TM Net Falls 70 Percent

Facing declining ticket volumes and expenses related to its pending merger with Live Nation, net income at Ticketmaster Entertainment plummeted 70 percent during the second quarter of 2009.

For the three months ending June 30, Ticketmaster reported net income of $6.9 million, or 12 cents per share, compared to the previous year period’s income of $23 million, or 41 cents per share.

CEO Irving Azoff admitted the company has faced challenges in a tough economy, but explained TM continues to balance its investments with good cost management.

“The Ticketmaster and Front Line businesses are coming together well, and we’re seeing both the artists and consumers we serve beginning to embrace innovations like paperless ticketing and all-in pricing,” he said.

TM revenue, which is composed of the company’s ticketing and artist services segments, fell 7 percent overall to $382 million.

Analysts polled by Reuters had reportedly estimated earnings of 24 cents per share on revenues of roughly $396 million.

Ticket sales fell 18 percent to $312 million during Q2. While the arts and theatre categories apparently fared well with a 5 percent increase in revenue, the company reported declines in all other ticketing categories. Concert tickets saw the biggest drop of 18 percent, which was attributed to the expiration of TM’s previous ticketing agreement with Live Nation.

International tickets were down 25 percent at $91 million, compared to Q2 2008. The company reported declines in the United Kingdom, Canada, the Netherlands and China and improved performance in Spain.

While one of the largest events on the horizon for Ticketmaster is the upcoming Miley Cyrus paperless ticket arena tour, Azoff announced the company has also inked upcoming paperless ticket deals with two of its “biggest critics” – Bruce Springsteen and Trent Reznor.

As for the artist services division, TM reported second quarter revenue for its controlling interest in Front Line of more than $43 million. Azoff said the company has seen positive results with the additions of Kenny Chesney and Josh Groban to the roster.

Executives remained optimistic of the prospect of closing the company’s merger transaction with Live Nation later this year. TM racked up roughly $5 million in merger costs for the quarter.

Following the announcement, after-hours trading remained unchanged, with shares down 10 cents at $9.77.