Don’t tell Live Nation executives that their concert acts are getting old. While one-time hitmaker Neil Diamond continues to hit the stage at age 70, Chairman Irving Azoff says that “every year there’s a Taylor Swift, or Justin Bieber or Lady Gaga.” He adds: “We’re managing all the winners of The X Factor. We predict the tour will be huge. It’s Idol plus The Voice plus Glee on steroids.” That kind of shameless self promotion was the order of the day this afternoon as Azoff and CEO Michael Rapino made the investment case for their concert venue, talent management, and ticketing colossus at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Media Communications and Entertainment conference. Rapino says that “in an overall tough economic time, we’re thrilled that the industry came off a horrible year and stabilized…. We will finish the year flat to up as an industry and the early pipeline for 2012 looks good.”
Azoff says that Live Nation plans to take advantage of the crowds that will flock to Europe next year around the Summer Olympics in London. “The biggest names in the business will be on the road,” he says. “We’ll get a non-economy blip.” One of his mainstays, The Eagles, continues to tour and plans a Broadway show called (what else?) Hotel California. “No one knows whether the Rolling Stones are touring or not,” Azoff says. The execs say that they’re also making deals that could pay off — including … Read More »
No matter what the consumer will still get screwed. Anschutz Entertainment Group will roll out its much-hyped challenge to chief rival Live Nation Entertainment’s Ticketmaster this Saturday. So the battle is on. AEG has partnered with start-up Outbox Technology to form AXS with a plan to sell tickets through more than 100 arenas and theaters by the end of 2012. AEG — which owns L.A.’s Staples Center and London’s 02 Arena — was Ticketmaster’s biggest client, so not only will the loss hurt Ticketmaster’s bottom line but the new entity could challenge Ticketmaster’s dominance in this cutthroat biz. Turns out that a primary architect of AEG’s Outbox strategy is none other than Fred Rosen, who was Ticketmaster’s CEO in the 1980s and masterminded the company’s rise by creating a centralized ticket sales system used by the venues. The revenues came from service fees which, as anyone who’s bought a ticket to a live event in the past 20 years knows, have spiraled higher and higher. The AEG plan instead has the venues selling the tickets themselves via Outbox software that can be customized. AEG’s expansion into the ticket-sales business was seen as inevitable after the U.S. Justice Department approved the Ticketmaster-Live Nation merger in 2010. But as a condition for that merger, the feds insisted that AEG have the opportunity to license Ticketmaster’s software. AEG ultimately chose … Read More »
Live Nation’s increase in ticket prices didn’t deter many people from going to see concerts in 2Q. The company reported net earnings of $13.3M, up from a $32.8M loss in the same period last year, on revenues of $1.56B, up 23.1%. Profits at 7 cents a share beat the 2 cents expected by analysts who follow the company. The Street also fell short in forecasting just $1.32B in revenues. The company says that 13.1M people attended 5,834 events sponsored by Live Nation; last year it had 12.3M people at 5,558 events. Although concert revenues were up, this year’s events were less profitable: Live Nation made up for that with big increases in earnings from its Artist Nation talent-management unit and tour sponsorships. Meanwhile, Ticketmaster sold $2.1B worth of tickets, up 15.7%. “We are seeing the global ticketing business stabilize and concert business grow year-over-year, and we remain optimistic about continue growth opportunities in the industry long term,” says CEO Michael Rapino. Live Nation shares are up 5.4% in after-hours trading after falling 6.4% during the day.
The mind-numbing network of interlocking corporate relationships at Live Nation — the No. 1 concert promoter and owner of Ticketmaster — just became much more complicated with the announcement that Jim Dolan is joining its board of directors. He’s a power in live entertainment in his role as executive chairman of Madison Square Garden — a major owner of concert venues (Radio City Music Hall, The Beacon Theater, The Chicago Theater), sports teams (New York’s Knicks and Rangers) and media outlets (MSG network and music channel Fuse). Dolan’s also CEO of Cablevision Systems, a director of AMC Networks, and a Live Nation client in his role as lead singer and guitarist for blues band Read More »