This post is in response to an email sent below. I've received several requests to address Ticketmaster's entry into the Branson market and have conducted some follow up on the issue...here's what I understand.
Suggestions have been made and championed by members of the League of Theaters to move to Ticket Master as a means of selling theater seats. Some theaters believe this will create more exposure but many have doubts. Ticket Master is likely to push national headliners no matter where they're playing. Though Ticket Master has a large audience, great organization and innovation, a higher level of exposure for the Branson market seems unlikely.
A number of other ticketing firms have presented solutions for nominal fees. One of the main problems is the theaters themselves are in more competition than co-opetition and lower quality productions can move themselves into the market with extremely low prices. Time-share firms also add a layer of complexity. They want the perceived price of tickets to remain high while accruing a volume discount at very low prices.
Problem: Live theaters are expensive to maintain and a lowering of quality productions in the Branson market could cause a collapse. Consider the price of a movie ticket and compare the value of watching a live production. Consider costs including manpower, brick and mortar maintenance fees etc.. it's a pretty good deal.
Now consider costs associated with demand creation (marketing and advertising). This can be a deal killer especially in a competitive market. Third party firms may have more incentive to spend the dollars to market regionally. A time share sell can net thousands per customer where ticket margins a few bucks at best. A large firm can negotiate substantially cheaper rates with a promise of delivering volume. Sometimes, these companies withhold payment or worse... When this happens a theater can experience financial devastation. A powerful time-share firm might be able to pit theater companies against each other lowering their cost. Can you see where I'm going with this?
Back to Ticketmaster: Can Ticketmaster survive in the Branson market? That depends on customers. As I understand it, Ticketmaster will require theaters to block a number of seats whether they're sold or not. A couple other theaters have joined this boat. Consumers have a number of options. Private companies such as the Branson Tourism Center provide a hybrid of direct sales and timeshare bookings. Companies such as Reserve Branson provide direct ticket sales. The first model is most common and the second is rare. Ticket master uses the direct sell method at a substantial premium. The basic question is will Ticketmaster add value by marketing for Branson heavily outside the market...seems unlikely. Does this answer your question?
Dear Branson Edge:
Can you address what is going on with Ticketmaster in Branson?
We tried to phone the RFD-TV Theatre box office and order tickets on
our credit card. For 3 adult tickets, they wanted to charge us the
ticket price plus a $14 service fee, which they blamed on
Ticketmaster. I don't see this kind of thing flying in Branson. Other
places, maybe, but Branson?
We told them to forget it. I can go down the street and see a show
that will ONLY charge me the price of the tickets, and not have any markups.
What theaters are going Ticketmaster, and which are not? I did hear
"off the record" that the Ticketmaster thing was a "complete
disaster", but no news outlets seem to be covering this story yet.
Thanks for your time.