LYV Trims Losses, Beats Street

Live Nation Entertainment reported higher Q1 earnings in its quarterly financial report May 7, narrowing losses year-on-year with improved concert attendance, sponsorships and advertising driving revenues.

“This good start to the year reaffirms the strength and stability of our platforms heading into 2013, and through April of 2013, our concert ticket sales for all events this year are up 26 percent and Ticketmaster ticket counts fo events in 2013 are up 8 percent, relative to this point last year,” Live Nation President/CEO Michael Rapino said.

LYV still reported a quarterly loss of $63.2 million, or 33 center per share, but that loss is down from 2012’s $69.2 million, or 37 cents per share. Revenue increased 6.4 percent to $923.7 million, adjusted operating income was up to $52.9 million compared with $48 2 million last year.

Sales increased 6.4 percent to $923.7 million, thanks to a rise in the number of events and tickets sold, Rapino said.  And things are looking rosy to Rapino for the rest of the year, thanks to the start of a rollout of Ticketmaster Plus, the company’s redesigned ticketing platform, which is to begin in summer.

The financial report release and earnings call come one day after the release of LYV’s 2013 year-end report, and is the first full reporting period since the departure of Irving Azoff as executive chairman. Greg Maffei took over the non-executive chairmanship in March.

Revenue in the Artist Nation segment, including management, is down 18 percent, in part owing to the departure of Azoff and some managers and artists, though names weren’t named. According to chief operating officer Ron Bechtold, the Artist Nation unit is being “streamlined and simplified,” including management changes.

The results beat Wall Street analyst expectations of a per-share loss of 37 cents on revenue of $914.4 million, according to the Wall Street Journal.