Ticket Fees - There Has To Be A Better Way!
Fee Free Friday, your source for just how much people hate online ticket fees, is back! This week we find (yet another) investigative report on the ticketing industry. A financial report from an authoritative source on the role tickets fees play in making consumers miserable. And a humorous way to make venue owners empathize with the ticket buyer.
Yet Another Investigation
The docket of investigative reports on ticket fees and consumer hostility just got a little thicker this week with a broadcast by NBC affiliate KNSD. Reporter Mari Payton asks "Why and how do tickets sell out so fast?" and her investigation yields answers that are all too familiar for regular readers of Fee Free Friday.
At issue are so-called "scalper bots" that buy up tickets in seconds, preventing humans from ever having a chance. The practice is not only a consumer hostile one, but is illegal in many states as well. After the hapless ticket buyer is pushed out of the way by the bots, they are forced to buy tickets on the secondary market at exorbitant face value mark-ups.
A Ticketmaster executive is interviewed in the investigation and states that the ticketing industry spends millions battling the bots. Also interviewed is music industry expert Tim Piles, who says that consumers forced to buy a $75 ticket at a $250 price "doesn't benefit the whole system."
Mr. Piles is exactly correct. Anything that causes the ticket buying public to become disenfranchised, be it from outrageous face value mark-ups or unreasonable ticket fees, hurts the entire event industry in the long term. Investigations being broadcast on TV may keep the consumer aware of how bad things are, but only the industry itself can actually improve the situation ...otherwise Federal legislation may force improvements.
Everybody Wants To Rule The World...With Ticket Fees
It seems like each week brings another tidal wave of brand name damaging bad news about ticket fees, some worse than others. The negative impact ticket fees have on a business is sometimes measured by how loudly consumers complain, other times it is by how much authority the originating source has. And few carry more authority than investment experts Seeking Alpha.
Last week, Seeking Alpha brought to bear the full force of its expertise on ticketing industry giant Live Nation with 'Everybody Wants To Rule The World', re-published by none other than NASDAQ. Be aware that the report is primarily written for stock brokers and hedge fund managers, so it is not something that can be considered "light reading."
Of note within the robust data is the role that ticket fees play:
Since artists and managers typically receive 85%-95% of the concert-related revenue, the strategy is to increase the number of events the company promotes, which drives more event attendees and is then monetized with high margin ticket fees and sponsorships. The events themselves are almost "loss leaders" in a sense. This strategy is similar to the movie exhibition or television show business. Since almost 90% of AOI is derived on the ancillary side of the business, it will be the focus of this article.
A disheartening fact when the ticket buying public is already facing other economic hardships.
Late last year, The Consumerist reported that "A new class-action lawsuit is seeking to prove in a court of law what many people already believe - that Live Nation/Ticketmaster combination is an unfair monopoly intent on using exorbitant fees to siphon off cash from customers." Something the Seeking Alpha data seems to confirm.
There Has To Be A Better Way
Want to see a fee-laden purchase process through the eyes of the ticket buyer? You're in luck thanks to two recent guest posts on BuzzFeed by Fee Free Friday kindred spirits Fan Freedom.
The first is a numbered list of terrifying facts about online ticket sales that will make you empathize with the buyer. The list includes line items like "Big ticket sites charge ridiculous convenience fees essentially because they can" and "Those fees could be considered scalping", culminating with "There has to be a better way."
The second guest post is a hilarious list of "Things Everyone Goes Through When They Buy Tickets Online" with each item written in the first person and accompanied by a funny image. Here's just one:
4. Oh, dang! All the good ones are sold out already. Somehow. Well, you'll probably still be able to see them from the nosebleeds, right? RIGHT?
The list is highly recommend reading for its humor alone, but also as a way for venue owners to feel what the buyer feels.
Wall of Woe
While we're on the subject of how the buyer feels, here's the weekly Wall of Woe.
Justine isn't the only unhappy consumer, here's a small sampling of other ticket buyers abandoning the purchase process because of high per-ticket fees...
Is that last tweet by Michelle in reference to your venue? Hopefully not. Rather than risk being the subject of tweets like Michelle's, consider switching to a ticketing software that doesn't charge you or your buyers per-ticket fees.
ThunderTix does not charge you per ticket fees for selling tickets online or at the box office. You can sell tickets online with no fees. We encourage you to pass along that savings to the consumer and show them the long term vision of your business is tied directly to their satisfaction. Your patrons will love that you don’t add fees. It’s that simple. Lower ticket costs through no added fees translate into higher sales and greater patron satisfaction. ThunderTix makes it easy to sell tickets online!