We want to make ticket buying as convenient as possible, and what possibly could be more convenient than purchasing tickets at your neighborhood Walmart? In nearly 1,200 Walmart stores throughout twenty-one states, fans can purchase any Ticketmaster ticket in the Electronics Department.
Fans can peruse the live event tickets for sale using a touch screen located at the register. When the tickets are selected, a Walmart associate will step in, complete the transaction and immediately print the tickets.
Stay tuned shoppers as we continue to deliver special offers for Walmart customers.
Last week, I wrote about why fans want and deserve a better ticket resale experience, and why our partners (artists, teams, venues, performing arts centers, etc.) should be part of that process as well. Today I’m going to show you how our clients can choose to create transparent, fan-friendly links between pages on Ticketmaster and pages on TicketsNow. This will provide fans more ticket options and in the process clients will participate in the revenue generated from the resulting ticket resale transactions. The concept is pretty simple: when a fan searches on Ticketmaster for tickets but there aren’t tickets available under those parameters, he or she gets a “no tickets found” page. Clients who choose to place our fan-friendly, fan-tested links to TicketsNow on these “no tickets found” pages will share in the revenue from transactions generated by these links. We will digitally authenticate tickets that are bought this way via our TicketFast ® product, and allow fans to print them at home, knowing they are legitimate and safe, providing the best experience possible for the fan as well as the venue.
As a result, fans will now have a safe and convenient place to see the full range of options and buy the ticket that is right for them. Brokers and fans, in turn, will have a safe and targeted place to resell tickets. And, our clients can, for the first time, participate in the revenue and the customer data from the resale marketplace so they can get to know everyone that is coming to the event.
What It Looks Like
To be clear, this is a time-tested and proven solution. In fact, we’ve been doing this in partnership with a number of clients for seve
ral years now. The NFL, the USTA and the WWE are a few examples of clients who have utilized this approach with great results and happy fans. The messaging on our resale websites was enhanced as we have been focused on building a consumer experience that is absolutely transparent and fan-friendly. The consumer experience looks like this (we’re using our sister company Live Nation for demonstration purposes)—
The fan receives this message that the tickets they are searching for are not found:
If the fan selects the TicketsNow option, a transfer message also appears:
Once arriving on the TicketsNow resale marketplace, a message welcomes the fan and reiterates that they are on a resale marketplace. As with all of our tools, clients, if they wish, can brand this resale marketplace to any brand of their choosing, as the NFL and USTA do today. Information clearly notes that ticket listings and prices are related to resale.
As you can see from the screen shots, our efforts to be totally transparent and provide the ticket purchaser with clarity about TicketsNow are truly unique amongst resale marketplaces. Some of our competitors currently have similar types of links between primary and resale marketplaces. In our case these links will only be integrated if our clients choose to participate, and when these links are deployed it will be in an authentic, safe and secure way for fans. Our goal is to lead changes in the resale ticket market by adopting practices that protect the fan, and provide them with a very secure environment in which to make their purchases.
Some will likely spin this initiative into a tale about how Ticketmaster is attempting to “control” the secondary market, an easy shot to take. The truth is that Ticketmaster doesn’t control tickets, our clients (venues, artists, teams, performing arts centers) do. We think they should be able to participate in the secondary market if they choose to do so, as the secondary market is built on their hard work.
We respect consumer choice as well as the choices of our clients, which is why we will only offer this solution in cases where our clients decide this is the best solution for their fans. We’re excited to announce this option and look forward to rolling it out for fans and clients in the coming months. Please help us get better and give us your input and feedback as we work to create the best live event experience in the world.
Ticket reselling websites have become a significant way for fans to purchase live event tickets. Today, we estimate that about 20% of the tickets that Ticketmaster sells on behalf of our clients are resold in the secondary market.
Ticket reselling is happening, and it is here to stay. When done right, ticket reselling is a legitimate distribution channel that meets the needs of real fans. If we ignore resale as an industry, it will continue to exist in an uncontrolled, unsanctioned world and the bad parts will only get worse.
