LOS ANGELES — Five major ticket sellers — Ticketmaster, StubHub, ScoreBig, Eventbrite and TicketFly — have launched an online store on Facebook, hoping to boost sales by tapping into the social network’s 800 million users.
The store is part of Facebook’s ambitious plan, unveiled in September, to become an entertainment hub for its users, an online touchstone for discovering new bands, watching the latest viral videos, finding local concerts and organizing friends for a night out.
That extension, from online socializing to real-world get-togethers, is what live entertainment companies such as ScoreBig want to capitalize on.
“Today’s launch marks a new frontier for fans of live events,” said Adam Kanner, chief executive of ScoreBig, an online name-your-bid ticketing company. “Our members and their Facebook friends will now have a much more robust experience discovering live events."
Ticketmaster, owned by Live Nation Entertainment Inc., also has high hopes for its Facebook storefront. The company is already among the world’s largest e-commerce sites, selling billions of dollars worth of tickets a year through its online platform. But the ticketing giant thinks it can do even better by leveraging social media to get people to go out more.
Its Facebook application, for example, combines users’ favorite bands or musical genre with their approximate location to recommend upcoming concerts — and to offer to sell them tickets.
“We can use that data to make targeted recommendations about concerts people want to go see,” said Kip Levin, Ticketmaster’s executive vice president of e-commerce. Levin and other ticketing industry executives estimate that concert halls are often half-empty simply because fans weren’t aware the bands were in town.
“It’s really about focusing on the online fan experience and making it easier for them to learn when their favorite band is coming to town,” Levin said.
Media analysts say the shift to social networks is a natural for companies such as Ticketmaster.
“In any business, when you can take your business directly to where 800 million people are already congregating, it’s a good move,” said James McQuivey, a senior analyst at Forrester Research in Cambridge, Mass.
Wednesday’s move carries a public relations risk for Ticketmaster, whose brand is among the most reviled among consumers. Its young, charismatic chief executive, Nathan Hubbard, said at a San Francisco conference in November, “People want to eat my kids, they’re so angry."
But Hubbard is forging ahead, putting the company on Twitter and Facebook in hopes of repairing its reputation and winning over customers.
“People say they hate a lot of things — advertising, arrogant newspaper reporters and Ticketmaster,” McQuivey said. “But the fact is, they still need and value those things. Ticketmaster doesn’t need to win your hearts. They just need to win your mouse clicks."