Mobile Ticketing Catching On In Australia
Mobile Ticketing Catching On In Australia

Mobile ticketing is starting to gain traction Down Under. That's the word from one of Australia's big-two ticketing firms Ticketek, which this week revealed it was seeing a "strong shift" toward mobile.

That's no surprise, given the money ticketing companies are throwing at technology. But what will surely set some tongues wagging was the news that Ticketek sold 10% of its Foo Fighters Australasian tour tickets via cellular devices.

"This exceeded our most bullish forecasts," explains Ticketek Australia's managing director Cameron Hoy. Promoted by Frontier Touring Company, the Foo Fighters' will play seven stadium dates in Australia and New Zealand later this year, with support from Jack Black and Kyle Gass' Tenacious D plus Canadian punk outfit Fucked Up.

Ticketek handles ticketing for four Foo Fighters dates - two at Melbourne's 30,000-capacity AAMI Park (Dec. 2 and 3), the 36,000-capacity Adelaide Oval (Dec. 5) and 45,000-capacity Sydney's Football Stadium (Dec. 8). Rival ticketing giant Ticketmaster will service the remaining three shows, including the first date in Perth (Nov. 28) and the final two dates on the Gold Coast (Dec. 10) and Auckland (Dec. 13), respectively.

Though Ticketek didn't reveal the total number of tickets released, and not all dates have posted the "sold-out" sign. But it wouldn't be a stretch to suggest mobile handsets were the starting point for about 15,000 Foo Fighers ticket transactions.

In the four weeks since Ticketek launched its in-house developed mobile site, or "m-site," the company reports more than 15% of its online traffic has been generated from mobile browsing. "Importantly, customers are not just browsing, they are buying," reckons Hoy, citing the Foo Fighters' double-digital data.

Australian promoters are increasingly accepting of new technology. "Mobile ticketing will grow, big time," says Dainty Consolidated Entertainment chairman Paul Dainty, whose company is bringing out Eminem to these shores in December. "We're just starting (with mobile). It's in its infancy. But if we talk in a year from now, I'm sure it'll be a hot, hot topic," Dainty tells Double digital mobile sales was a "pretty impressive result," he admits. "It tells you, that's going to become 40-60% (of the business) faster than you think."

Between them, Ticketek and Ticketmaster have an estimated 85% of the ticketing market Down Under, according to ticketing sources. That's no small beer. Across all live entertainment in 2010, trade body Live Performance Australia reckons the ticketing business soared to all-time high levels of Australian $1.327 billion ($1.4 billion), up 22.6%. At the same time, attendances across the board grew 13.5% to 17.2 tickets, of which 15.36 million were paid stubs.

It's a growing marketplace in every sense. Last October, Rupert Murdoch's publishing group News Limited launched a new ticketing service Foxtix, as part of an aggressive strategy to take on what its chairman and CEO John Hartigan described as a "cosy duopoly in ticketing in Australia." Foxtix sits alongside the digital Mostix ticketing brand, which has about 4-5% of the music entertainment market, sources say.

International competitors are eyeing an entry to the market. They include StubHub, whose chief marketing officer Ray Elias told the U.S. company hoped to have an Australian presence "sometime in the next few years."