Ticketmaster, already a success story online, plans to unveil a new push service next spring to provide better service for its ticket-buying customers--and enhance sponsorship opportunities.
Ticketmaster began selling tickets online just a year ago--online sales hit $100,000 in the first month and last month's sales edged over $4 million. The company has no marketing budget for this product, relying instead on the strength of the Ticketmaster brand and cross-promotions with the Excite search engine, among others.
However, Ticketmaster faces the same bandwidth challenges as other marketing sites. "Practical commercial Web sites tend to go with light pages--whatever is most efficient to get the transaction done," said Alan Citron, president of Ticketmaster Multimedia, West Hollywood, Calif.
INTEL A PARTNER
Enter Intel Corp. Ticketmaster is teaming up with the technology powerhouse to provide a stand-alone push application that not only will allow customized information to be delivered to consumers about shows and sporting events, but will allow customers to see the view from their seats before they purchase the tickets.
Ticketmaster plans to use a proprietary push program to create the much higher-bandwidth companion service to its existing site. The plan centers on an application that will trickle information to a user's computer over a period of time, rather than in long, on-demand downloads.
Tim Yiu, director of software engineering for Intel's content group, referred to this as "time-shifting the perception of downloads." Because the information will arrive at the desktop in chunks while connections are otherwise inactive, the application will seem instantaneous when the consumer actually uses it.
Along with more content, Ticketmaster sees plenty of opportunity for richer ad environments. With the event information, Ticketmaster plans to send targeted event-related merchandise ads to the consumer.
Mr. Yiu envisions the ability not only to sell the tickets but "ideally from within the application you should be able to purchase the merchandise with a click as well."
Mr. Citron also foresees sponsorship opportunities within the virtual venue environments themselves--perhaps in the form of interactive billboards or blimps flying overhead with banners. He admitted that a working demo is not yet available, so much of the sponsorship plans are still in the discussion phases. But he has a positive outlook for the program, adding that "with Intel in our corner, anything can happen."
Copyright November 1997, Crain Communications Inc.