Billionaire media magnate Rupert Murdoch already holds a giant stake in the worlds of books, newspapers, magazines, television—and soon he'll add ticket retailing to his empire. Yesterday an Australian subsidiary of Murdoch’s News Corp, called News Limited, launched Foxtix.com.au — a Ticketmaster for down under. Foxtix will sell tickets to arts, music, and sporting events. It'll offer some serious competition for Australia’s Ticketmaster and Ticketek, who together bring in $150 million a year.
According to News Limited CEO John Hartigan, Foxtix will be "an aggressive entry into mainstream major event ticketing." "Compared to Ticketek and Ticketmaster, Foxtix will give venues and promoters more control of the ticketing of their event and more buyer data—at a lower cost," Foxtix general manager Adam McArthur said. "Foxtix will also be giving consumers lower booking and transaction fees on their tickets."
This isn’t the first time Murdoch has entered the ticketing game. Three years ago, his company purchased Moshtix, an indie ticket seller which has seen some strong growth.
Foxtix still has a mountain to climb. A source close to Ticketek’s owner, private equity firm CVC, said the company was "unfazed" by the move. The majority of major events, another source pointed out, had already been booked by Ticketek or Ticketmaster for the next several years.
But with Ticketmaster's ridiculous processing fees under legal assault in the U.S., and customers sick of them the world over, don't be surprised if some of those events start jumping ship. Also, don't be surprised if Foxtix.com.au turns out to be a dry run for a U.S. version of the service.
News Corp was founded and is based in Australia—its only other headquarters are in New York. Murdoch may be interested in seeing what type of market share it can steal from Ticketmaster, which dominates ticketing in the U.S. The fact that the company named it Foxtix, based on a brand that has become so widespread in America, adds plenty fuel to such suspicions. Clearly, the market could withstand a major competitor or two. Watch out, Ticketmaster.