Fourth-quarter red ink totals $46 mil

Ticketing services giant Ticketmaster posted a narrowed loss for the fourth quarter and year amid revenue gains from increased conventional and online sales.

Fourth-quarter red ink totaled $46 million, down from a year-earlier loss of $84.9 million.

Quarterly revenue rose 11% to $159.6 million.

On an annual basis, Ticketmaster’s loss amounted to $164.5 million, compared with red ink of $230 million in 2000.

Revenue was up 11% to $675.2 million in 2001.

The Los Angeles-based company, a unit of Barry Diller’s USA Networks, sold 20.3 million tickets overall in the latest quarter — a 9% improvement over the year-earlier period. Over 12 months, Ticketmaster sold 4% more tickets in ’01, at a total 86.7 million.

Online ticketing revenue was up 36% at $46.7 million in the latest quarter. The company didn’t provide full-year Internet revenue but noted the percentage of tickets sold online increased to 32% from a year-earlier 25%.

“Working with our clients, we have been able to develop marketing programs that encourage use of the Internet as a distribution platform,” CEO John Pleasants said. “Internet-only pre-sales and targeted email-based marketing programs are effective tools in increasing the percent of tickets sold online and assisting our clients to sell more tickets overall.

“For 2002, we have set a goal of achieving by year-end a run rate of at least 45% of tickets being sold online,” Pleasants added.

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