Today, in the UK, the House of Commons debated whether or not legislation should be passed with regard to secondary ticketing agencies.
The proposed amendments would require secondary market re-sellers and touts selling their tickets through major internet platforms like Seatwave and Viagogo to display openly key facts to potential customers, including:
- Their identity, particularly where they are selling tickets as a business;
- The original face value of the tickets being sold;
- The individual characteristics of the tickets being sold, such as the seat number or the booking reference, and;
- Whether the terms and conditions on the ticket mean that it can be cancelled if the organisers find out it has been resold.
As someone who deals mainly with B2B events that are either free to attend or require significant marketing input I had not really given much thought to how tickets for major/popular events could sell out quite so quickly. Reading a recent report from the BBC led me to think about the scale of the operation, and to ask whether this is a case of market abuse or commercial opportunism, and also to consider how event organisers manage their own ticket pricing policy and the potential for negative media when genuine fans are unable to get hold of tickets at face value, even when they are logging onto the relevant website the moment the tickets are released.
Ticket harvesting with sophisticated software and high-speed connections with multiple identities enables third party resellers to buy tickets quicker than an individual manually entering their details. Genuine fans are consequently left with little choice to buy the flipped tickets at vastly inflated prices. The difficulty for event organisers is that the speed at which this happens means that many potential ticket purchasers are unable to differentiate between the genuine organiser and the third party, consequently blaming the inflated prices on greedy promoters and performers.
The amendment was defeated in today’s debate, with the government arguing for self-regulation rather legislation. The question remains as to the time scale and scope of this self-regulation, and consequently whether consumers will get a better deal or event promoters escape the accusation of vastly inflated ticket prices.
For more information and news on ticketing, check out The Ticketing Institute