The resale market exists because ticket pricing is not perfectly efficient; supply and demand change over time, and some fans wait until the last minute to make the decision as to whether or not they can go to an event. The local ticket brokerage model has been built on this, providing services for niche groups of customers who seek unique experiences at various price points that the market will bear at any given time. Usually, this is done in a way that is legal. However, it’s important to point out that, sadly, there are still operators doing things that are unfair and illegal—ticket scalpers who use automated programs just to buy up huge quantities of tickets only to resell to fans for a profit. We are actively fighting to stop this type of activity, because anyone who sells tickets has the right to ensure their tickets are distributed fairly.
Unfortunately, in too many instances, the way ticket resale works today isn’t great for the fan. Fans are often misled or duped by resellers who don’t operate with the fans’ best interests at heart. In fact, we’ve recently seen legislation introduced by the so-called fan freedom group that would actually make it easier for the unscrupulous scalpers to snatch up huge quantities of tickets. Further, there are pervasive marketing practices used in ticket reselling that we, and others, believe are dirty and only trick fans (http://1.usa.gov/kj1gau). The result is that a lot of venues, artists, teams and promoters have understandably been hesitant to get involved in the secondary market. Fans are therefore left to search for resale options on their own, usually in unsanctioned environments where they can’t be sure what they are really buying, and from whom.
And yet the data doesn’t lie, resale is sometimes the option of choice for some fans who only want to go to an event if they can sit in specific seats or for fans who decide to attend at the last minute. As a fan, we know you just want to know what all of your legitimate, authentic and safe options are to go to an event! Show me all the seats available (from best to worst), and show me how much they cost (from least expensive to most expensive). Then let me make the decision to buy the experience that is best for me.
These are some of the reasons why Ticketmaster elected to support the Fans First Coalition (www.standwithfans.org). We know fans just want resale to work the right way, without having it compromise their ability to get reasonably priced tickets to their favorite events. Not everyone likes buying or selling in the resale market, and not every venue or artist wants to participate- that’s okay. It’s all about choices – and if fans, venues and artists choose to get involved in resale, we believe it should be done fairly.
In 2008, Ticketmaster bought a ticket resale company called TicketsNow, recognizing that an increasing number of fans wanted to expand their live entertainment ticket choices through resale ticketing. Initially the companies proceeded to integrate primary and secondary in a way that, while well intentioned, was not up to the standards to which we hold ourselves today. We have learned from those mistakes. We stopped that integration until we felt we could re-invent it in a safe and fan-friendly way. Since then, we have spent two years working and thinking through the way to do resale the right way for our stakeholders; our clients and fans alike. TicketsNow has quietly emerged from that experience into what we believe to be the most fan-friendly and flexible ticket resale platform on the web. We have moved far ahead in our capabilities to present a fan-friendly resale option for both fans and our partners in ticketing. And just to clear up two common misconceptions: Ticketmaster does not move inventory that our clients have entrusted us to sell on the primary market into the resale market—and it is the individual ticket seller, not theTicketsNow.com website, that sets the resale ticket price you see in the TicketsNow marketplace.
As a leader in the live event space, we believe we have a responsibility to move the industry forward. For us, this means making everything in the resale process better for the fan. That means that while we want to help fans find the best, legitimate and authentic options for them to go to their favorite events, both for primary and resold tickets, we also have an obligation to make sure unscrupulous scalpers don’t cheat the system and take away your choices unfairly (for example, we continue to work to stop bots from taking away huge amounts of tickets and we create ways that make it harder for those types of schemes to cheat fans). And we also want to help our clients participate in the true value of the tickets they sell if they so desire. So in the next few days we will be announcing an option – a choice, not a requirement – for our clients to connect the primary and secondary ticket markets. Stay tuned.
The devastation that is still unfolding in Japan affects the hearts and minds of us all. In the wake of this unimaginable series of events, we are humbled that we can use our ecommerce resources to lend a hand to the American Red Cross and help raise funds for the relief efforts. Please help in supporting the American Red Cross and the crucial aid and relief they are providing to those affected by the earthquake in Japan and tsunami throughout the Pacific.
