Posts filed under ‘scalping’
A colleague, Tim Baker posted this article on the Thinkaboutpricing LinkedIn group. Jez Butterworth’s The River prompts fears of rise in paid queuing.
In 2012 it does seem anachronistic that the Royal Court Theatre seems to be supporting the idea that “… the queue is the happiest and fairest medium we have found so far … some things should perhaps be considered sacrosanct.“
For Jez Butterworth’s new play, The River with Dominic West at the Royal Court tickets will only be available to those who queue at the venue on the day of performance. That means no advance booking in person, by phone, by mail or online.
Tourists will be OK as they have time on their hands and it can be a unique new ‘London experience’ – queuing in the rain. Touts will be OK as they can pay people to stand in queue to buy the allowed two tickets and hand them over to touts (or touts will bid to buy) to pass them on to the market with “cost of sale” and profit?
In addition to disadvantaging the disabled, regional audiences will miss out (unless they make an early trip to London on the off chance that they will be lucky for later that day) and it would appear to disadvantage the employed with the two access options only in person at the theatre in queues at 9am and 10am?
I can’t help but feeling suspicious that given it is only a 85 seat studio, the queue is a made to order publicity stunt. It also seems to be a ready made publicity opportunity that the Royal Court Theatre can transfer it to the larger Jerwood Theatre downstairs with 300+ more seats and be seen as the good guys giving everyone a chance to see it.
But, will the existing audiences of the Royal Court see queuing as “fair”, I am sure they will not be “happy” that their previous patronage will account for nought when they try to see what is being pushed as the next ‘must see’ show.
As described this innovative access scheme does not appear to acknowledge or reward valuable relationships like friends, donors and other supporters in the form of sponsors, funders, benefactors, foundations, members and associates? Friends membership includes the stated benefit “exclusive priority booking”, I do hope they also received their other benefit of “priority advance notice” of this policy.
There are three shows ‘sold out‘ already, one month before the show even starts (or ‘bookings’ open), so maybe some lucky ones (255) are being looked after. But again, I would not be “happy” or see it as “fair” if I had travelled down to London to queue that morning to see the show on one of those nights.
“It’s really ####ing shady!“ Viagogo employee in The Great Ticket Scandal.
“at viagogo you’ll work with fun people who are committed to helping fans gain access to tickets to the best live events in the world!“
One of the required Skills and Attributes is “A sense of humour”
The Great Ticket Scandal in summary:
Viagogo takes the most flack (not surprisingly they attempted to block the broadcast with an injunction), but Seatwave and others named are not without blame. Promoters LiveNation and SJM are also incriminated for duping fans with a 90/10 split (in their favour) on the markup on tickets withheld from the primary marketplace and allocated to resellers like Viagogo.
1. SECONDARY MARKET COMPETITION WITH PRIMARY MARKET
“Viagogo staff compete directly with real fans to buy tickets from primary ticket sellers, like Ticketmaster, for in demand events as soon as they go on sale. To get around systems put in place to prevent bulk buying of tickets, Viagogo staff use multiple credit cards registered to different addresses.“
2. PRIMARY MARKET SHORTCHANGED
“major promoters allocate hundreds or even thousands of tickets to be sold through their (Viagogo) website at well above the face value. Tickets for recent gigs and tours by Coldplay, Rihanna, Westlife, Take That, and V Festival have been allocated by the promoters in this way.“
The Dispatches episode on the Channel 4 website:
The Great Ticket Scandal (not available online outside the UK)
Outside the UK watch the exposé on YouTube (in 4 parts):
The Great Ticket Scandal (outside the UK)
Various recent articles:
I was surprised by the candour of this website TicketBots – automating human efforts.
“Ticketmaster Helper Application is designed to help brokers, so that they get more organized and save time while purchasing tickets. This product is legal and developed by authorizing the lawsuits. Ticketmaster helper application just helps the user to reduce manual work that user does while purchasing tickets. It is just a transformation of human efforts into an automatic process of buying tickets.“
It appears that they are covering a fair few of the scalping opportunities with a suite of offerings:
In a public relations nightmare for all parties involved, the eagerly awaited onsale for for the annual Splendour in the Grass festival hit had a major meltdown as reported in the Sydney Morning Herald. Online blogs were aflame with fans venting their frustrations with the problems getting hold of tickets.
Of course, the Fairfax Media owned Herald could not miss the opportunity to take a free jab at the Rupert Murdoch News Corp owned Moshtix.
I have been watching this movement with interest since the start of the year.
