Latest articles

Posted in Uncategorized on August 11, 2019 by richardhowle

A couple of articles by me published in The Stage in recent months. The first looks how at how producers price houses

https://www.thestage.co.uk/opinion/2019/richard-howle-the-secrets-behind-how-producers-price-west-end-tickets/

The second argues that West End Producers need to take control of how tickets are sold rather than complaining about it.

https://www.thestage.co.uk/opinion/2019/richard-howle-ticket-agents-producers-west-end-prices/

Don’t be put off if you are asked to subscribe, just adding your email gives you access to a number of articles. Although, if you want to support independent arts journalism then I thoroughly recommend that you do subscribe!

 

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My latest musings for The Stage on the legacy of the National Theatre Travelex scheme

Posted in Theatre, Ticketing on October 4, 2018 by richardhowle

How the NT’s Travelex scheme launched a revolution across Theatreland

My view on Ticketmaster shutting Seatwave and Get Me In

Posted in Ticketing on August 29, 2018 by richardhowle

A welcome move, but this isn’t the end of the scourge of ticket touts as I write in The Stage

Shutting Ticketmaster’s resale sites welcome, but there’s work to do

West End Theatre Ticket Prices

Posted in Theatre, Ticketing on March 29, 2018 by richardhowle

We hear a lot about how expensive theatre ticket prices are. In this article for The Stage I reveal how and why tickets are priced the way they are and breakdown the cost of a ticket. You may need to register to view the article (but it is free to do so)

 

Link: The Stage – Think West End tickets are overpriced? Why a breakdown of the costs proves they’re not a rip-off

Questioning Polls 

Posted in Brexit, Current Affairs, Politics, Referendum, Society on June 19, 2016 by richardhowle

I don’t know about you, but I am fed up with this referendum campaign.  The campaigners on both sides have treated the electorate with contempt as if we are all idiots incapable of making a rational decision based on facts without being bullied, bribed or frightened. It has all been pretty distasteful, pathetic and quite frankly childish. It reached its nadir with the ridiculous spectacle of Bob Geldof and Nigel Farage trading insults each other whilst they floated up the Thames on rival boats. 

All this campaign has done is to expose the dearth of talented politicians that we have in this country. People complain about MP’s pay and their pay rises and whilst with this bunch it is easy to have some sympathy with those complainers, it does prove the old adage – pay peanuts get monkeys. I should qualify that statement by acknowledging that in comparison to most people,  MP’s are paid very well and is certainly not peanuts. But we put a lot of responsibility in the hands of those 650 odd people who represent us (it will be even more responsibility if we vote for Brexit)  so therefore, surely we want the very best people handling that responsibility? To attract the best, we need to pay for the best.  Unfortunately the best can earn far more working elsewhere and an MP’s pay is peanuts in comparison. Why would or should they take a pay cut to become Members of Parliament?

Anyway, I digress before I have even started.  In the last General Election the pollsters famously got it very wrong- throughout the campaign Labour were polling ahead of the Conservative Party and ended up being comfortably beaten. There was shock, not just amongst the pollsters but also the Twitterati – those that inhabit social media. In the lead up to the General Election, Labour supporters were shouting very loudly on Facebook and Twitter, so much so that it was easy to think that this was a true reflection of how everyone felt. But the reality of the situation is that there are vast swathes of the population who aren’t on social media – and of those that are , how many are expressing political opinions?  Think about your own Facebook account (if you have one) – let’s say you have 200 friends, how many of them posted about politics during the General Election? 20, 50, 80 – maybe even 100?  Probably for most people less than half of their friends posted about politics. Now of course many of those who did, did so a lot – and often quite forcibly and on my timeline it was largely in support of the Labour Party. Therefore it was quite easy to wrongly assume that this was what everyone was thinking, particularly combined with the polls which all pointed to a Labour victory. 

