UK: NME Shelves Weekly Print Issue, Authority Crackdown On Secondary Ticketing


NME Shelves Weeky Free Print Issue

Long-standing British music publication NME today announced it would cease to produce its weekly free print issue.

Paul Cheal of Time Inc. U.K., the owners of NME, said “increasing production costs and a very tough print advertising market” led to the closure.
He also commented on the decision to make the magazine free in 2015, claiming it “has helped to propel the brand to its biggest ever audience on The print re-invention has helped us to attract a range of cover stars that the previous paid-for magazine could only have dreamed of.

“Unfortunately we have now reached a point where the free weekly magazine is no longer financially viable. It is in the digital space where effort and investment will focus to secure a strong future for this famous brand.”

This week’s NME print issue is going to be its last, and the company won’t be able to retain all staff, according to Music Week. The NME brand will live on in the form of its digital radio offer NME Audio and special paid-for print editions such as NME Gold. It is reportedly exploring other print opportunities as well.

Advertising Standards Authority Crackdown On Secondary Ticketing

The U.K.’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has announced a crackdown on what it describes as “misleading pricing practices by secondary ticketing providers.”

ASA said it has taken action against StubHub U.K., viagogo AG, Seatwave Ltd and Get Me In! Ltd, pointed out transparency issues and demand they be addressed by the sites’ operators.

“In summary, we’ve banned several pricing practices by these secondary ticketing providers for: not making clear the total ticket price at the beginning of the customer journey, not including the booking fee (inclusive of VAT) upfront, or making clear the applicable delivery fee,” the ASA stated.

The authority also banned Viagogo from using the phrase “official site” and suggesting to customers they would be guaranteed entry to the venue “when there was in fact a reasonable risk that buyers might not be able to gain entry into an event.”
The UK’s regulations for ads require that quoted prices include non-optional taxes as well as other fees that apply. Customers need to be made aware of added fees “at the beginning of the customer journey.”

“Many of us will recognize the frustration of being happy with the initial price of tickets on a secondary website only to be stung by hefty fees when we come to book. The message from our rulings is simple and it’s clear: the price you see at the start should be the price you pay at the end,” said ASA chief executive Guy Parker.

Research by the U.K.’s FanFair Alliance suggests, almost all customers who pay above face value for tickets on secondary sites were directed to them via Google advertising, thinking they were purchasing from an authorized seller.

“While we welcome today’s ASA ruling and hope it goes some way to addressing this latter issue, what’s absolutely crucial now is enforcement. Without proper sanctions, we fear that much-needed reforms will not be implemented, particularly by Viagogo, and the public will continue to be duped,” a FanFair Alliance statement reads.