AEG announced in February it would end its contract with Ticketmaster and implement a slow rollout of its own system, powered by partner Outbox Technologies, which handles ticket purchases for Cirque du Soleil and is run by Fred Rosen and Jean-Francoys Brousseau. AEG said it would be two years before the rollout was complete.
The system will include a mobile app in 2011, and a video component – such as an “axs television” that would include artist interviews – will begin next year. It already includes social media platforms on sites Facebook and Twitter.
“We really drove a lot of what was on mobile and social,” AEG Senior VP of Digital Todd Sims told Pollstar. “We knew that our customer base was looking forward to mobile solutions and deep social integration, so that’s an area where we really drove some element for Outbox.”
AEG has stressed that the system, because it is white label, would be integrated into venue and event platforms, such as OgdenTheater.net, BluebirdTheater.net or Coachella.com. However, tickets will also be available at a central hub, Axs.com, for consumers more comfortable with a dedicated site – one that could eventually be a platform for non-AEG venues.
“Axs will serve as AEG’s primary consumer brand so it’s a significant step for us,” Sims said. “We have intention across ticketing and other aspects of axs to go beyond AEG but clearly we got a big job ahead of us just getting AEG ticketed events up and working on the platform. That’s the primary focus but, yes, long term it will go beyond AEG events.”
AEG touts the system is committed to showing the full price of a ticket up front, including breakdown of ticket fees, and a free print-at-home feature.
It also features Outbox’s “virtual waiting room.” For those heavily trafficked onsales, ticket buyers are put into a queue that features a floor plan of their selected venue. While waiting to purchase tickets, the consumer can fill out billing and credit card information while the system updates available seats in real time.
“Outbox has been dealing with [scalping] for a long time,” Sims said. “They’ve got a track record of handling large onsale events, complex transactions like season tickets and by eliminating activity on their platforms. We’re confident the system is in place to defend against that.”
Bryan Perez, the newly tapped president of AEG’s Digital, Ticketing and Media division, told Pollstar that many features will be implemented like possibly 360 virtual seating views.
“When we get to the reserve seating venues, certainly that will be something we’ll look at as far as selecting your seat from a seat map,” Perez said. “Cirque du Soleil already has it available to them on the Outbox platform. You can expect us to be competitive with that kind of feature sets.”
AEG expects the system to be primarily online and mobile, but acknowledged some local and regional brick-and-mortar partners should be coming on board in the next few days. The shows, when announced Aug. 23, will include directions to Axs.com. A call center is already established in Denver.
“This is a beta launch so we’re eager to hear from fans, from the industry, from partners,” Sims said. “We make it real easy on the site to provide that feedback and we’re going to do our best to listen and respond and implement.”