You can start helping now by simply visiting Ticketmaster or Live Nation to make a donation. Or add an optional $5 donation at checkout when you buy tickets for most US events on Ticketmaster.com or LiveNation.com from March 30th through April 30th. 100% of your gift goes directly to the American Red Cross to support the relief effort and emergency services. For more information about Ticketmaster and the American Red Cross, please visit www.ticketmaster.com/americanredcross
From all of us at the Ticketmaster Family we thank you for your generosity and send our hope, love, and support to all affected by the Japan earthquake and Pacific tsunami.
These two truths we hold self-evident: 1) too many fans miss shows/games/events because they didn’t know about them in advance and, 2) passionate, trend-setting fans make the best marketers. So as of this week we’ve taken a significant step forward in empowering fans to help solve the live event industry’s awareness challenges. We’ve begun the rollout of some great new functionality on Ticketmaster.com and Livenation.com that fundamentally changes the way people share information about the live events they love with their friends.
Our new functionality is live on many of our artist pages, venue pages, event pages, and the confirmation page after you’ve completed a purchase. The concept is simple: instead of letting your friends know you’ve purchased tickets by calling or emailing them, start sharing simply by clicking the ‘Attending’ button right after you’ve purchased. If someone else purchased tickets for you, go to the show’s page on our site and RSVP from there. Even cooler – you can go to the Dave Matthews or Boston Celtics page and see who’s going, or shortly (http://bit.ly/bQNQ1O) to our homepage and see all the shows that your Facebook friends are talking about and attending. We’ve also added Facebook ‘Like’ buttons on our artist and venue pages and ‘Recommend’ buttons on our event pages. As you interact with the site and express your live event preferences and purchases, you’ll see activity start to fill your news feeds. We’ll also synthesize and post it on the relevant pages throughout our site.
So check back in and interact with the emerging community around events that is taking shape on our site – stuff like reviews, fan photos, and now the profiles and interests of fans like you. We intend to dazzle you with how we make social part of the fabric of our site. With millions of incredibly passionate buyers engaging with us, we’re working to evolve into one of the most social commerce sites on the web. So we’re excited to introduce everyone to these great new features! It’s just the beginning…
Check out these links and let us know what you think:
We’re grateful for the shout out (and the pizzas) from one of the greatest entertainers alive. We’re incredibly proud to have been able to deliver for our client, Garth, and the great cause he’s supporting. For all those going, make sure to review the shows at Ticketmaster.com!
CEO – Ticketmaster
Here’s some preliminary fan data to share on the refund policy we’ve launched for some events on Ticketmaster.com (check it out here). ]None of this data is meant to be a predictor of future behavior, but it looks like the message is pretty clear – fans like it and it makes them more comfortable buying tickets. We continue to monitor the policy to ensure it isn’t exploited to the detriment of fans. Thanks for the ongoing feedback:
CEO – Ticketmaster
Learn more about the Ticketmaster 3-day Refund Policy and Fan Guarantee
Today we’re excited to announce three important changes to the way we interact with you.
How We Present Pricing and Fees
We get it – you don’t like service fees. You don’t like them mostly because you don’t understand what the heck they are for. We’ll try to do a better job in this space over the coming months of helping you understand our business, and how our fees compare to others in the industry (both in ticketing and ecommerce in general). But the reality of the live entertainment business is that service fees have become an extension of the ticket price. Most of the parties in the live event value chain participate in these service fees either directly or indirectly – promoters, venues, teams, artists, and yes, ticketing companies – and service fee rebates are our largest annual expense at Ticketmaster.
