Australia decides on light touch regulation for secondary ticketing

January 2011

Live events industry

Government officials in Australia have decided to take a “hands-off approach” to the secondary ticket market, a move that can be seen as a victory for the country’s small resale industry according to  In a report released by the Commonwealth Consumer Affairs Advisory Council (CCAAC)  the Council concluded that consumer claims that an abundance of ticket scalpers were unfairly buying up loads of live entertainment tickets and reselling them at high prices were largely unfounded. While the council did not dismiss the fact that some brokers and fans buy tickets with the purpose of flipping them for a profit, it said that the “onselling” market — the name for the resale market in Australia represented well under 10 percent of all ticket sales in the country, and that existing consumer protection laws are adequate to keep the industry in check. “CCAAC recognises that consumer dissatisfaction can be widespread. However, this is often a result of market forces when high demand exceeds limited supply, particularly for popular events, rather than as a direct result of ticket onselling,” the report stated. “CCAAC found that technology is a major contributor to tickets being sold out quickly. The internet allows many consumers to purchase tickets concurrently, with an average of three tickets being bought at any one time by each consumer. Resale websites are also used by consumers to onsell unwanted tickets” saying “Ticket onselling can have positive impacts for both consumers and suppliers. For consumers, the benefits include providing an alternative avenue to access tickets, particularly for popular events, offering convenience and allowing tickets to be transferred,” the report stated. “For suppliers, ticket onselling can assist increases in ticket sales, improve crowd attendance and promote publicity for events.”  The Australian market is small compared to the US and European markets but  the Australian ticketing market is growing, and earlier this year Live Nation opened a new office there and  News Corp also recently launched FoxTix, which will leverage the media company’s publications to market events and sell tickets. Currently, Ticketmaster and Ticketek dominate the Australian ticketing industry.

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