Ticketing: The price is right
Chair: James Drury, ILMC / IQ Magazine & ITY (UK)
Panellists: Marc Boehrer, See Tickets (CH) | Ashish Hemrajani, Book My Show (IN) | Detlef Kornett, Deutsche Entertainment AG (DE) | Amy Oldham, Dice (UK) | Leonie Wakeman, AEG Presents (UK)
The seemingly relentless march towards mobile ticketing was the focus of this year’s ticketing panel, chaired by IQ Magazine contributor and International Ticketing Yearbook editor James Drury.
Compared to India’s mobile-first BookMyShow, which sold millions of mobile tickets last year, Marc Boehrer of See Tickets Switzerland (formerly Starticket) said his home market is still “clearly a print-at-home” country; in Germany, meanwhile, it’s a “mixed field”, said DEAG/MyTicket’s Detlef Kornett, with many fans still keen to ‘own’ a piece of the show.
The chief benefit of mobile from a promoter’s perspective, said AEG Presents’ Leonie Wakeman, is knowing exactly who’s at the show in a way that’s impossible with physical paper stubs.
With paper tickets, added Kornett, “We probably end up marketing our shows to a grandma who bought a Korn ticket for her grandson!”
When it comes to the more personalised communication possible with the data garnered from mobile tickets, Dice UK MD Amy Oldham said: “There’s a huge responsibility not to overburden the fan, so we always ask ourselves what’s best for them. How do we make sure their messaging is really personalised, and they’re receiving those comms that are tailored to them?”
“We have a five-star rating on Trustpilot, so we’re obviously doing it right and not pissing fans off,” she added.
“It also depends what you’re communicating,” added Wakeman. “From our perspective it’s usually the artist people want to hear from, rather than AEG, but if it’s around a tour onsale, the venue or ticket agent are usually the best people to communicate that.”
BookMyShow CEO Ashish Hemrajani said his company has an advantage due to also selling cinema tickets. “If you’re just doing concerts or sporting events you do three, four, maybe five outings a month,” he explained. “But we have movie ticketing, too, so we have a lot more data – my average consumer would do about eight to ten transactions a year. We also have ratings, so we’re really like the Rotten Tomatoes or IMDb of India.”
Also on the agenda was secondary ticketing, with Oldham saying it “blows [her] mind that it’s still such a big part of our world. The technology exists [to stop it]. We still haven’t had a single ticket on the big secondary ticketing sites. We did FKA Twigs in Spain recently, and that date was the only one where there weren’t any tickets on Viagogo…”
One solution, said Hemrajani, is dynamic pricing. “I’ve always been baffled by the fact that in the US a cinema ticket is $8,” he said. “On a Monday with four people there, it’s $8. On a Saturday, for the latest Marvel film, 98% full, it’s still $8. We’re all used to buying airline tickets, hotel rooms, etc., and paying a different price to the person sat next to you, but in the entertainment world it’s this big thing.
“In India, we have dynamic pricing for films and concerts and live events, and that’s helped increase our [BookMyShow’s] yield by more than 5%…”
In future, panellists said, they expected social ticketing to be a key trend, as well as the tendency towards convergence, such as in France, where many tickets are sold using an open API from big “pot of tickets’, explained Wakeman.
“Clearly there’s a trend towards convergence; consumers want everything to be in one place with one click,” added Kornett. “But there will always be differences: in this market [the UK], for example, most people just buy the best seat available, but in continental markets you buy the exact seat on a seating map. At an arena show, Brits will linger around the bar and chat before they go into the show – usually too late – whereas Germans go straight to their seat…
“So, there are lots of cultural differences that make a universal system difficult. But there are plenty more developments still to come.”