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LIVE NATION POSTS BEST QUARTER EVER

Live Nation had its best quarter in the company's history, as revenue hit $3.8 billion, an 11% rise from Q3 2017. Operating income and adjusted operating income were up 16% as all of the company’s divisions—concerts, sponsorship, and ticketing—delivered their strongest third quarter AOI results ever.

Concert attendance was up 12% to 33m people. In 2018, Live Nation has produced 24,000 shows across 40 countries, driving revenue up 11%; attendance is up 8% to 71m. The company reports that artist earnings have increased by $300m and that it will spend more than $6b producing concerts this year.

Ticketing hit $372.1m in constant currency in the quarter, a 9% increase, and through September, Ticketmaster has seen 15% growth year-to-date in sales. Sponsorship and advertising—they have more than 1,000 sponsorship partners—was up 9% in constant currency to $172.4m.

In a call with investors, President/Chief Executive Officer Michael Rapino and other top execs touted the potential for growth that digital ticketing affords, dynamic pricing and the places where they consider “underdeveloped.”

Miami was the first city President Joe Berchtold listed as a place for potential expansion before adding Los Angeles, Denver and Seattle. He also named Canada.

Ticketing, perhaps more than any other area, poses the greatest opportunities and need for innovation.

Referring to VIP programs and figuring out how to find a sweet spot for expensive seats so that the artist benefits rather than scalpers, Berchtold said, “We’re in the first or second inning of that game. The good news is we can decrease pricing in the back of the house.”

Rapino added, “Every artist is probably underpricing their product. [For some] it’s the first row, and for others it’s the first 17 rows.”

The introduction of digital tickets, they noted, has opened the door to communicating with fans once they're in the building.

“We’re good at talking to them before the show, and now we get to talk to them while they’re at the show—we’re turning 16,000 bar codes into 16,000 customers,” Berchtold said, noting a phone could be used to buy a T-shirt, a drink or a ticket to an upcoming concert. “That’s an incredible opportunity for our concerts and sponsorship divisions.”

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