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Business News (more headlines) 03-01-2014

Live Nation Entertainment Reports Fourth Quarter And Full Year 2013 Results

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Live Nation Entertainment released financial results for the three and twelve months ended December 31, 2013.

2013 Results

We had a record year in 2013 and are well positioned for continued growth in 2014. During 2013, we further grew our unmatched concerts global fan base by 10 million fans, attracting almost 60 million fans to our concerts. This tremendous growth fueled our sponsorship and ticketing businesses with Ticketmaster managing nearly 400 million total tickets in 2013. Combined, we delivered a record year for revenue, AOI and free cash flow. Our results demonstrate the effectiveness of our business model, establishing Live Nation as what we believe to be the number one player in each of our businesses, with concerts driving our flywheel, which is then monetized across our high margin on-site, sponsorship and ticketing businesses.

Strong Fan Demand for Live Events

We continue to see the tremendous power of live events, with strong global consumer demand. Research shows that live events are a high priority for discretionary spending, and over 80% of our fans surveyed indicate that they plan on attending the same or more events in 2014 as in 2013.

Another sign of the strength of our business is that 85% of Live Nation's fan growth came organically, from our promoting more shows in amphitheaters, arenas and stadiums; from launching new festivals; and from establishing operations in new markets. We believe the live business will continue to have strong global growth for years to come as fan demand, artist supply and new markets come together.

Technology Making Live Music Global

Another reason for the strength of live events is that technology has rapidly transformed the business in a positive fashion; live is not duplicable, and new social platforms have enabled fans around the globe to get close to their favorite artists. Fans in every corner of the globe can discover, follow, share and embrace artists, translating into greater demand for tours in all markets.

And as music has gone global, technology is enabling a similar transformation of ticketing. Today the vast majority of ticketing transactions are online or via mobile. Ticket sales are continuing their rapid shift to mobile, almost doubling again in 2013 to 14% of total ticket sales.

Today fans are hearing about concerts either from friends or by some digital means 70% of the time. As Ticketmaster continues to improve its products for fans to buy and manage tickets digitally, more fans will be able to find out about shows, coordinate with their friends, and go to more concerts or other live events. As a result, we believe that Ticketmaster will sell more tickets, Ticketmaster's clients will benefit from increased sales and Live Nation concerts will increase its attendance per show.

Concerts Division Delivers Record Setting Performance

We continue to build share across our businesses, starting by growing our concert business well above industry growth rates, as we were the lead or exclusive promoter on 21 of the top 25 grossing tours in North America. In addition, we built our festival portfolio, adding a million fans, and we expanded further into emerging markets with nearly one million more fans there as well, now reaching fans in 33 countries.

As we grew the business, we did so consistently across markets and venue types - we increased both attendance and attendance per show at every type of venue, from theaters and clubs to amphitheaters to arenas and stadiums, showing the consistent strength of our business.

We are also seeing this growth across all genres of music, with country music delivering the greatest fan growth, up 2.3 million fans to nearly 7 million, increasing 50% from last year. Newer artists and genres also contributed to our growth, with 7 of our top 10 tours led by young artists and EDM as our fastest growing genre.

Artist Nation Directly Supports Concert Business

Our concerts growth was supported by greater alignment with our artist management business, as we increased the number of shows we promoted with top Artist Nation acts by 50%. This delivered increased value of approximately $20 million to our concerts and ticketing businesses, while also providing additional opportunities for our sponsors. 2013 was a year of rebuilding for this business, and we now feel confident that with new leadership we will grow our artist management business in 2014 and it will continue to be a valuable pipeline into our concerts flywheel.

Sponsorship & Advertising Continue Double-Digit Growth

Our sponsorship & advertising business has now reached almost $300 million in revenue, connecting over 750 sponsors with 900 million visitors to our online and mobile sites globally and our 60 million concert-going fans. We now have the scale to attract a broad advertising base, which drove a 26% increase in ad units sold in 2013.

At the same time our traditional sponsorship business continues to show strength, growing 11% last year. This was led by a 29% increase in festival sponsorship, where we continue averaging almost $10 revenue per fan across our 4.5 million fans attending 62 festivals.

Ticketmaster Focus on Products Driving Growth

Ticketmaster also continues to build upon its strength, with nearly 400 million tickets issued and managed, generating over $17 billion in gross transaction value, making Ticketmaster one of the top ecommerce sites in the world. And with a 106% client net renewal rate in 2013, our platforms and products are demonstrating their value to clients.

With the first new product launch enabled by our new platform, Ticketmaster resale delivered a 26% growth in GTV of tickets sold through our secondary business. This innovative fan-oriented product gives all options - primary and secondary - together in one place for full transparency for the fans. We believe the $9 billion secondary market that has historically not benefitted content owners will start to be captured by teams and artists, and Ticketmaster resale will be at the forefront of empowering this. To date we have partnered with two-thirds of the NFL, NBA and NHL teams and over 1,000 concerts in launching this product.

Our team of over 500 engineers continues to work on new mobile products, improving the online experience, and building a new ticketing platform to enable Ticketmaster to substantially upgrade its commerce suite of features for both fans and its B2B clients over the next two years.

2014 Growth Drivers

As we head into 2014, we are more optimistic than ever on the growth potential of our business and our ability to deliver our 3-year plan as laid out for 2014 and 2015.

While we had tremendous success building our concert fan base in 2013, we believe there is more runway ahead that will allow us to continue to build share, add festivals to our global portfolio and enter more emerging markets. Early indicators show we are off to a strong start, with event-related deferred revenue up 19% year on year to $434 million as of December 31st, 2013 and concert ticket sales for shows in 2014 up 12% as of February 15th, 2014 as compared to this time last year.

We expect sponsorship & advertising to continue dependable growth at recent historical rates, further building our global sponsor base and expanding our online ad units as we grow and extend our online and mobile presence.

At Ticketmaster, we plan on delivering a client net renewal rate of over 100% as we further distinguish ourselves as the best ticketing partner to help clients market and sell their events, and see continued opportunity in 2014 to further build our Ticketmaster resale platform. We have had a strong start to the year, with overall ticket sales up 8% through February 15th this year as compared to last year.

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