The Year of Facebook
-- Since 2011 has been the year of Facebook (at least in music) it seems fitting there are two more good bits of Facebook-related news before the years closes out.
First, Ticketfly announced Thursday a new Facebook purchase app that provides an integrated in-app purchasing solution. The app can be seen at the Facebook page of Brooklyn, New York venue Brooklyn Bowl. Events are listed in chronological order. Individual listings include fields for number of tickets desired and delivery method. Buyers can sign into the app using Facebook Connect (without leaving Facebook).
Direct-to-fan company Nimbit says it has seen a 481-percent increase in sales made in Facebook in the last 15 months In November, its artists where receiving 49.7 percent of direct sales revenue from Facebook. Since the release of the new Nimbit Store for Facebook in September, Nimbit's average daily Facebook sales have increased 128 percent. The company ascribes this growth to improved capabilities of its Spotlight Store for Facebook
Both developments may offer some relief for people concerned by a Facebook topic frequently seen in December. As explained in a Dec. 14 New York Times article, in the social media age "some people" are content to be Facebook holdouts. The Times doesn't even attempt to quantify "some people," however, and this doesn't appear to be a trend that's gathering serious steam.
The Economist's "Lean-Back" Digital Experience
-- Those of you following the saga of paid digital content should take note of the encouraging results from The Economist. The magazine is performing well with digital readers - mainly because it hasn't tried to recreate the online experience for tablet readers.
"The demand for digital editions has exceeded our expectations," The Economist Group said in its Interim Report 2011. Its mobile apps have been downloaded over 3 million times and the magazine is read on over 1 million devices each month. Since September online usage is up 45 percent to more than 7 million.
The Economist has an approach to digital content similar to those of the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. Free views are capped and there is an emphasis on paid subscriptions. But it says digital success has come from not transplanting the online web experience into tablets. "We made a conscious choice to avoid the web-style interactive approach," CEO Andrew Rashbass told The Guardian. "Instead, we saw the potential of delivering a better lean-back experience than we have ever achieved in print."
The Group's revenues were up 4 percent and its operating profit grew 6 percent in the first half of the year. Print circulation is up 3 percent to 1.49 million copies. Paid digital circulation exceeded 100,000 by the end of October and an additional 300,000 print subscribers also read the newspaper on a mobile device each week.
Live Nation's Concerted Effort To Become Smarter: BigChampagne
-- It's no secret Live Nation is making a concerted effort to become a smarter, more analytically-minded company. Earlier this year it launched Live Analytics. On Wednesday it announced the acquisition of online media measurement company BigChampagne.
An acquisition tends to present one of two opportunities: the elimination of redundant expenses or the creation of new revenue opportunities. Some deals have both. The Live Nation-Ticketmaster merger was a horizontal merger that eliminated some redundancies and carried some - albeit a bit hazy - potential for revenue synergies.
The acquisition of BigChampagne seems like a very smart acquisition because it presents clear revenue opportunities. BigChampagne CEO Eric Garland told The Hollywood Reporter its mandate is to apply its B2B service to Live Nation's consumer-facing properties. Live Nation has an incredible amount of consumer data and can improve how it turns that data into revenue. "We're getting to know [the consumers] better and we're connecting people with things they love which are nearby, either in physical space or time space," said Garland.
If BigChampagne can help create a better consumer experience at Live Nation's ecommerce properties, and if it can help increase traffic and generate incremental revenue, the deal will have no problem paying for itself.
Given the size of Live Nation's ecommerce footprint, small improvements in customer engagement can have large impacts on revenue. Live Nation reported $2.8 billion of concert revenue and another $867 million of ticketing revenue in the first nine months of 2011.
If BigChampagne can help Live Nation better connect consumers with events and merchandise, the resulting revenue could easily be in the tens of millions of dollars annually. A mere $30 million of incremental revenue would represent just a 1.1-percent improvement on its $2.8 billion in concert revenue. Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed. But, again, small improvements can have big financial impacts and quickly justify the deal.
Improvements in ecommerce revenue, although far smaller than concert revenue, are important given ecommerce's higher margins. Live Nation reported another $103.4 million of ecommerce revenue for that time period. Its concert revenue carries a 6.5-percent adjust operating margin while ecommerce has a 38.5-percent adjusted operating margin. So much of whatever improvements BigChampagne makes to ecommerce revenue will be added to the bottom line.
( The Hollywood Reporter)