TicketMaster Launches Next Generation Online Service

In the world of e-commerce and the ongoing battle between online ticket sellers, Ticketmaster upped the ante this week with launch of my.ticketmaster.com. The new service features a personalized desktop event ticker, plus virtual reality seating charts that let visitors see where they can sit at the next show or sporting event.

These new features are significant because they demonstrate how new technology can make e-commerce more convenient for buyers, and more profitable for sellers.

Ticketmaster worked with Intel and numerous technology, virtual reality and interactive design firms to develop the new functionality.

Customizable Profiles & Event Tickers

Ticketmaster’s new system lets you create a personal profile, and then download an “Event Ticker” that displays on your PC when tickets go on sale for the type of events you want to see.

Terry Barnes, president and CEO of Ticketmaster Group, Inc. explains that My Ticketmaster will enable entertainment fans to keep tabs on what’s going on in their own city, or in any city in the U.S., and be among the first to get tickets to top events.

Though the technology obviously wasn’t cheap to develop, it can ultimately save entertainment promoters millions of dollars in marketing expense. By delivering targeted sales information to buyers who have pre-qualified themselves, marketers can dramatically reduce the need for advertising an event.

What You See Is Where You’ll Sit

The new Ticketmaster online service also features IPIX 360-degree photographic images and 3-D virtual reality images of more than 75 venues including New York’s Radio City Music Hall, the Great Western Forum in Los Angeles, and Chicago’s Comiskey Park.

The service enables entertainment fans to see 360-degree views from the best available seats before completing their ticket purchase and to take “virtual tours” of the venue.

Though this is a nice feature, it’s also bandwidth intensive and requires a plug-in, which may be a turn-off to many users, especially those with older, slower systems.

The site also provides event information such as showtimes, directions to each venue, and parking details.

Coming Soon to a PC Near You

My Ticketmaster also plans to provide a “collaborative filtering” feature that recommends additional, related events, based on the customers’ profile.

For example, the system might find that most 25-year-old men from New York who are interested in alternative music and football events, also list hockey in their profiles. If so, the system could then recommend upcoming hockey events to users with similar profiles, with a better than average chance that the person will be interested.

Powered by Intel and Others

In addition to features that were developed in cooperation by Intel and Ticketmaster, the new service also includes:

Visualization technologies from Viewpoint/3Name3D Visualization technologies from Interactive Pictures A virtual reality plug-in from Blaxxun Interactive Interactive design from R/GA Interactive Collaborative filtering technology from Engage/Net Perceptions.

“We’re convinced ‘My Ticketmaster’ is defining the next generation of e-commerce applications,” said Franz Buchenberger, CEO of Blaxxun Interactive. “It makes full use of the Internet as an interactive visual medium.”

About the Players

My Ticketmaster is a personalized complement to Ticketmaster Online, a leading event ticketing and information source, with more than 30,000 event listings on the Internet. Ticketmaster Online sales have risen from $100,000 (US$) to more than $10 million monthly, in the past 21 months. The site enables entertainment fans to purchase tickets on a real time basis for most events.

It competes with My Tickets from Tickets.com — another extensive site for online ticket sales that also offers some degree of personalization. In related news this week, Tickets.com announced that it has merged with Advantix, a leading provider of ticketing technology and services.

Ticketmaster, a USA company (Nasdaq:USAI), is the world’s leading computerized ticketing service. The company sells 70 million tickets, valued at more than two billion dollars, for more than 150,000 events a year. Coverage includes the U.S., South America, Canada, Mexico, Europe, and Australia.

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