All of the research we’ve done, and all of our conversations with fans like you tell us that the way we present these fees in the check out process is a huge frustration for you and hurts ticket sales. You just want to know UP FRONT in the buying process how much of your hard earned money you are being asked to pay for a given seat. If we are as transparent as possible with you sooner in the purchase process, you can make the decision about how much you want to pay to go to an event. The problem is that historically we haven’t told you how much you have to pay for a given seat until very late in the buying process. And our data tells us this angers many of you to the point that you abandon your purchase once you see the total cost, and that you don’t come back. The data also says (and this is the important piece) that if we had told you up front what the total cost was, you would have bought the ticket! So by perpetuating this antiquated fee presentation, fans are getting upset, while we and our clients are losing ticket sales.
This practice changes today. Over the next few days we are rolling out a new way of presenting pricing and fees on Ticketmaster.com. Going forward, just like almost every other business in the world, we’ll tell you up front how much you can expect to pay for a certain ticket. We’ll still break out the “face value” from the other fees where required, and we haven’t broken down per-order fees yet (although you will begin to see many of our clients move to truly all-in pricing, because they know it sells more tickets and makes you happier). This user experience mirrors what you see across the web from leaders in their field – Amazon, Apple, Expedia, Zappos and more. It’s not complicated, it’s just the right thing to do.
We are the leader in the industry, and so we are accountable for taking the initiative to drive industry change. We take that responsibility very seriously, and at the new Ticketmaster we wake up every day obsessing over the fan experience. We think this change is a big step toward creating pricing transparency that is good for fans, and thus good for business. We hope it arms you up front with the info you need to decide how you want to experience the incredible live events we sell on Ticketmaster.com. You can see the new layout here (http://bit.ly/a1IZHU). We’re looking forward to your feedback!
Ps – after this week you may see a few events on Ticketmaster.com that have the old pricing presentation…this is most likely because in a select few cases our contracts with venues prevent us from making this change. We’re working with these clients to help them see the benefits, and are confident they’ll want to join in! Almost all of our clients are enthusiastically supportive of this change. Stay tuned…
The 3 Day Return Policy in Live Nation Venues
If we could, we and our clients would happily offer a no-hassle refund policy. We’d like you to be able to buy tickets and have the flexibility to return them at any time in case your plans change. But as you know, our product is a little different than most others that are sold online – it is perishable, and often exists only in very limited supply. One of the additional challenges in the live event business is that we as an industry often don’t price our inventory properly relative to what consumers are willing to pay. Sometimes we price it too high, sometimes we price it too low. We’ll talk a lot more about pricing and our initiatives in this space in the coming months, but this pricing issue has historically made it very difficult for us to offer a no-hassle refund policy. If we offered full refunds at any time, we’d be encouraging ticket brokers to snatch up all the inventory and try to sell it to you for as much as possible, knowing they could refund it with no risk. You would come to Ticketmaster.com, see that an event was sold out, and never come back. Tickets would likely go unsold, and you would probably miss an event you’d love to attend. That’s not good for anyone.
But we’ve got to try something, because we want to give you every reason in the world to buy a ticket. So Live Nation is putting its money where its mouth is, and introducing a new return policy in case you get cold feet. If you buy a ticket in a venue operated by Live Nation (http://bit.ly/97JJkV ), you now have three days to return it, up until one week before the show. We cut this off a week before the show because we need some time to be able to sell that ticket to someone else in case you choose to return it. We’re not pretending we have this perfect, and the policy will probably be subject to some iterations and improvements. But we hope that at a minimum it encourages you to go ahead and buy those tickets, knowing that if your plans suddenly change, or one of your friends bails out the next day, you can return what you need to within three days worry-free. We’ll be watching very carefully to see if the policy is exploited by brokers to your detriment, but we think as a starting point this is a pretty good balance for fans. At Ticketmaster, we’re inviting ALL of our venue clients to join into this policy if it works for them – we’ll handle the customer care at no additional cost. We’ll keep you posted, and welcome your feedback on how we can make it better.
As you can now hopefully tell, our plan is to use this space going forward as a place to write about the industry, our business, and our fans. Please check back often or sign up for our Twitter feed or Facebook page to get notified when we post new updates.
Thanks for reading!
CEO – Ticketmaster