In reality, the silent majority spoke and the Conservatives won out, much to the consternation of the left. But why were they silent? I suspect that there are two reasons, and this is only my conjecture and not based on any research. Firstly the naturally more inclined conservative voter is less likely to be on social media (elderly etc), which as discussed earlier is a lot of people. My use of the small ‘c’ in that last sentence was deliberate – less likely to be radical or inclined toward change – supposedly what the Labour Party were offering. Secondly, for those on social media, the vitriolic rhetoric of a lot of the left meant that staying quiet was the best option for an easy life.  They chose to do their talking at the ballot box.  The pollsters claimed that their pre election polls were wrong because many people lied to them and were really secret  Conservative Party voters. I can understand that, such was the climate it is easy to believe that people were  wary or ashamed to admit that they were voting Tory. Although the polling companies will deny this, I think that the way many of the polls are conducted, primarily online, does not truly represent a lot of people – many of whom may be unwilling or unable to participate in an online poll.

Which brings me back to the referendum. It is easy to forget that your social media timelines are unique to you. Your friends are likely to be from a fairly similar demographic.  I work in theatre, many of my Facebook friends or the people that I follow on Twitter do as well.  The social media posts that I read are therefore  not representative of the wider population. With the majority (of those expressing a view) on my Facebook and Twitter feed supporting the “remain” campaign I thought I would conduct own poll on Twitter to see how my followers felt on the subject. Although my followers choose me rather than the other way round, I thought it was reasonable to expect that they were likely to be of a similar bent to the people I follow / am friends with – so I expected a remain victory.

However the poll was quickly picked up by “leave” campaigners, retweeted over 30 times by them and quickly dominated by leave votes.  In the end, Leave comfortably won with 82% of the vote. 


It immediately reminded me of the General Election – where Labour voters dominated social media, creating the impression that it was on course for an easy victory.  So although the “leave” campaign seems to be winning both in the polls and on social media, will the silent conservative (with a small ‘c’) majority do their talking at the polling booth once more  and produce a “shock” win for remain? I for one do not believe the result of my Twitter poll. Leave may very well win, but not by such a large majority.  Polls are not to be trusted. 

Who knows? But one thing is for sure – that I think the majority will be in agreement about – I’ll be glad when it’s all over 

Grassing us up

Posted in Fun Stff with tags , , on August 15, 2015 by richardhowle

Yes, we could have tiled it. Perhaps even gone for decking. But where is the fun in that? We decided that the only thing to do was to grass our balcony. After all, we are on the top floor of our block of flats and it is a long way down to the gardens.

Ok, so its not real grass – but that’s even better – it doesn’t need mowing. And it will match the fake flowers and plants we have decided to put up there as our gardening skills are more Monty Don’t than Monty Don – everything horticultural we touch turns to death.

Wanna see how it was done? Watch this……..

Friendship not Fences

Posted in Current Affairs with tags , , , , on August 2, 2015 by richardhowle

It strikes me as a somewhat of a paradox that the people who rail against those migrants trying to enter into the UK are often the same people who rail against the UK International Development programme.
Over the past few weeks the UK Government has given France millions of Pounds to help boost security in and around the Channel ports and Eurotunnel, but just think how much more effectively that money could be if it were spent in the countries where these poor souls were coming from.

globe

What can they be fleeing from that means that they are risking life and limb, undergoing horrendous conditions in order to cross two continents to reach this small island? Surely we would be better off trying to address those issues, the root cause of the problems around the Channel ports, rather than dealing with it once they have battled their way to get here. Quite frankly, if migrants have endured the treacherous journey to get here, then a few extra fences are not going to stop them.

By not addressing the root cause of why these people are wishing to leave their countries we are only creating a vicious circle. We need to ensure that there is more reason for people to stay in their country of birth than to leave it, because this situation is fast becoming critical. Not for the wealthy nations of Europe (despite what you may read in the Daily Mail), but for the countries where these migrants are coming from. With thousands of (mainly young) leaving, these countries are being stripped of a generation who, if they were to stay, could build and develop their countries into thriving and prosperous nations. Because, (and perhaps most importantly of all), the people who are leaving the country are amongst those who are best equipped to undertake that rebuilding – the educated middle classes.

