02.Industry duopoly and their charges
Two major players
In 2007, Australians spent $1.23 billion on close to 19 million tickets for live performances (excluding sporting events). This huge industry is dominated by Ticketek and Ticketmaster, the two major ticketing agencies operating in most states. Despite the existence of regional agencies, Ticketek and Ticketmaster have carved up major portions of the ticketing market in exclusive contracts with major venues.
Ticketek is the exclusive ticketing agent for:
- Sydney Cricket Ground and Football Stadium.
- Melbourne Cricket Ground.
- Princess Theatre in Melbourne.
- Adelaide Entertainment Centre.
Ticketmaster is the exclusive agent for:
- Telstra Dome in Melbourne.
- Sydney Entertainment Centre.
- AAMI Stadium in Adelaide.
To get exclusive ticketing rights, these companies have to pay the venue owners “key money”, which they recoup through high ticket profit margins. The result is a duopoly that does little for competitive pricing. Consumers may score cheaper tickets when venue owners or event promoters don’t have exclusive contracts with any ticketing agents and compete on pricing, but this is rare. Event owners and producers may have a choice of venue, but they have no choice of ticket seller when the exclusive ticketing rights of the venue have been signed over to a particular ticketing agency.
Who charges what?
BASS (SA) Booking fee is included in the advertised ticket price: $3.30 per ticket (online, phone, mail or courier), regardless of the event.
BOCS (WA) Booking fees: $6.60 per transaction (regardless of number of tickets) online or through the phone; $2.20 per ticket if the tickets are bought from an agency. For general admission tickets, an additional $2 charge is levied for tickets to be sent via registered post.
Canberra Ticketing (ACT) Booking fee: $7.20 per transaction for bookings made online or by phone. Handling fee: $1.10 for tickets to be mailed. No charge for venue pick-up.
Qtix (Qld) Booking fee: $1.50 to $3 per ticket.
Moshtix (national) Booking fees: the basic charge is up to $3.50 for online bookings and $5 for phone bookings. For bookings at Moshtix outlets, fees range between $2.50 and $4, with a $1 retail fee on top. A 2.5% charge is included in the booking fee for credit card bookings.
Ticketmaster (national) Booking fee: up to $9.15 per transaction online or up to $8.80 over the phone. Handling fees: no charge for printing your tickets at home or picking them up at the box office. A charge of up to $4.50 applies for express mail and up to $3.75 for registered mail.
Ticketek (national) Booking fee included in the ticket price. Handling fees: up to $8.50 per transaction for phone bookings. For online bookings, a charge of $4.95 applies for printing your ticket or tickets at home, $6.95 to pick them up at the box office or have them mailed to you and up to $10.45 for registered post.