Rosen Joins Outbox
Fred Rosen, former CEO of Ticketmaster, has a new position with Montreal, Quebec-based Outbox Technology and is making no bones about its ambitions.
Rosen has been appointed CEO for the U.S. subsidiary of Outbox Enterprises and is partnering with founder Jean-Francoys Brousseau.
Rosen will be based out of the company’s new offices in Los Angeles. Outbox is the ticket seller for Cirque du Soleil, Montreal Canadiens, the Bell Centre in Montreal and Los Angeles’ Kodak Theatre.
Outbox is white-label ticketing, meaning it powers the backend of venue-based websites, a model similar to Paciolan or New Era. Rosen, who was CEO of Ticketmaster from 1982 to 1998, believes this falls more in line with the TM of old.
“When I built Ticketmaster, it was built to protect the buildings,” Rosen told Pollstar. “Today you have a promoter running it. You’ve got the smartest guy in the music business, Irving [Azoff], and he represents the acts. So there’s been a paradigm shift in the company. And we want to be able to provide a credible alternative to what exists on the landscape.”
There is one big difference between then and now: search engines. TM was and still is a central hub for a vast majority of the concert tickets. But with the advent of Google, it doesn’t take long for a potential customer to locate tickets outside the TM website.
Alternatives to Ticketmaster are plentiful, but few have wrangled former TM clients to the point where the ticketing behemoth has taken notice. Would Rosen and Brousseau be aggressive in getting TM clients to look their way when the contracts come due?
“What is the French words for the reason for living? Raison d’être?” Rosen asked.
Brousseau added: “The great, great majority of clients are with Ticketmaster so by default it happens that TM is in our sights. For the first time there is a change on their end. They’re somewhat abandoning their own reason for being because they’re shifting to something else, and for the clients it doesn’t make any sense. They just want a good provider that’s there for them and doesn’t have ulterior motives.”
Rosen acknowledged that TM clients have been reluctant to leave the Mother Ship but believes his and Brousseau’s experience in creating and maintaining ticketing platforms could make the difference. He noted that the impact of Outbox may not be immediately felt but is optimistic in the long-term.
“Making transactions happen in a facility’s website makes every facility’s website infinitely more valuable,” he said. “So it’s not just what you provide them for ticketing and giving them control of the service charges, and when they go on sale. It’s also the ability to make their websites worth a lot more money.”
Brousseau was founder and president of Microflex and Admission Network in Canada until their sale to Ticketmaster. He founded Outbox Technology in 2005 in partnership with Cirque du Soleil.