NEW YORK (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — IAC/Interactive CEO Barry Diller tried to allay consumer fears about a potential ticket monopoly created by the proposed Live Nation/Ticketmaster during an interview with USA Today's David Lieberman.
When asked if consumers should be nervous about the merger, Diller replied: "Well, you can be nervous all you wish. It sounds awfully arrogant. It's not meant that way. The thing is: These companies don't compete with each other directly. We don't own venues as Live Nation does. And Live Nation just entered the ticketing business but they don't compete with us at this point. So, it's vertical, and there's nothing legally wrong with vertical."
"The issue is: Will consumers pay more? No. I actually think that what the combination will do will allow us to develop what was really lacking. The big players are getting rather old. The Rolling Stones are out there now. What we don't have is a great development process for new talent. The recorded music business now is, in a sense, the loss leader for live entertainment. And the truth is that they should have symbiotic relationships, and I think we can bring that. But it's under review at the Justice Department and we'll know whenever they get around to dealing with this." Diller added.
Lierberman went on to question Diller about fees for fans who print out their own tickets to which Diller replied:
"I would tell you what a great privilege it is for you to be able to do that and how much infrastructure we had to create and desks we had to make in order for you to do that. But here's the thing: Ticketmaster is the definition of an unloved company. Many more people are denied tickets than we are able to give them because there are only so many seats in the house."
According to Diller, the problem lies in public perceptions of Ticketmaster, rather than the reality.
"The problem with the ticketing business is: It's the essence of non-transparency. And the reason is that everybody has an ax to grind. Artists do not want consumers to know that they have a take of different parts of the ticketing package. People who own venues want to put in service charges. So I think there's going to be legislation which is going to force transparency, and I think that would be great for everybody." Diller told the USA Today. – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers