Live Nation Entertainment today posted its eighth consecutive year of record results for its revenue, operating income and adjusted operating income. In its 2018 earnings report, the company’s revenue was up 11% to $10.8 billion (with attendance at its concerts up 8% to 93 million) its operating income was up 61%, its AOI up 22% and its sponsorship and advertising revenue was up 13%.
Breaking down that latter figure, in the report CEO Michael Rapino said, “Our top strategic sponsors have been a key driver of this growth, with 75 sponsors collectively spending over $350 million to reach our fans, up 11% over 2017.”
The company’s Ticketmaster division saw its fee-bearing gross transaction value (GTV) up 14% and total platform GTV of $33 billion, which helped to drive a 14% increase in ticketing revenue for the year. Ticketmaster managed over 400,000 events during 2018, delivering almost 500 million tickets to fans in 28 countries, the report says.
The company has taken some lumps in recent months, one of which was acknowledged in the earnings report: a 2017 $110 million settlement with Songkick, although it did not mention the name of that company, whose assets it acquired as part of the settlement announced in January. Songkick accused Live Nation of interfering with its business and hacking into its computer systems.
Its new film and television division — currently is enjoying a huge success with “A Star Is Born,” which it co-produced — recently took a hit when the head of the department, Heather Parry, was terminated from the company after reports of workplace bullying. The division will continue under new management and Rapino said in response to a question during the earnings call, “We’re thrilled with this division, we have scale, artist relationships and great stories to tell. We’ve got 10-15 projects in the pipeline, so we think that division is a much higher-margin business than the concerts space but it ultimately is a great marketing platform for our artists and our shows and our [company].”
In the report, Rapino concluded, “In 2019, I expect us to further extend our global concerts position while enhancing our on-site hospitality business and capturing additional pricing opportunities. We believe that the combination of macro trends and our demonstrated ability to execute are strong indicators of our capability to continue to grow the business for many years to come.”