It is too easy to dehumanise the migrants, we are encouraged by our politicians and our media to view them as inferior. We all know the name of the lion that was killed this week, but how many of us can name one of the migrants who died trying to cross the Channel this week? But these people are intelligent and (relative to their country-folk) prosperous individuals -it costs thousands of dollars for them to make the journey. The people who are camped in and around Calais are not the poor and the destitute, they are the educated elite, who can speak a foreign language, who have been schooled, who have been sent by their families over here as they have the best prospects of making a better life for themselves.

That is why International Development is so important, in order to avert “crisis” over here (and really in World terms, a few extra hours waiting to catch a ferry is not really a crisis) we need to avoid a proper crisis in the countries where this brain drain is occurring. We need investment to create development programmes so that there is an alternative and opportunity for those people who currently see no other option than to travel thousands on miles in search of a better life. Let us help them to create a better life for themselves and their families and their country and to put an end to the vicious circle.

That, for me, is why is why the International Development budget is so important and why those who are complaining about the migrant issue should be supportive of it. Now, how that budget is spent and used is a whole different subject – why we continue to give aid to countries that have a space programme (India) is a mystery to me. It is this that should be at the heart of international development debate – not the budget itself.

And, finally, how do we solve the current situation, which isn’t really a crisis – but more of a tragedy? Because what I have spoken about here is a long term fix and doesn’t address the current problem of thousands of migrants who are currently at the mercy of ruthless people smugglers. It isn’t going to be solved by the French paying British holiday makers compensation (thanks for that helpful intervention, Harriet Harman), it can only be solved by an EU wide effort – putting proper investment into processing migrants when they first arrive in Europe and arranging for the fair and safe relocation of them across the whole continent. At least by controlling the situation at the point of arrival we can protect migrants from exploitation, injury and death and start treating them as human beings.

Why we should end booking fees. (And why we probably won’t)

Posted in Ticketing on January 18, 2015 by richardhowle

Last week I wrote about why booking fees are important where I explained how booking fees brought a transparency to ticketing that helped the consumer to make informed purchasing decisions. So it seems a little contradictory to be writing this week that we should end booking fees. But, whilst I stand by what I wrote, I really don’t think that it is enough to gain the confidence of the ticket buying public. Although that explanation may help consumers understand why there are booking fees, it won’t convince them that they aren’t being ripped off. As I said, no one likes booking fees – given the choice ticketing companies would get rid of them, after all why have a policy that so infuriates your customers if there was another way?

As I have discussed on these pages before, Ticketing never receives positive headlines. It is never going to be a popular industry, at best it is just a necessary evil in order for fans to access their favourite artists, sports people, shows or events; And when demand outstrips supply, it is the Ticketing Industry that bears the brunt of the public’s wrath.

The perils of being the gatekeeper are just something the Ticketing Industry will have to put up with, there is nothing that it can do about that.  But it can and should eliminate some of the other practices that make it so unpopular. There is no need to unnecessarily alienate so many people with outdated policies and unjustifiable charges.  Ticketing is a service industry and we should always remember that. Whilst the Ticketing Industry is never going to be popular, it would be considered more favourably if we adopted the following:

