Baseball charts new course on seating

LA Times: Simple, ‘one size fits all’ ticket pricing has become a thing of the past as teams use the Internet and other avenues with an eye on increasing revenue. The Dodgers now sell 24 categories of seats.

Interesting article but doesn’t say anything new… :-)! Sure, baseball is slicing and dicing the stadiums into even finer pieces, but baseball has always been the worst about this. Back “in the day” when I handled both the Angels and the Dodgers as Ticketmaster clients (the Dodgers were what’s called an “allotment”, meaning that Ticketmaster only got X number of seats per game as the Dodgers have their own ticketing system that they run, or at least did… The Angels were a full fledged client that Ticketmaster “got” in the acquisition of select assets of Tickettron. They utilize all the Ticketmaster “goodness” :-)… ), and even back then, the Angels had something like 85 ticket types per game.

A “ticket type” is a way to have a different price for a ticket or a way to distinguish a ticket for tracking purposes (group tickets, AAA discount, Girl Scout discount, season seats, packages, etc.).

So clients like the Angels have been doing this for years. Another that is notorious for doing complex ticketing things, and having to track it not only locally, but replicating it nationwide for widespread tracking/marketing purposes, is Feld Entertainment… you know, the circus, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey. They track every ticket sold on a nationwide/tourwide basis and have a gazillion different ticket types just for that purpose….

Ticketmaster buys stake in Echomusic

C|NET News.com: “Event ticket retailer Ticketmaster announced Monday that it has acquired a majority stake in online-focused music marketing company Echomusic.”

I don’t think that this was news to anybody, the only part that is news is the company they chose to invest in. Ticketmaster has long been in the services business, and those services have catered more and more to the actual act over the years. Don’t get me wrong, Ticketmaster still makes it’s money off of service/convenience charges, but that is changing.

Ticketing is a very mature business and there isn’t much more money to be squeezed from the turnip/rock/whatever. There are only so many tours. Ticket prices are sky high, and many have said that the way to more revenue in touring is more shows with lower ticket prices, generating a higher volume. That’s what The Grateful Dead did for years, but that takes a toll with a lot of time spent on the road! And most markets are already saturated with large venues that can handle concerts, so more of them isn’t going to “grow the business”….

Ticketmaster has done a very good job of getting $.07 out of every nickel. they have done it the old fashioned way, through attrition and head count. They have modernized and streamlined their processes and I’m sure are trying to do more. But efficiencies only do so much. Ticketmaster needs to find NEW revenue sources in order to continue to grow!

That is where a number of acquisitions have come into play. And these aren’t just the normal ticketing acquisitions that you would think of (their purchase of Museum Tix, Ticket Web, etc.). Ticketmaster has really been trying to expand into other services, including things such as CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and not just to venues, but to promoters and to artists themselves as well. This acquisition is a perfect example of this.

By providing all of these services and points of contact, Ticketmaster essentially becomes a “one-stop-shop”. Or to put it another way, they have become just like your bank or any other on-line portal…. You are so invested in them, that even though they don’t always provide the best service, it’s good enough so as not to endure the hassle of having to change service providers. Ticketmaster has you painted into a corner… :-). But don’t fret, it’s nothing that isn’t done every day, like I said, look at your bank as an example.

The difference is that banks have started to catch on. They now offer “kits” that make it easy to change all of your info (auto billing to your credit/debit cards, other billing info, direct deposit, etc.). One of these days someone will catch on that they need to provide more than just ticketing, and more than just ticketing to the standard ticketing crowd…. Then not only will huge new business markets become available as new revenue sources, but Ticketmaster will finally have some decent competition!

Site Development for LaWeb.com

I own a great domain… LaWeb.com. I’ve owned if for years and have never done anything with it. But it’s a new year and I’m doing some spring cleaning, so a little while ago, I actually made the site live and threw something up there… a standard CMS install of what is leading software. Tried the others too, not sold on any of them.

But in doing all of this playing, I did throw a Google Analytics tracking thingy in the templates. So now I know where my traffic is coming from, and it’s pretty good traffic if I must say so myself, for having absolutely nothing there, not even being live until recently.

Lawebanalytics
So these charts made me sit up and think… Now I’m shopping for a developer! I want a developer that will share ad revenue generated from the site in return for a discount on services. By doing this, it gives the developer “skin in the game” and incentive to produce a better site with more useful features, etc. You see, I will more than gladly compensate with ad revenue, any discount given for services… Hell, I’ll even over pay out of ad revenue! Develop better product, make more money! Pretty simple I think :-)….

There are hurdles though…. I don’t speak Spanish, and it’s apparent that the site should be in Spanish and geared towards a Latin market (geography of the Latin market is secondary, I think). Different cultures have different social values, which is why I am looking for a developer that is fluent in these cultures, etc. I don’t want it developed in Kansas and then translated into Spanish, that just wouldn’t work and I’m sure we’d get some really interesting translations from it :-)!

Some of the other things to consider is development time and attracting users. The site and your income will depend on this…. I don’t think years should be spent developing to attract 100 users, but then again, I don’t want to spend 10 minutes developing crap that has a life-span of 10 minutes.

I have thought a lot about this, and each time I come back to a community/myspace/social networking kind of site. Maybe it gets built on top of one of those frameworks (drupal, joomla, etc.) to speed development, maybe not, I’m not sure. I’m looking for input from my developer on this. I want my developer to be a partner in this, not just a “gun for hire”.

Which brings me back to why I am typing about all of this here…. Well, finding a developer is a real pain in the ass! I am willing to pay, but don’t have a lot to do so with (which is why I would love to defer discount+ to ad revenue and am very willing to off-shore it although I haven’t had a lot of success there (takes a lot of hand holding)….), so I thought I’d vent about it here for a number of reasons…. Maybe it will get me some traction (email me here if you’re an interested developer) and I figure maybe it will be interesting to follow the progress. I’ll keep you up to date about the project, and be quite open about it too if you want :-). So let me know and I’ll keep typing….