Will High Gas Prices Hurt Summer Concert Ticket Sales?
-- High gas prices probably won't get in the way of consumer spending this summer, writes Adam Davidson in a New York Times Sunday Magazine article. Gas prices reached an average of $3.93 on Wednesday but consumers have a history of taking price spikes in stride. That's comforting news for the concert promoters, ticket sellers, artist managers and everyone else the concert business (although high gas prices does affect the cost of touring from one city to another).

Davidson's article cites a 2007 study, "Retail Energy Prices and Consumer Expenditures" by Paul Edelstein and Lutz Kilian, that drew some surprising results about consumer spending when gas prices spiked between 1970 and 2006. The two researchers found overall spending on recreation experienced "no significant decline" due to gas price spikes. Some categories, such as sightseeing, recreational sports and spectator amusements, suffered "only insignificant declines," while gas spikes showed "no significant effect" on activities such as movies, bowling and casino gambling. The researchers did not break out a category for music concerts.

Those findings don't exactly jibe with common perceptions of impacts from gas price spikes, the researchers wrote. "For example, we would expect fewer consumers to go to the movies, both because going to the movies involves driving and because watching movies in theaters is relatively expensive compared to renting movies or watching them on television. Similarly, the lack of responsiveness of expenditures on sightseeing and spectator amusements and sports (known to be expensive in many cases), does not fit the view that unanticipated purchasing power losses hurt the tourism and entertainment industry."

There's even evidence gas prices won't get in the way of Americans' summer fun. Local and intercity transportation suffered a "highly significant decline" after half a year, and spending on hotels and motels dropped 0.4%, although the researchers point out "that decline is not statistically significant." A survey by the Georgia Credit Union Affiliates found the percent of people who intend to spend the same or more on travel is up to 63% from 49% in 2011.

What takes a hit when higher gas prices mean consumers have less money to spend? Durables like washing machines, auto repair services and person business expenditures, Edelstein and Kilian say.

The belief that increases in gas prices turn American consumers into stay-at-home misers may be the result of the nature of the product. "Oil is the only volatile commodity that most Americans deal with directly: we are buffered from most other price swings by our relative wealth," writes Davidson in the Times. "Unlike people in poor countries, consumers here don't generally buy raw commodity foods; we buy our meals processed or prepared. There's about a nickel's worth of corn in each box of Corn Flakes, but Kellogg's doesn't adjust the price of its cereal every hour to follow global supply and demand."
( New York Times)

Video Services Get Boost From Facebook's Open Graph
-- Video services appear to be getting a boost from their integrations with Facebook's Open Graph, the network that connects Facebook users and their interests. A tweet by Vevo CEO Rio Caraeff ( @riozilla) touts the "tremendous results" of the integration, and Facebook itself is trumpeting some of its "early success stories" in video services' integration.

"Published actions on Facebook increased 600% from February to March, referrals from Facebook to Vevo have increased 130% in the same time frame, and 60% of Facebook referral traffic now comes from Open Graph stories," a post at the Facebook Developer blog says. "Additionally, Vevo moved to a Facebook-only registration, which has resulted in an increase of 200% in daily registrations."

I checked with Vevo on that last item. The "increase of 200%" could be interpreted as saying registrations using Facebook Connect are up 200%. Once the Open Graph integration went live, the only way to register was using your Facebook login. In that sense, it would be only natural for registrations to increase. But I was told overall Vevo registrations are indeed up 200%.

Facebook says other services have benefitted from Open Graph, too. More than six million people visit Dailymotion from Facebook on a given day. Viddy has gone from 60,000 to more than 920,000 monthly active users since.
( Facebook Developer Blog)