Ticketmaster Product Managers Prepare For New Competition

Ticketmaster now has some competition for selling tickets
Ticketmaster now has some competition for selling tickets
Image Credit: rhoadeecha

So if you want to go to a concert, a monster truck show, or a circus, who do you buy your tickets from? If you are like most of us you would go online, go to a website run by Ticketmaster, and purchase your tickets. This is the way that we’ve always done it. Now things are getting ready to change. The product managers at Ticketmaster are getting ready to face the first serious competition that they have had in decades. What makes this an even bigger deal is that the competition is being run by their ex-CEO!

Say Hello To Your Competition

So Ticketmaster is the clear dominate player in the online ticket purchasing market. What could possibly cause their product managers to be concerned about yet another competitor? The problem with the latest competitor starts with the fact that this one is being run by Nathan Hubbard who was the CEO of Ticketmaster for four years. Nathan wants to change how people get their tickets for events. Nathen imagines a world where customers could walk up to a concert or a sports event and be admitted just by showing their face. If he can pull this off, then the Ticketmaster product managers may be facing some serious competition and may have to change their product development definition.

Ticketmaster knows that they are facing competition simply by the name of the new firm: Rival. Rival has been able to attract support from Silicon Valley venture capital firms and they have been able to raise US$33M. Additionally, they have already been able to sign up teams that represent every major sports league in the U.S. along with the U.K.’s Premier League. In addition to signing these teams, Rival has also been able to sign up the home arenas and stadiums where these teams play. What all of this means is that Rival is gearing up to make a big run at the market that Ticketmaster currently dominates.

Currently Ticketmaster holds an estimated 80% of the market for tickets that are purchased online – that would look great on anyone’s product manager resume. Currently, sites that range from stadiums to nightclubs enter into long-term contracts with Ticketmaster that gives them the exclusive right to sell tickets to any event that is hosted at the site. Prices for the events are set by the sports teams or the concert promotors. These prices are generally set based on how the promoter feels or based on past demand for a similar event. Ticketmaster makes its money from additional service and delivery charges.

The Future Of Online Ticket Sales

The people who promote events have a real problem on their hands. Sometimes their events don’t sell enough tickets and the event is held with a stadium that is half empty. Other times the stadium is full, but the tickets that people bought were sold to them by scalpers through sites such as Stubhub and Ebay. Customers often don’t know where their tickets are coming from and teams and artists have no idea who is ending up in their crowd. Rival thinks that they can change things by fully digitizing tickets and perhaps replacing them with facial recognition. Rival thinks that this can address inefficiencies and make them safer by allowing identity, location, and payment data to be connected.

Rival does not plan on distributing tickets to customers directly. Their plan is to distribute them through other outlets such as Amazon.com, Stubhub, Twitter, Expedia, and perhaps even a team or an artist’s own site. This process would allow artists and team to set their own prices along with the terms for resale. They would also have the ability to monitor and adjust them in real time. This approach would change how tickets are sold. Instead of allowing scalpers to buy up large collections of tickets, event promotors could start by listing a few tickets from each section thus allowing them to gage demand for the event. Once this was understood, more tickets could be released with prices that better approximated their real market value.

One of the biggest issues that venue owners have been dealing with has been the simple fact that they don’t know who is in the audience. Since tickets tend to change hands so many times, the people who are putting on the show end up knowing less than 10% of the people who come to see the event. This means that the artists and the teams are losing out on an opportunity to sell more to their customers. The people who own the locations where events are staged have spent a great deal on shops and restaurants at these sites. They would like to use the information that is available about people who buy tickets to come up with ways to lure them into their onsite facilities. The goal is to find a way to allow the ticket to engage with the customer both before, during, and after the event in order to generate more business.

What All Of This Means For You

Change is coming to the world of online ticket sales. Currently this market is owned by the company Ticketmaster. However a new competitor has shown up and they appear to be well positioned to take over a portion of this market. One of the advantages that this new competitor has is that it is being led by the former CEO of Ticketmaster! Ticketmaster’s product managers are going to have to take a look at their product manager job description and decide what they need to do.

The new competitor wants us to live in a world where we can walk up to an event and use our face to be recognized and let into the event. The name of this new competitor is Rival. They have already signed up a number of sports teams and stadiums. Ticketmaster owns 80% of the online ticket market. Event promotors set the price for an event and then Ticketmaster makes their money from service and handling fees. A big problem with the way that tickets are sold today is that scalpers buy a lot of tickets and then resell them at a higher price. This means that promotors are losing out on making money. Rival thinks that they can change things by fully digitizing how tickets are done. Rival won’t distribute tickets – that will be done by other firms. Event promotors can set their own prices and adjust them in real time. Digitizing tickets would allow event promotors to know who is in their audience and would allow them to sell more to their customers both before and after an event.

The future is almost upon us! Being able to purchase tickets online was a big deal a while ago. However, time has marched on and now the online ticket selling firms are getting ready to take the next step. Fully digitizing tickets and allowing features such as facial recognition to be used to identify customers are the wave of the future. The product managers at Ticketmaster have to wake up and understand that their market is getting ready to change. How we buy tickets online in the future will be different and who we buy them from may have changed also!

– Dr. Jim Anderson Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Product Management Skills™

Question For You: Do you think that most customers would be open to using facial recognition to enter events or are there too many privacy concerns?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

As just about everyone knows, you can order anything from Amazon. However, where a lot of us get a bit confused is just exactly how what we order actually gets to our doorstep. Yeah, yeah – for many of us Prime members we know that it will arrive in two days (or less), but just exactly how does it get there? It turns out that the answer to that question has been bothering the Amazon product managers also and so they’ve taken a look at their product development definition and come up with an answer to this issue: Amazon is rolling out their own home delivery service.