After posting a first-quarter loss of $45.6 million , Live Nation is getting back on track with a second-quarter income of $19.9 million on revenues of $1.04 billion in the three-month period ended June 30.
While noting its escalated online presence in the second quarter, Los Angeles-based Live Nation attributed the 35.3% revenue growth to higher ticket prices at arena events, increased international events, and acquisitions like Concert Productions International, House of Blues Concerts Canada, MusicToday, Trunk and others. Divested operations that were excluded from last year's revenue, which is reported at $768 million, also contributed to the increase.
During a conference call today (Aug. 9), Live Nation president/CEO Michael Rapino said that the company's ongoing vision is to construct a "vertically integrated live music platform," aimed at maximizing revenue for touring artists. "We're building a one-stop shop of live ancillary products and services," Rapino said. "And to layer on that, we've become a powerful marketer and e-retailer for them. We're building a direct sales channel to fans via livenation.com ."
He added that Live Nation's online division is flourishing. "The traffic on our combined Web sites reached an all-time high of 11.9 million visitors (in June)," he noted. "This is driven in part by the success of the sale of exclusive tickets that we sell to registered members and other product services we launched online in April of this year."
The company reported that its North American concert business turned in $6.5 million in operating income, on $462.8 million in revenue, versus a $734,000 loss on $314.4 million in revenue in the company's fiscal second-quarter last year. "We just instituted a much more centralized databank of how we buy and what we buy," Rapino said. "Jason Garner, who is running that division now, has worked with the presidents of the regions to gel a much more synergistic strategy on how they buy their shows across the country."
He added that Live Nation made margin gains despite a softer 2007 concert season. "We have doubled our North American amphitheater margin and helped to improve our overall North American margin, one of our biggest accomplishments this year," Rapino observed.
Meanwhile, its international music division generated $29.2 million in operating income on $335.3 million in revenue, partly driven by increased promotion and a strong festival season.
Asked if Live Nation will renew its deal with Ticketmaster (which expires at the end of 2008), Rapino responded, "We don't have any updates yet. It's one of our key strategies of the future, and we've been working hard with Ticketmaster and others to review all options . . . We're not ready to talk about that publicly."
Additional reporting by Ed Christman, N.Y.