In the year-end financial report released on 28 February, Live Nation revealed that overall revenue was up by 11 percent for a record total of $10.8 bn over the year.
Live Nation has reported that 2018 was its eighth consecutive year of record results, with ticketing activity rising by 14% and attendances rising by 8% from 2017.
The company ended 2018 with an adjusted operating income (AOI) of $829 mn and a 33 percent increase in earnings over last year.
“We continue to see the tremendous power of live events, with strong consumer demand and a robust supply of new and established artists hitting the road from clubs to stadiums,” said Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino in the report. “Live is truly a unique entertainment form; it cannot be duplicated and creates lifetime memories that fans are craving more than ever in this experience economy.”
Live Nation saw the largest growth year-over-year in its Ticketmaster division. Fee-bearing gross transactional value (GTV) grew by 14 percent over 2017. In 2018, the company saw its highest fee-bearing GTV ever, selling over 60 mn in the quarter and delivering over $5 bn in fee-bearing GTV.
“For fourth quarter, Ticketmaster AOI was down slightly impacted by one-time costs associated with a third party vendor data breach that affected our marketplace in certain international markets,” said Live Nation president Joe Berchtold, “Much of these costs were in the fourth quarter and for the full year these costs totaled approximately $15 mn.”
Last year saw the global live entertainment group deliver double-digit attendance growth across arenas, amphitheater and theatres and clubs, adding nearly seven million fans globally for a total of 93 mn attendees. This drove concert revenues to shoot up by 11%, operating income up 61% and adjusted operating income (AOI) up 22%.
The fourth quarter of 2018 delivered Ticketmaster’s highest fee-bearing GTV quarter ever, selling over 60 mn tickets and delivering over US$5 bn in fee-bearing GTV. Overall in 2018, Ticketmaster managed over 400,000 events, selling almost 500 mn tickets to fans in 28 countries.
Across all of the artist’s Live Nation works with, it invested over US$6 bn to promote 35,000 shows in 40 countries, with Live Nation by far the largest financial supporter of artists in music. In addition to growing its show count and attendance, our pricing and on-site initiatives also continued to grow our operating income and AOI.
Live Nation’s top strategic sponsors were a key driver of this growth, with 75 sponsors collectively spending over US$350 mn to reach fans. Sponsorship at Live Nation festivals grew 13%, driven by new deals with brands including Heineken, Barclays, State Farm, and FritoLay.
By the end of 2018, Live Nation deployed Presence in over 200 venues, operating 20,000 events for 40 mn fans, approximately half of whom used digital tickets.
Live Nation’s forecast for 2019
For 2019, the company anticipates further growth expecting to have a presence in over 500 venues by the end of this year, with over 125 mn fans attending events at these buildings. At that point, Live Nation will cover over 75% of major sports and Live Nation buildings, making Ticketmaster by far the global leader in digital ticketing.
At the same time, Live Nation expects to continue building its marketplace, with the fourth quarter of 2018 being its highest fee-bearing GTV quarter ever, selling over 60 mn fee-bearing tickets in a quarter for the first time, and delivering over $5 bn in fee-bearing GTV.
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