Ticketmaster's Moriarity Downbeat On Live Sector Prospects In 2009

NEW YORK (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Ticketmaster Entertainment CEO Sean Moriarty expects 2009 to be a rough year for ticket prices. In an interview with business journal Bloomberg Moriarty said that despite the strong close for the live entertainment sector in 2008, he expects that the economic woes will take a bite out of bottom lines in 2009.

"You would expect there to be some adjustment of pricing for an economy where people have less money in their pocket." Moriarty told Bloomberg .

The slowdown comes at a particularly challenging juncture for Ticketmaster, which is has been facing an ascendant Live Nation, formerly their largest client and now a major competitor. Live Nation formerly provided as much as 17% of Ticketmaster's business. Contracts with Live Nation venues started to expire at the end of 2008 and continue unabated with the promoter rolling out their own ticketing operations at the affected venues.

Live Nation has also been able to attract some of Ticketmaster's business, including venue management firm SMG, who signed an exclusive deal with LN in September. SMG manages more than 200 venues around the US.

"The loss of Live Nation and the emergence of them as a competitor certainly introduces some risk and some concern." Moriarty noted.

This "concern" has been evidenced by investors and since the company went public, their share price has dropped by 71%. Additionally, the company has seen its net income fall by 76% on higher marketing and interest costs. This drop in profit comes despite a 16% rise in sales in Q3.

According to Moriarty, Ticketmaster isn't taking all of this lying down. With the Azoff deal, announced late last year, Ticketmaster has ventured into artist management and with the acquisition of TIcketsNow last year, they moved strongly into the secondary ticketing market. Ticketmaster is also looking to expand their presence overseas from where it presently derives about 35% of their overall business to as much as 50%.

"We’ve substantially replaced the revenue that Live Nation represented to our business, and the challenge for us is driving comparable profitability for that new revenue," Moriarty told Bloomberg. – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers

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