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See Tickets bolsters global team

See Tickets has strengthened its global team with the promotions of Boris Patronoff, Marijke van den Bosch and Adriana García-Abril Ruiz, and the hiring of Laurent de Cerner.

Patronoff becomes chief operating officer of See Tickets Group and remains the CEO of See Tickets in North America, which he launched in 2014. He succeeds Karim Ayari, who is returning to parent company Vivendi to work on strategic initiatives for the Group.

“I am thrilled about these appointments across the Group,” says See Tickets Group CEO Rob Wilmshurst. “With Boris Patronoff we have been able to find an ideal internal successor as Group COO. We are delighted that he will continue to bring his leadership and experience at Group level. I would like to thank Karim Ayari for his outstanding work in building our organisation and helping us navigate the challenging environment of the last couple of years.”

Elsewhere, See Tickets Benelux chief Van den Bosch, who has been a member of the firm’s executive committee since the start of the year, becomes CEO of Benelux and Germany, while García-Abril Ruiz, previously managing director of See Tickets Spain, becomes MD of Iberia for See Tickets.

“I am very excited to promote the next generation of leaders in the Group”

In addition, Laurent de Cerner has been brought in as the new CEO of See Tickets in France and joins the executive committee. He remains the president of Parisian concert hall L’Olympia and is also a member of French promoters’ trade body Prodiss.

“I am very excited to promote the next generation of leaders in the Group with Marijke van den Bosch and Adriana Garcia-Abril Ruiz,” adds Wilmshurst. “I also warmly welcome Laurent to the business. He will bring years of knowledge and experience with venues and promoters to continue to strengthen our position in the French market.”

See Tickets Group’s executive committee now comprises five members: Rob Wilmshurst (Group CEO), Boris Patronoff (Group COO), Leanne Lipscombe (Group CFO), Marijke van den Bosch (CEO Benelux and Germany) and Laurent de Cerner (CEO France).

PHOTO (L-R): Laurent de Cerner, Marijke van den Bosch, Rob Wilmshurst, Leanne Lipscombe (Group CFO), Boris Patronoff and Adriana García-Abril Ruiz.


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Ethical ticket resales up 50% at See Tickets

See Tickets has sold 50,000 tickets through its ticket resale platform Fan-to-Fan in 2019 so far, 25,000 more than in the same period of last year.

Launched in 2017, Fan-to-Fan was the UK’s first integrated face-value ticket resale platform. The service allows customers to resell unwanted tickets at the price they paid for them or less.

“We were the first ticket agency to bring a truly integrated ethical resale site to the market and figures show the service is more in demand than ever,” comments See Tickets CEO Rob Wilmshurst.

“Buyers and sellers want a fair resale platform they can trust and because we only list tickets originally purchased on our site, we can vouch for everything being resold in terms of its validity.”

“Buyers and sellers want a fair resale platform they can trust and because we only list tickets originally purchased on our site, we can vouch for everything being resold in terms of its validity”

See Tickets launched a secure, non-transferable digital ticketing system earlier this year, issuing tickets with dynamically refreshing barcodes that are uniquely tied to the fan’s user account, mobile device and See Tickets app. The feature has been used on tours for artists including Declan McKenna and Bombay Bicycle Club.

See Tickets also created a paperless ticket for Ed Sheeran’s summer shows in conjunction with promoters DHP and Kilimanjaro.

Adam Webb, campaign manager for anti-tout group FanFair Alliance says: “See Tickets have been vocal about their opposition to exploitative secondary ticketing for many years and FanFair has welcomed the steps they have taken to eliminate touting and provide a better customer experience. It’s really encouraging to see ticket buyers embrace Fan-to-Fan in such numbers.”


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See Tickets launches secure digital tickets

See Tickets has launched a secure, non-transferable digital ticketing system to help combat the secondary market.

Each digital ticket features a dynamically refreshing barcode which is uniquely tied to a customer’s user account, mobile device and See Tickets app. Once at the venue, See’s access control system will decrypt the unique barcode to allow entry.

Customers can purchase tickets with digital delivery options as usual via the See Tickets website.

“The launch of digital tickets is a major milestone in our persistent anti-secondary market strategy as we now have a secure ticketing solution we can offer to our clients to use at any venue, on any show,” says Rob Wilmshurst, chief executive of See Tickets.

The move has been praised by anti-tout campaign group FanFair Alliance.

“The launch of digital tickets is a major milestone in our persistent anti-secondary market strategy”

“We welcome See Tickets’ continued efforts to keep tickets in the hands of genuine customers by investing in the development of secure, anti-tout technology,” comments campaign manager Adam Webb. “It should make the ticket purchasing and venue entry process safer, faster and more consumer-friendly.”

See Tickets launched the UK’s first integrated face-value ticket resale service, Fan-to-Fan, in 2017, selling more than 35,000 tickets through the site since then. See has rolled out anti-secondary market initiatives for artists including Ed Sheeran and the Arctic Monkeys and developed the photo ID registration system with Glastonbury.

See Tickets’ music client list includes Glastonbury, SJM Concerts, Kilimanjaro, Universal Music Group, Alexandra Palace, One Inch Badge and Communion Music.

Digital tickets will be used for the first time for Declan McKenna’s tour, which goes on sale on Friday 6 September at 8 a.m. (BST). Tickets for the four-date tour are priced from £16.50.


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Q&A: See Tickets global CEO Rob Wilmshurst

After blazing a trail with Fan-to-Fan, the first integrated face-value ticket resale service in the UK, in 2016, and one again recording its best-ever sales in 2018, See Tickets’ upward trajectory shows no signs of slowing. IQ catches up with the company’s global CEO, Rob Wilmshurst, to learn more about its unique offering, and where it goes from here…


We last caught up in 2017, shortly after the launch of Fan-to-Fan, one of the first face-value ticket resale platforms. How has the take-up of the service been in that time, and what have you learned?
I think we were the first platform-integrated, and hence secure, service launched in the UK. Take-up has been as one would expect from customers wishing to sell unwanted tickets at the right price vs the bad actors who can still flog things on Viagogo and StubHub – so not huge.

But, as anyone can see, there is a lot of product up on the service. We launched it as a PR exercise, really, and there is little money in it. We are the cheapest among all the UK operators.

We made our money once – we don’t need to make it again.

How has the secondary ticketing landscape evolved since then, and what technological solutions are putting in place to control the flow of tickets?
Ticketmaster chucking Seatwave and Get Me In! was probably welcome across the board. Viagogo still couldn’t care less, despite some ropey PR they just put out about regretting not defending themselves in parliament – lame. Eventim launching their product is good. All of this is probably not that great for Twickets, who at least came out before all of us as the good guys.

Technology moves along and we have some clever stuff about to be launched right now around face registration, recognition and access control. Watch this space.

Moving on from secondary, you’ve been expanding across Europe, most notably with the acquisition of Paylogic. What’s your European strategy, and how does the continent compare to the UK market?
Good question. Each country is operationally, structurally and economically different: France is tough and the systems are interconnected; Spain is about the cash; Portugal is a decent marketplace with pragmatic operators; Germany… stay at home. Of course, this is sweeping generalisation from a country that sadly attempts today to stupidly stand apart from our continental friends…

We remain globally opportunistic and look at a whole bunch of factors we before we deploy or acquire. Further afield, the US is doing great business and has found a rich seam in mid-market venues.

“We made our money once – we don’t need to make it again”

What are the biggest challenges facing both See, and the overall ticketing market, at present?
We are not going to be challenging Live Nation and Ticketmaster any time soon as a global enterprise, but I believe we are punching above our weight, with excellent shareholders, a solid cash base and a great team to help navigate international waters. The challenges are not new – competition and margin erosion are the principal headwinds. That said, we are growing as we open new regions.

Where do you see the biggest opportunities?
The US and Europe remain our focus but the global scope of [parent company] Vivendi has uncovered some opportunities further afield that we are currently looking at.

More generally, how is 2019 shaping up so far? There’s been talk of a slow festival season, especially in the UK – is that affecting your bottom line?
We do more than just music, but yes, it’s slower. However, we have the positive impact of Glastonbury filling a gap from 2018, which will make us whole vs last year within that segment.

The wider Vivendi ticketing business reported record revenues and ticket sales in 2018. Is that something you expect to replicate this year?
Yes – that’s the plan. But ask me how we did next year…


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Study: Overpriced resold tickets putting off gig-goers

More than two thirds of British consumers who have bought above-face value tickets on resale sites say they now plan to attend fewer shows, according to new consumer research highlighting the potentially negative impact of widespread ticket touting on concert attendance.

Ticked Off: Consumer attitudes to secondary ticketing, a survey of nearly 1,200 people commissioned by anti-touting campaign group FanFair Alliance, discovered 67% of ticket buyers who paid above the odds said they would attend fewer concerts in future. Sixty per cent said the same also applies to festivals, while 58% would spend less on food and drink at venues.

Meanwhile, 80% of the British public think the UK secondary ticketing market – valued at £1 billion – is a “rip off”, with the vast majority supporting further measures to clamp down on ticket touting, including the provision of authorised resale services (87%), limiting ticket purchases (80%), and personalised tickets with ID checks (75%).

Other key findings include:

Commenting on the research, Adam Webb, FanFair’s campaign manager, says: “The debate around online ticket touting raises strong passions, so it’s important that the wider music business, politicians and regulators can get a sense of what the general public think.

“Touts aren’t just responsible for massively inflating prices – they are chipping away at the public’s confidence in the live music industry”

“The message from this research appears to be pretty clear: UK audiences are fed up. The model of secondary ticketing promoted by Viagogo, StubHub, Get Me In! and Seatwave is causing them very real concern – albeit, they are not against the concept of ticket resale. The majority would like the option to resell a ticket for the price they paid for it, and they’re in favour of measures to curb mass-scale online ticket touting. On that front, FanFair urges legislators and regulators to accelerate their endeavours to tackle the most egregious practices of the secondary market.

“More positively, an increasing number of UK ticket companies are now offering face-value resale services, and it’s becoming common practice for artists to implement anti-touting strategies. This is hugely encouraging, although there remains a deep-rooted resistance from some parts of the live business that needs to be overcome. For, while the status quo might bring short-term gains to certain companies, there is a real danger that their intransigence will cause considerable long-term damage – not only to the live music sector, but across the music business overall.”

Rob Wilmshurst, CEO of See Tickets, which operates its own face-value resale site, adds: “Touts aren’t just responsible for massively inflating prices; they are also, as the research shows, chipping away at the public’s confidence in the live music industry. Buying a ticket for an act you really want to see should be exciting, but touts are turning this into a fraught, overpriced and desperate experience for a lot of people.

“We firmly back any action to combat touting and have made our stance on this very clear by offering customers of Seetickets.com the use of an ethical resale site where tickets can only be resold at the price customers paid or less with commissions below everyone else’s.”

A Competition and Markets Authority enforcement investigation into online secondary ticketing in the UK, announced in December 2016, remains ongoing.


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