End the no exchanges and refunds policy. This is a policy formed entirely out of self interest. The theory behind it is that once a ticket is sold decisions about marketing and pricing as well as operational decision are made on the basis of that sale.  I.E. If an event has sold 1,000 tickets then the organisers will make financial decisions based on those sales. If 500 of those tickets were to be returned then those decisions may no longer be the correct ones and may cost the organiser money, particularly if those tickets are returned at a time too late to resell them (or after the advertising budget has been spent). This is all well and good and are legitimate concerns but there must be an alternative that can meet those concerns without alienating customers. Because, for customers, this is a serious issue. In most other areas of retail a customer can return an unused product if they have changed their mind – as a minimum to exchange it for another product or a credit note.  The Ticketing Industry is already given protection in the form of exclusion from the distance selling legistlation that allows consumers a 14 day window in which to change their mind and get a refund, its refusal to allow exchanges often leaves consumers with an expensive purchase that they can no longer use. Rather than a blanket ban, if customers are allowed to exchange their tickets for an alternative date, for a fee (recognising that there is an admin cost) within a set time period (recognising the concerns of the event organiser) then not only is the customer happier, but it might also make them more confident about booking in advance. When there aren’t alternative dates there should be a resale option which offers to resell tickets on behalf of customers (provided that all other tickets are sold etc).

Be transparent about the secondary market. Currently the refusal  to provide exchanges or refunds only provides fuel for the secondary sites such as Stubhub or Viagogo. By offering official resale channels (at face value with nominal admin charges) they would eliminate the need for people to operate on these sites.  This is important because the Secondary Ticketing market is one of the biggest causes of public resentment towards the Ticketing Industry.

In a free market economy people should be free to buy and sell tickets at whatever price they wish to. But there needs to be transparency about who is selling the tickets, particularly if they are coming from event organisers or  primary ticketing companies. Those event organisers who do not wish for their tickets to be sold via these sites should stop the supply of them, not punish the customer who bought the tickets by cancelling them.

Make it cheaper online. Although, as I explained last week, it does cost money to sell tickets, it is undoubtedly cheaper to do so online. A ticket is one of the only products where it is more expensive to purchase online. There is no excuse for savings not to be passed on to the consumer

Stop the fees altogether. One of the bug bears of consumers isn’t the existence of booking fees, per se but it is the layering of fees (facility fee, booking fee, print at home fee, transaction fee). The reason why ticketing companies do this is to make the individual components appear smaller, rather than just having one, bigger fee. They should just bite the bullet and be honest about what it costs to sell tickets. Or rather still we should just eliminate fees altogether.

Ticketing fees should all be absorbed into the ticket price with ticketing companies buying tickets from event organisers at a negotiated wholesale price and sold at or around an agreed recommended retail price. Ticketing companies can negotiate their margin based on a mixture of volume and distribution opportunities, without it being played out in public – confusing and causing disillusionment in ticket buyers.

This is what the public wants and as a service industry this is what we should give them. However, for the public it will be a question of being careful of what you wish for because there will be two direct consequences.

1. It will make ticket buyers more vulnerable to being ripped off by rogue companies (see my previous post), the industry will also need to be much clearer about who are legitimate, authorised sellers and what consumers should expect to pay for different tickets.

2. It will put prices up for everyone. By eliminating booking fees it wont eliminate the cost of ticketing. By absorbing the cost of ticketing within the ticket price it will only raise those prices for everybody. This will particularly be felt by those who buy tickets via sales channels that don’t currently incur booking fees now (such as in person sales at the box office). The current face values would likely become wholesale prices with retail prices being 10-15% higher.

The higher ticket prices would then mean that a lot of the wrath of the ticket buying public would then move to the event organiser. Which is why, in reality, none of these things will actually happen.

You see, whilst not perfect, the Ticketing Industry is really the fall guy for event organisers. They, rather than the public, are its paymasters. They are the ones for whom the Ticketing Industry provides a service. The Ticketing Industry takes the blame and the public flack for the decisions of the event organisers.

