Rent A Movie, Buy A Ticket

As Live Nation prepares to say farewell to Ticketmaster and roll out its own ticketing service in earnest, details are beginning to emerge about how that retail distribution is going to take place now that LN has struck a deal with entertainment retailer Blockbuster.

Live Nation will launch ticketing kiosks in 505 of Blockbuster’s more than 4,000 locations nationwide in 2009. All kiosks will have access to Live Nation events, regardless of market, and will operate from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day of the year.

The ticket allocation will amount to 10 percent of Live Nation’s remaining available inventory of events produced by LN or its affiliates after holds have been placed, and across all price levels.

Blockbuster has four hours from onsale to sell its allotment before the remainder of the hold is released through all channels via Live Nation Ticketing.

And of course, there are fees.

In addition to the basic fee structure applicable to all Live Nation tickets via phone or Internet, Blockbuster will be subject to a $2.50 retail surcharge on tickets regardless of payment method. Expect that cost to be passed on to ticketbuyers.

Live Nation will supply the 505 brick & mortar outlets with CTS Eventim software and train staff to use it, handle cash and credit card transactions, and make transactions using Blockbuster gift cards.

Nationwide distribution of Blockbuster / Live Nation ticket outlets, not surprisingly, is concentrated in large population centers and major cities – ticketbuyers in Wyoming, for example, are out of luck as apparently are those in Alaska and Hawaii.

But this should not be too much of a nuisance considering that according to Live Nation’s own figures, only about 12 percent of tickets sold in 2007 were through retail outlets. Internet sales accounted for roughly two-thirds of all sales, while box office sales accounted for about 20 percent and the remainder were sold by phone.

The agreement between Blockbuster and Live Nation ups the ante in the ticketing industry, as LN’s contracts with Ticketmaster began to expire. TM has fired salvos of its own, acquiring Front Line Management and upping Irving Azoff to CEO of the renamed Ticketmaster Entertainment.

Azoff promptly moved to eliminate (or at least absorb) ticket fee add-ons for some shows.