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Writer: Anusha S - Wednesday, Apr 14,2004 8:07 AM
Ticketing show biz gaining pace in India

India’s ticketed live shows industry is well on its way to take off. All event management companies are planning to host shows of big-time international artistes and other events in the country.

The ticketing shows business in India is still an untapped domain. Unlike internationally where ticketing provides over 70 per cent of all event revenues, sponsorship remains the key source of revenues in India. According to industry players, live events contribute only about Rs 30-50 crore to the total Rs 580-crore events industry.

But, it is growing and likely to grow in the future at a much faster pace.

T Venkat Vardhan, managing director, DNA Networks says: “The entertainment industry has undergone significant changes over the last decade. Entertainment has become an alternative media for brand association. New technologies, sophisticated lighting, elaborate sets and audience awareness has done a great deal in promoting international events in India. All this holds good for the live ticketing events industry. We want to produce and promote the best international events.” However, he adds, “We need more players in this space.”

DNA Networks has in the past brought to India Sir Elton John, Rolling Stones, Bryan Adams, more recently, Enrique Iglesias.

“Live events definitely hold great potential. According to me, it’s all a part of India shining. Moreover, international stars are also realising the value and potential that this country holds and are keen to tour India,” says Sanjay Lall, Chief Executive Officer, Percept D’Mark.

Percept D’Mark has been concentrating on sporting events and, in the past have also hosted shows such as Adnan Sami and Asha Bhosle concerts and filmstar nights.

The recently released Ernst & Young report on Indian entertainment industry estimates that the organised live events industry has grown from around Rs 350 crore during 2002 to Rs 580 crore ($ 129 million) in 2003. The live entertainment and event management segment has demonstrated an overall growth of over 60 per cent.

Many of the event management companies, involved in doing corporate events are now exploring the ticketed shows avenue in a big way. ShowTime, an event management company headed by Michael Menezes is one such company. It is understood that Showtime is also exploring to bring to Indian audiences international theatre performances, ballets and sports events.

Neale Murray, Managing Director, Fountain Head – a Mumbai-based event Management Company, says: “The environment is changing for the good and the government authorities are also taking a keen note of this. The drop in entertainment taxes from 55 per cent to 25 per cent is a welcome change and we could see more international acts in India.”

Fountain Head has brought down some medium size acts to the country such as Spyrogyra, Tirlok Gurtu, to name a few. Going forward, Murray feels that lot more events across segments like Night Club DJ events to medium size acts to large international acts should take place more often.

So far the industry has been dominated by non-ticketed events for brand launches and promotions, which according to E&Y estimates, account for at least 35 per cent of the total revenue.

In spite of the fact that more than 90 per cent of all event-related revenues come from sponsorship which is pegged at Rs 550 crores in India, it still accounts for only 0.4 per cent of the global sponsorship spends. In India, ticketing accounts for the balance revenues.

“Due to the high level of taxes on tickets, ticketing revenues are not expected to increase till such time as the taxes are rationalised. Further, as costs have always been borne by sponsors, the masses have become used to free entry to events. Hence, there is a need to change the customer’s mindset to make him willingly pay for the right of admission. Ticketing revenues are expected to increase as a percentage of the segment only after one or two years,” says E&Y in its latest report.

The rationalisation of entertainment taxes will add further boost to the industry prospects. As this segment, which is still in its infancy, becomes an increasingly important part of the media pie, it is expected to demonstrate a growth of 30 per cent per annum over the next five years, in effect, more than doubling its size to approximately Rs 1,443 crore ($ 321 million) by 2008.

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