Refunds and exchanges. It really makes very little difference to the Ticketing Companies whether there are refunds or exchanges. Yes there is are some administration costs to doing so, which can be covered, but actually they pail into insignificance compared to the cost of dealing with the consequences of that policy from handling complaints right through to the reputational damage. A senior executive at a ticketing company told me recently that after a customer had complained so much they decided to refund the customer (at their own cost) in order to resolve the issue.  The customer then tweeted that they had received a refund. Having read this, the promoter contacted the ticketing company demanding to know why a refund had been made without his permission. From a ticketing company’s point of view it would make life easier, enable them to have better relations with their customers and gather more data from additional customers (a consequence of reselling tickets) if event organisers allowed refunds / exchanges.

Secondary market. It is an open secret that some event organisers supply tickets directly to the secondary market in order to boost their income. The cloak of anonymity then allows them to decry the practice in public and lambast the Ticketing Industry that allows this to happen.

Booking fees. All ticketing companies would choose, if they could, not to have booking fees. It is the event organiser that decides otherwise. They are presented with the costs of ticketing and then choose to pass those costs on to their public (blaming the ticketing industry on the way). Of course, they should view the cost of ticketing as just another cost of putting on the event – they wouldn’t expect the customers to buy a ticket to an event with an additional lighting charge to pay for the costs of lighting that event.

So whilst the Ticketing Industry may wish to better serve the public it will often find that its hands are tied by policies which aren’t theirs but those of the people who have engaged them to sell tickets.

Many event organisers will say that they don’t have any choice and are unable to change the way tickets are sold because they don’t have enough clout on their own to take a stance. That may well be true but if we, as a live entertainment industry, continue to alienate those people who support our businesses by buying tickets, then we risk biting the hand that feeds us. And, if the Ticketing Industry really wanted to make a difference it could take a stance and demand a better service for their customers from event organisers.

Whoever takes the lead, it is time for us all to engage in some sensible, adult, conversations and to make some changes that ensure that it is the events that make the headlines, not the ticketing.

Why Booking Fees Are Important

Posted in Theatre, Ticketing on January 10, 2015 by richardhowle

People just don’t get booking fees. They don’t understand why, having paid for their tickets, they then have to pay extra just for the privilege of buying them. No one likes them, no one wants to pay for them (me included) and the ticketing industry is really poor at explaining them. So why are they important?

Firstly, let’s talk about why they exist. When you buy a ticket to an event, the value of that ticket goes to the event organiser in order to pay for that event (venue hire, equipment hire, artist fees, advertising etc etc).The company that you are buying the ticket from doesn’t see any of that money. Sometimes there may be a little inside commission paid by the event organiser to the ticketing company but it is a nominal amount and is very rarely paid for live music events, So although you are paying your favourite ticketing company £100 for two tickets, the ticketing company is only acting as a middle man, passing that money on to the event organiser. The only money earned by the ticketing company is the booking fee.

And the ticketing companies need to earn money because, despite what some think, it does cost money to sell tickets. Whilst, from a consumer point of view, buying a ticket is usually a straightforward process (although the industry has more work to do to make it simpler), the technology behind that is very sophisticated. This is not the place to bore you with the intricacies of ticketing systems – but take my word for it, they are more complicated than they look; And with consumers demanding ever more developments to make it easier and more convenient to buy tickets (select your own seats, mobile ticketing, multiple payment methods, print at home tickets etc etc) ticketing systems are set to grow ever more complicated and that costs.

On top of the ticketing system costs there is the infrastructure surrounding them – IT support, hosting, backup, website etc etc. If there is one thing that ticket buyers hate more than booking fees, then it is when the system crashes and they can’t even buy the damn things in the first place. And then there are staffing costs – the people required to sell the tickets. And whilst it is true that significantly more tickets are now sold online than via the phone, the reduction in the number of people required to sell them hasn’t reduced in the same proportion. Booking lines have now become website support centres with people calling about bookings made online (usually when they have made a mistake) and, increasingly, customers are now turning to Twitter or Facebook with their queries. I remember at a recent conference Ticketmaster describing how they were taking one person a month off their phone team and putting them on the social media team such was the increase in online queries that needed a human to respond. The important thing to note here is that they were not reducing staffing numbers – only reallocating them.

