, now that we’ve got these new facilities, where is my desk going to be?’ And he replied that we had to talk about that again. That’s when I realised that he had used me for the past two years.”

So Schwenkow called his old friend Jochen Zanke, whom he met while working for two other legends of the game: Horst Lippmann and Fritz Rau, where Zanke was tour manager. “I said: ‘Jochen, I think we should start our own thing and prove to this old man that you can be competitive, even with less resources.’

“So on 15 June 1978, the industrial management assistant Jochen Zanke, and the student Peter Schwenkow, founded Concert Concept.”

Forty years of development
From those early beginnings, DEAG’s 40-year history can be more or less subdivided into four decades that defined the business in different ways. “For the first 10–11 years, from 1978 to 1989, Concert Concept established itself as the biggest promoter in Berlin,” says Schwenkow, who adds that the exclusive takeover of Berlin’s Waldbühne (22,290-cap.) in 1981 was “one of the most important factors for our growth,” as it gave him control over the most exclusive address for open-air events in the city. He kept renewing the lease contract, running the show at Waldbühne for 27 years to come.

In 1984, Schwenkow created the Berliner Sommernachtstraum, which attracted some 400,000 people to a gigantic firework display by Austrian artist André Heller in front of the city’s Reichstag. At the time, the city was still divided by the Berlin wall, and the concert provoked unrest in East Berlin from those on the other side, who were disappointed they couldn’t see the spectacle too.

In 1988, Schwenkow lined up Pink Floyd, Genesis, and Eurythmics to perform. … A year later, on 9 November 1989, the wall fell

Three years later, he promoted the legendary Concert for Berlin with David Bowie and Michael Jackson, right next to the wall. It’s a concert that’s gone down as a key moment in the history of that city. Bowie told Performing Songwriter in 2003: “They’d backed up the stage to the wall itself so that the wall was acting as our backdrop. We kind of heard that a few of the East Berliners might actually get the chance to hear the thing but we didn’t realise in what numbers they would. And there were thousands on the other side that had come close to the wall.

“So it was like a double concert where the wall was the division. And we would hear them cheering and singing along from the other side. God, even now I get choked up. It was breaking my heart. I’d never done anything like that in my life, and I guess I never will again.”

In 1988, Schwenkow lined up Pink Floyd, Genesis, and Eurythmics to perform. Many young people in East Germany tried to get close to the wall to hear the concert. At one point during sound check, Pink Floyd turned their PA system around to point eastwards, and blasted out The Wall. The concerts provoked further violence between young people and the police in East Berlin, but the end was nigh for the country’s division. A year later, on 9 November 1989, the wall fell – and the number of potential concertgoers doubled over night.

 


Continue reading this feature in the digital edition of IQ 76, or subscribe to the magazine here

DEAG’s 2017 “going according to plan”

Deutsche Entertainment AG (DEAG) CEO Peter Schwenkow says he is happy with the German promoter’s start to the year, despite slight decreases in revenue and profit and a falling share price.

The value of DEAG’s sales in the first quarter (Q1) of 2017 was €19.5 million, down from €31.3m in Q1 2016, with gross profit and earnings before taxes and interest (EBIT) also both declining, to €6.1m (from €6.7m) and €200,000 (from €300,000), respectively.

Its share price has also fallen more than 15% in the last month alone, from €2.91 on 2 May to €2.47 today.

Despite this, Schwenkow says sales and EBIT in Q1 were “above expectations”, saying the Euro 2016 football championships “resulted in higher sales in Q1 and Q4 2016”.

According to the company’s latest financial results, its core promotion and ticketing businesses remain “very profitable”, with gross profit margin rising to 31.4% compared to 21.7% in Q1 2016.

“For us, 2017 has been going according to plan,” comments company founder Schwenkow. “Our activities in the UK in particular and in the domestic market have developed quite positively across the board.

“For us, 2017 has been going according to plan”

“In view of the good start to the second quarter and the well-filled event pipeline, DEAG will also be offering high-calibre, high-turnover and high-margin events in the quarters to come. These include, among others, the open air event Matapaloz at Hockenheimring that is likely to attract 70,000 visitors, top acts such as Iron Maiden, Anna Netrebko and Aerosmith and the German tour of The Rolling Stones, which is already sold-out.

“The Family Entertainment division will continue the strong growth of the previous quarters. The very successful, in-house Christmas Gardens are also being extended to other locations due to the positive response. For 2017 DEAG expects around 830,000 visitors at seven locations. In addition, the company’s own ticket sales through the online sales platform MyTicket will contribute to the sustained improvement in profitability.”

Schwenkow also reiterates DEAG’s intention to acquire another British promoter, saying the company is in “advanced negotiations” to add a third business to its UK stable (it partially owns Kilimanjaro Live and classical music promoter Raymond Gubbay Ltd). Sources tell IQ the company in question is a regional pop promoter.

DEAG was rebuked by German financial watchdog FREP earlier this month for “substantially overstating” its recent financial success.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.