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Business News (more headlines) 08-02-2014

Live Nation Entertainment Reports Second Quarter And First Half 2014 Financial Results

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Live Nation Entertainment released financial results for the three and six months ended June 30, 2014.

All of our businesses continue to grow as we see ongoing strong global demand, with positive indicators on consumer spending for live events. Against this backdrop we are building global market share in concerts and ticketing, attracting new brands to our sponsorship and advertising platform, and have now fully aligned artist management with the rest of the company. As a result, our revenue was up 7% for the first six months of the year with adjusted operating income, or AOI, up 6%, with all four segments growing both top line and profitability through the first two quarters. Operating income would be up 27% for the first six months if not for higher gains related to asset disposals last year; on a reported basis, our operating income was down 33% for this period.

As we are now well into the third quarter and have sufficient visibility into the rest of the year, I am confident that we will have another record year in 2014 and deliver our planned revenue, AOI and free cash flow growth for the year and into 2015. Overall we have sold over 42 million tickets for shows this year through July, up 3% from this point last year. We are expecting our festival and stadium activity this year to be very strong in the third quarter, driving a record-setting Concerts attendance of approximately 23 million fans in the quarter, giving us confidence that the lower attendance in the second quarter is simply timing within the year.

We have also sold nearly 80% of our planned Sponsorship & Advertising for the year through July. Total contracted sponsorship revenue is up 11% from this point last year, and we are now driving the online advertising growth needed to deliver on our full year growth expectations. In Ticketing, the rapid growth of secondary ticketing and the shift of ticket purchasing to mobile, along with continued net client renewal rates of over 100%, position Ticketmaster better than ever. The alignment of our artist management business continues to build, and we expect over 40% growth in major artist shows promoted by Live Nation this year.

Concerts

On the touring side, we are promoting 21 of the top 25 global tours this year, continuing to differentiate Live Nation as the partner of choice for touring artists. In festivals, we are continuing our strength in Europe, and adding to that a stronger portfolio in North America, where we now have seven festivals which we believe can attract at least 100,000 fans each, up from just one such festival two years ago. This includes the Electric Daisy Carnival in Vegas, with nearly 400,000 fans last month, making it the largest single weekend festival in the country. Globally, we will promote shows in 40 countries this year, and expect to have our strategy for Central and South America in place by the end of the year, establishing our next growth platform.

Artist Nation

Increasingly feeding this concerts pipeline is our artist management business. With our repositioning of the business now complete, we have been in a growth mode this year, adding such acts as U2, Lady Gaga, Alicia Keys, Miley Cyrus and Britney Spears, and are now managing over 250 artists.

Sponsorship & Advertising

The Sponsorship & Advertising business continues to increase with sponsorship growth coming from continued success around our festival platform and the addition and expansion of strategic relationships with major brands including Budweiser, SAP, Kellogg's, Hertz and Citi.

On the advertising side we are delivering results with a two-part strategy. First, we are growing advertising from the traffic coming to our sites, which was up 23% in the past quarter year-on-year as we added more content on Livenation.com, and we also re-launched our EDM content at insomniac.com. Second, with Yahoo! we have now launched our Live Nation channel streaming a concert each day. Going forward, we see great opportunities for additional programming with Yahoo! and other distribution partners, which we believe will drive continued advertising growth.

Ticketing

Ticketmaster is now delivering on its potential, with our technology investments powering new fan products and setting the foundation for continued growth. Our greatest product focus for the past year has been an integrated primary and secondary ticketing offer for fans, and in July we expect a 90% year-on-year increase in global secondary gross transaction value, or GTV, driven by a 600% increase in secondary concerts activity. This product has now been widely accepted by fans, teams and artists alike, as a benefit to all ? selling more tickets and keeping the secondary value within the content ecosystem, and as a result, we currently expect to capture over $1 billion in resale GTV since our launch last September through the end of this year.

In primary ticketing, $10 billion of GTV was sold through our platforms in the first half, and we continue to see a rapid shift to mobile ticketing, with nearly 40% growth in mobile ticket sales this year and 17% of tickets now purchased on our mobile platforms. As we have improved the ease by which fans can buy, transfer and sell their tickets, and with almost 60% of tickets in North America now able to enter a show with a mobile bar code, we expect this to continue driving mobile growth and further Ticketmaster's distinctive proposition for both fans and venues.

As a result, we expect to deliver a net client renewal rate of over 100% at Ticketmaster for the fifth straight year since the merger, clearly demonstrating that our investments are paying off and the confidence that our partners have in the future of Ticketmaster.

2014 Growth Expectations

The full year continues to be on track and I remain confident that in 2014 we will deliver our fourth consecutive year of revenue, AOI and free cash flow growth and grow the profitability of each of our businesses. Longer term, I continue to see great ongoing growth opportunities for the company. We believe that the underlying demand for 'live' continues to be strong globally, and as one of the few truly borderless businesses we have numerous opportunities to increase our share; and we have now shown that we can effectively drive scale in concerts and build out from that our sponsorship and ticketing businesses.

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