So system costs, infrastructure costs, staff costs – it is all beginning to add up. Add into that VAT and business costs and suddenly we can see that there are real costs attached to selling tickets.  But that’s not all – in order for a ticketing company to compete in this world for (and no one likes a monopoly so there are multiple companies selling tickets) there are marketing and advertising costs and affiliate fees in order to ensure that they secure the sale ahead of one of their rivals. Ticketing companies spend a fortune with Google every month.  Finally, of course, ticketing companies are commercial enterprises – they have to make some profit, too.

So hopefully that goes some way to explaining why there are booking fees, but why are they so important? Essentially ticketing companies are no different to any other retailers. What I have just explained is simply the cost of sale which applies to any retail business. But when you go to a supermarket, for example, you don’t go to the checkout and get told that that your shopping comes to £100 and on top of that there will be £15 shopping fee.

Except that, in effect that is exactly what you have been charged*. The supermarket buys a product at the wholesale price (face value in ticketing terms) and sells it with a mark up (booking fee) at a retail price. The only difference between the ticketing company and the supermarket is that the ticketing company tells you what that mark up is, tells you how much you are paying the retailer.

*And actually, in reality that mark up is significantly higher at the supermarket. Whereas large ticketing companies will operate on margins (booking fees) of 10-15% the supermarkets will operate on margins of at least 40% but can go up to 70%, 80%, 90%+ on some products (because it is hidden we never truly know).

So why do ticketing companies declare their booking fees (margins), why not just hide them in the price like the supermarkets do? If consumers weren’t aware of them they wouldn’t get upset about them. And here we come to the crux of the matter – why booking fees are important.

If I want to buy a box of Kelloggs Cornflakes it doesn’t really matter where i buy it. If I buy it from Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Waitrose or my corner shop it is the same product – I know what I am getting and having a shopped around I know roughly what it is worth – yes it might be more expensive in my corner shop, but its just down the road and I am prepared to pay more for the convenience. But I am not being ripped off, I am making a choice to pay more and I am still getting the same product that I would have done if I had got in the car and driven to Tesco.

Lets just apply the same logic to buying an event ticket. My niece would like Justin Bieber tickets for her birthday (I’ve tried to discourage her but one just can’t compete with teenage hormones). Just like cornflakes there are a number of places that I can buy those tickets. Lets call them NiceTickets.Com, GoodTickets.com and DodgyTickets.com. I look on their very nice websites and I see the following prices:

NiceTickets.com: £75; GoodTickets.com £80 and DodgyTickets.com £77.

The first two ticketing companies have sold out so, despite their dubious name I will get my tickets from DodgyTickets.com, because although they are not the cheapest – they are around the same price as the others

But then I look in a bit more detail and i see that those prices include booking fees:

Nicetickets.com £75 (£70 face value +£5 booking fee); GoodTickets.com £80 (£70 face value + £10 booking fee); DodgyTickets.com £77 (£45 face value + £32 booking fee).

Hold on, £45? Why are those tickets so cheap compared to the others?

And suddenly, the difference between buying cornflakes and Justin Bieber tickets becomes abundantly clear. I will have the same eating experience no matter where I buy the flakes.It is always the same product. But my niece’s viewing experience of Bieber will be different depending on what tickets I buy. With 15,000 seats in the arena there are 15,000 different viewing experiences on offer. How on earth can I make a judgement as to which is going to be best? The way I do that is by looking at the face value price. The more I pay, the better the viewing experience.

If those ticketing companies hadn’t told me about the booking fee I would have had no way of judging that the view from the DodgyTickets.com tickets was significantly worse than the other tickets. In fact, because their price was similar I am likely to expect that the viewing experience would be similar.

So that is why booking fees are important, not their existence – but the fact that I know of their existence rather than them just being included in the overall price.

