‘Creating Top-Notch Live Experiences Requires Financial Solidity’: A Chat With CTS Eventim CEO Klaus-Peter Schulenberg
Pollstar just released its inaugural Impact 50 issue, highlighting the 50 executives most impacting the live business in North America. With the issue dovetailing with the Midem conference in Cannes, France – where Pollstar is curating the live industry content – we also selected ten European executives impacting the Continent’s live market.
Having CTS Eventim CEO Klaus-Peter Schulenberg on there is a no-brainer, and the company’s latest financials underscore yet again why that is.
The CTS Eventim Group, which comprises both live entertainment promotion and ticketing, grew its first-quarter revenues by 3% year-on-year, from €274.5 million to €282.7 million ($315.5 million). In the same period, normalised EBITDA increased by 3.1% to €57.1 million ($58 million).
Compared to Q1/2018, fewer major tours with high-priced tickets went on sale, which slowed but didn’t stop growth. Ticketing revenue still rose by 2.6% to €104.5 million ($116.6 million). CTS Eventim sold 12.7 million tickets through its own web shops in the first three months of 2019, up 4.3% from the previous year.
Schulenberg told Pollstar, “In Ticketing, we are gradually transforming our web shops into leisure portals. In general, the demand to do something entertaining and inspiring in one’s free time is still on the rise. We will expand our offerings accordingly.”
Matthias Rhomberg – Southside Festival has a capacity of around 60,000
Promoter FKP Scorpio is part of Eventim Live
He hinted that second quarter revenue growth has already accelerated again, in particular in ticketing, concluding that, “overall, CTS Eventim is well-positioned for further growth.”
In live entertainment, revenues rose by 4.1% to €182.2 million in Q1, and normalised EBITDA stood at €15.2 million, up 1.6% compared to last year’s reporting period.
Earnings in this business segment improved despite a positive one-off effect of €3 million in the prior year in connection with a share reduction in Denmark, as well as start-up costs associated with the return of Doctor Music Festival, which celebrates its comeback in Barcelona this year after a 21-year break.
The festival became part of CTS Eventim’s event portfolio when the company acquired Spanish promoter Doctor Music last year.
Earlier this year, Schulenberg announced the launch of Eventim Live, a new umbrella unit, which “currently comprises 26 promoters in ten European countries,” according to the CEO, who added, “we have already got further acquisitions in our pipeline.”
As Pollstar reported in March, Russian promoter Eduard Ratnikov’s Talent Concert International (TCI) will be number 27.
Schulenberg also talked about the commission to collect the German passenger vehicle car toll in a joint venture with Austrian telecommunications and mobility specialists Kapsch. According to Schulenberg, the commission not only represents “the biggest single contract in CTS Eventim’s history, but also the first time ever that any company from our industry is making its technology fully available for a purpose beyond ticketing.”
The business visionary has no illusions that live music represents just a fraction of leisure activities available, in particular for young audiences. “We are competing for attention with streaming, gaming, social media and much more. This means that the live experience has to meet increasingly high expectations – in terms of convenience, safety, infrastructure, venue standards, and much more. Creating top-notch live experiences, therefore, will require even more creative ability and financial solidity going forward,” he said, adding, “as an international player, CTS Eventim is well-equipped to meet these expectations and invest in the right ideas.”
Giving a rare insight into his past, Schulenberg said that he first learned about the internet at so-called “interactive media” conventions in the U.S. in the early nineties – at a time when hardly anybody in Europe knew about the internet. “In hindsight, this laid the foundation for entering the ticketing industry,” he recalled.
It also explains why his product has been eclipsing most other ticketing offers available on the continent for decades.
Christoph Eisenmenger – The crowd at Hurricane Festival
Schulenberg knows that live music represents just a fraction of leisure activities available, in particular for young audiences
Like most people, who became involved with live entertainment in the early 70s, Schulenberg was a passionate music lover. “I played in a band myself, and I am glad that our business is still a lot of fun today, but also highly relevant for artists and fans alike,” he said.
To this day, he sees it as a “great privilege” to provide artists with what he describes as “the essentials they need to be creative.”
Said Schulenberg: “Today, musicians earn 80 to 90 percent of their income through live entertainment. For many of them, this is the basis for being able to invest in new releases at all. They need a reliable partner who organises their tours professionally and sells a maximum number of tickets in minimum time. Helping to make this happen is what motivates us.”