The Fan Freedom Project rails against the “new restrictive paperless ticketing technologies under the guise of innovation and convenience.“
It is the terms and conditions that are now being applied to paperless tickets that the Fan Freedom Project sees as restrictive:
Two types of paperless ticketing, both of which have negative implications for fans of live events:
- Restricted transfer (closed-loop system administered by the ticket agent)
- Prohibition of ticket transfer (ticket tied to one credit card or ID)
While I applaud the sentiment and the call to action for change, I am not so sure about the statement – “We the fans believe we own the tickets we buy.” My understanding is that a ticket is just a licence to attend an event at a specific location, date and time (and maybe seating location). Does the consumer really own it and own what? Any opinions?
Take a look at the infographic for a quick summary of the issues.
An interesting contradiction reported in How to get an Olympic seat.
THE ADVICE: Apply for lots of tickets, but beware if you get them – you will have to pay for all of them.
“The official advice is that to maximise your chances of getting tickets, you will need to apply for lots of things. But be warned: if you get everything you apply for, you are committed to buying all those tickets“
Won’t that just encourage a secondary market for scalpers?
“It will be illegal to sell tickets for a profit, unless you are an authorised partner, … So if you put tickets up on, say, eBay, you will be committing an offence. However, London 2012 is developing an online exchange through which people can resell them.“
I hope the online exchange is up and running and road tested well in advance of tickets going on sale.
There seem to be quite a few articles (re-purposed press releases?) about dynamic pricing lately. I wonder if ‘someone’ has decided that it is the answer to extract more revenue from the marketplace.
“‘dynamic’ or ‘variable’ pricing — a ticketing philosophy that has theaters and arenas boosting ticket prices based on hot-selling shows and popular game days. Prices also can decrease based on demand.“
“It’s going to give the buying public more power and more options,” said Sammy Wallace, vice president of event programming at Germain Arena in Estero. “You could pay more for a ticket, or you could pay less. It’s really up to you.”
Is it too cynical to suggest that you could pay more for a ticket or not go, it’s really up to you?
“Overpriced tickets can cut out budget-minded buyers, while underpriced tickets can lead to ticket scalping because some fans are willing to pay much more for the best-possible seats. Dynamic pricing helps correct that.“
I find the concern for the “budget minded buyers” a convenient social equity argument and I wonder how often dynamic pricing goes the other way? Didn’t that used to be called discounting of less desirable seats to acquit social accessibility responsibilities?
“Economics is driving this new ticketing trend. Dynamic pricing is a response to many factors, including higher production costs and artist fees, lackluster ticket and album sales, and the looming specter of ticket scalpers.” I think the real driving factors have been identified here and … sorry … the consumer and better or more equitable service is not identified as a driver.
It may be me being thick, but this article seems to continue the confusion over who runs a venue, who hires the venue and owns the act and who is just an agent.
This article would be amusing if it were not for the large number of annoyed customers and fans judging by the comments.
Just because you can gouge some customers does not mean you should disadvantage all customers. This is a shortsighted tactic that hopefully will be discouraged by consumer backlash.
Or am I just being naive?
Some classic quotes for your amusement:
“Ticketmaster, the official ticket agency for the O2, tells fans that using “market-based pricing” for tickets will give them a better chance of seeing their favourite groups than using set prices.“
“The most expensive price of all – £675.03 for a pair of tickets in block A1 – was charged by Simply Red, the Mancunian band fronted by Mick Hucknall, the Labour-supporting singer whose songs include ‘Money’s Too Tight (To Mention)’.“
It appears that Paperless Ticketing gets rid of individual tickets issued before an event, but as applied by Ticketmaster it depends upon the one credit card to identify the rightful attendees.
“It’s the ultimate in convenience if you’re a consumer,” says Jeff Kline, president of Cleveland-based Veritix.
There are numerous examples of how this compromises convenience, gift giving being buy one example. The helpful answer of Ticketmaster to gift givers is to buy paperless tickets “on the credit card of the person attending the event and [then] reimburse them.” Sort of discounts the warm and fuzzies from the gift of giving …
It is hard to see any real benefits to consumers with the dependence upon a credit card for identification and store of value and the only real benefits seem to be the agents extending control from the primary market to the secondary market. “Veritix and Ticketmaster say they aren’t against reselling, or even reselling at a profit — they just oppose it being done outside their own electronic walls. Both companies have set up their own reselling sites and require consumers to use them if they want to resell a paperless ticket. The companies then collect a fee, typically about 20 percent of the value of the transaction.“
“The debate revives a long-running question about the nature of a ticket: Is it a piece of property that its holder has the right to buy and sell as he sees fit, or is it merely a seat-rental contract subject to restrictions determined by its issuer?“
READ FULL ARTICLE ONLINE AT THE WASHINGTON POST ‘Paperless ticketing’ aims to thwart scalping at concerts, sports events