Now, obviously this is a very simplified illustration and I use it only to demonstrate the principle. I am certainly not suggesting that this is the perfect model for selling tickets or that there aren’t better solutions, nor that aren’t unjustifiable fees (like for print at home). I will examine these another time. But I do hope that it, at least explains why we have booking fees. Even if we don’t like or agree with them, the transparency that they provide makes the ticket buying process a much fairer one.

Ticketing and the cost of your entertainment

Posted in Theatre, Ticketing with tags , , , on January 26, 2014 by richardhowle

Seeing your favourite band, singer, play or actor is a very emotive thing. Buying a ticket to see them is not like buying another commodity, like a tin of beans. Making that ticket purchase allows you access to an event that will (hopefully) give you great pleasure and provide you with lifelong memories. It is no wonder that ticketing engenders such a passionate response in people.

Ticketing has been in the news once more this week with the BBC running a piece on high prices for popular shows on secondary sites such as Viagogo and Seatwave see the report here . This coincided with a parliamentary debate last week on secondary ticketing led by MP Sharon Hodgson who has crusaded against these sites for many years.

The sites in question provide a market place through which people can buy and sell tickets. The arguments against these sites are very familiar and, understandably, draw a lot of popular support. Far from being used by fans who have bought tickets and are then unable to use them, the main argument goes, they are being exploited by professional touts who buy up large amounts of inventory and use these sites to sell the tickets at vastly inflated prices, preventing “ordinary people” the opportunity to buy them at face value. I won’t rehash the whole debate here, but would encourage those interested to read the transcript of the debate, particularly the less often reported arguments against legislation in this area.

The only thing that I would say is that touting is as old as ticketing and that whenever demand outstrips supply there is always going to be a market for selling tickets at above face value. At least these sites provide a safe environment in which to trade rather than leaving innocent members of the public at the mercy of criminals. Speaking of criminals, talk in the debate about fraud was totally fatuous – as was pointed out, there is legislation already in existence to deal with fraud. But if the politicians insist of legislating in this area they are going to have to give some consideration as to how that legislation is to be enforced. During the years building up to the Olympics I spent a fair bit of time with police officers from Operation Podium who had a big remit concerning ticketing. They did an excellent job and won themselves a lot of friends and respect in the ticketing industry. However with all the resources that they had, they were only really able to scratch the surface of the criminal behaviour around ticketing. That operation has now been disbanded and it has once again become near impossible to get the police to engage in ticketing crime (they don’t have the resources) – adding more legislation into the mix is not going to make that situation any better.

I am not denying that secondary ticketing is a problem, however. It is one that damages the whole ticketing industry. Undoubtedly technology has made it much easier for touts to get hold of tickets on an industrial scale. It is up to us, as an industry, to make it harder for touts to operate and I believe that technology can help us. I noticed this story earlier in the week where Ticketmaster in the US have introduced paperless ticketing for the upcoming Miley Cyrus tour in effort to beat the scalpers (touts). Technology is moving on fast and as an industry we should be adopting that new technology to better improve the ticket buying process for our customers.

If it is not the secondary market or booking fees, then it is often the cost of the tickets themselves that upsets entertainment-goers. The finances of the entertainment industry are incredibly complicated and very difficult to explain to those not involved, but it is very expensive industry to run – as well as an extremely risky one. Yes, big returns can be made – but there is a higher chance of a big loss. Therefore I think this infographic, which featured on http://www.inforgraphicsshowcase.com makes interesting reading. I can’t personally vouch for the accuracy of the figures it contains, but I would suggest that the general principles are in the right ballpark.
The Cost of a Musical on Broadway Infographic - An Infographic from Infographics Showcase

Embedded from Infographics Showcase

The industry is not perfect, there is a lot we can do to make the process of seeing their favourite artists better for the ticket buying public. It is never going to be a painless process, getting hold of something that is hard to come by or spending a lot of money on an evening out is something that none of us like, but I know that there are plenty of people working in the entertainment industry who are determined to make it better