Australian TV Network Buys Into Online Ticketing

National television broadcaster Seven Network Ltd has announced a joint venture with ticket distributor Ticketmaster to form a new entity, called Ticketmaster 7.

Under the terms of the agreement, Seven’s online company i7 will purchase a 49.99 per cent stake in Ticketmaster 7, which will service the Australia and New Zealand region. i7 will integrate its West Australian ticketing company Red Tickets and ticketing for Sydney’s Colonial Stadium into the new organisation.

According to i7 managing director Andrew Cohen, the deal with Ticketmaster, and the decision to incorporate ticketing into Seven’s online strategy, has been considered “for a long time”. The value of the deal or of Seven’s stake was not disclosed.

Seven is playing catch-up to its rival television network, Channel Nine, which has a successful partnership with Microsoft in ninemsn.
This venture is the latest move in Seven’s online strategy, which incorporates content from its television programs and arrangements with travel agent Traveland.

“Ticketmaster’s site draws a significant amount of traffic, which is an advantage to any organisation seeking to increase its business,” said Cohen. “The role of anyone who wants to be serious in this industry is to build a centre of gravity, and this kind of venture will only help.”

Ticketmaster 7 will replace Ticketmaster Australia, whose resources consist of 100 physical outlets, a national call centre, and the Web site. The joint venture has allowed Seven to incorporate ticketing more into its online resources, and provide direct mutual access between the respective sites.

“With Ticketmaster 7 we have the ability to link directly into the ticketing database, and can appeal to these buyers throughout our online presence,” said Cohen.

According to i7, Ticketmaster 7 will expand its business in Australasia by tendering for new ticket contracts, further developing its online strategy, and providing merchandising and value-added opportunities for ticket buyers.

Ticketmaster 7 will exist as an independent entity, however i7 will work with the company to roll out promotions to attract maximum traffic across the Seven Web network.

With the combined resources, traffic and profile of Seven i7, and the traffic Ticketmaster attracts, Cohen said that Ticketmaster 7 will be armed to take on the ecorp/Ticketek ticketing entity formed earlier this year, that canvases the same industry and geographical territory.

“We hope to stand out. We’re not in there to be second,” said Cohen. “This is an industry we know exceptionally well, and we have the promotional, management, online and call centre abilities to provide an attractive option for venues when contracts are up for negotiation.”

The launch of Ticketmaster 7 follows Seven’s purchase last week of a 12 per cent stake in the new media and Internet group Channel E, which specialises in providing real time financial information. i7 will work with Channel E to develop a financial site to incorporate into its online strategy, said Cohen.

This site will commence development in around two weeks, before Channel E floats later in the year.

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