Business

Have you ever sat at your computer waiting for event tickets to go on sale, only to find them sold out suspiciously quickly?

Or have you ever had an extra ticket that youve wanted to transfer to someone or re-sell, but were stopped by restrictive technology or terms and conditions?

Its a common experience for many fans and often leads to frustration.

The secondary ticketing market has received a lot of attention in recent years, but the secondary market is only a part of the broader ticketing industry.

In order to see tangible change for fans, it's time for a closer examination of the whole ticketing industry – and how it can be made better.

First and foremost, information is key. Yet, the allocation and distribution of tickets on the primary market has traditionally been a closely held secret.

Primary sellers do not tend to make every ticket available to an event. Tickets are often held back for artists, venues, teams, sponsors, fan clubs, and pre-sales. There may be legitimate reasons for this, yet fans have little insight into how many tickets are actually available.

According to a 2016 report by the New York State Attorney General, an average of only 46 per cent of tickets were made available to the public. The remaining 54 per cent were held back.

For top shows, the average proportion of tickets that went on sale to the general public fell to 25 per cent. The percentage for some shows fell as low as 12 per cent.

This needs to change, and consumers are hungry for that change. Indeed, over 67 per cent of people surveyed in a Censuswide poll commissioned by StubHub agree that event organisers or ticket issuers should be required to post online the proportion of tickets actually being made available to the general public.

Additionally, in the same poll when respondents were asked about the most stressful part of buying a ticket, the most frequent response was that tickets were not available.

Secondly, the use of bots to procure tickets provides an unfair advantage over the average fan. StubHub applauded the UK government when it took action to prohibit their use – now that law needs to be enforced.

Primary ticket issuers are best placed to identify bots usage. It is therefore critical that they share information with enforcement agencies so that action can be taken against bad actors.

Finally, fans are facing more and more restrictions on their ticket purchases. Technology and terms and conditions are being unfairly utilised to dictate how consumers can use, transfer, donate or resell their tickets.

For example, “nominative ticketing” (where the ticket can only be used by the person whos name is printed on it), and credit-card entry (where entry is granted only with the credit card used to purchase the original ticket) are inconvenient for fans who can no longer attend an event, or have purchased tickets as gifts, or for a group thats arriving at a venue at different times.

Ticket issuers frequently argue that these restrictions are in fans best interests – but StubHub respectfully disagrees.

In many cases, we believe that these restrictions are intended to give ticket issuers control of the entire market – eliminating consumer choice and stifling competitors.

But when a fan buys a ticket, it should be theirs.

According to a UK Live Music Census 2017 study, 44 per cent of respondents needed to resell a ticket to a live music event in the 12 months prior.

Fans should have the flexibility to use, transfer, donate, or resell their tickets the way they would other items.

Would anyone accept terms and conditions on other purchases that so limited consumer choice? Imagine being restricted to only selling your house through the estate agent you bought it from?

Fans benefit from flexibility and choice in the market. Its time for the entire ticket market to put fans first, through a shared commitment to transparency, enforcing bots laws, consumer protections, and flexibility.

Business

Theresa May was today warned she will lose the support of Conservative MPs if a draft Brexit agreement could see the UK being kept in a customs union with the EU.

Veteran Brexit supporter Peter Bone issued the stark warning to the Prime Minister less than two hours before a meeting of the cabinet to consider a deal thrashed out by negotiators in Brussels.

While the text of the draft agreement has not yet been made public, it has been reported the UK would agree to be in a customs union with the EU as a backstop solution to avoid a hard border with Ireland if no trade deal can be reached.

Leading ministers were invited into Downing Street one by one on Tuesday evening to study the text, with formal sign off by the cabinet expected in a meeting starting at 2pm on Wednesday.

Bone summed up the frustrations of many Tory Brexiters when he addressed May in Prime Ministers Questions at just after 12pm on Wednesday.

He said: “Is the Prime Minister aware that if the media reports about the EU agreement are in anyway accurate, you are not delivering the Brexit people voted for and today you will lose the support of many Conservative MPs and millions of voters across the country?”

May replied: “What we have been negotiating is a deal that does deliver on the vote of the British people.”

She went on to flag up the end of free movement of people as a key area of reform secured in the negotiations.

Many Brexit supporters, including former Cabinet ministers Boris Johnson, Iain Duncan Smith and Priti Patel appeared stony-faced as May defended the draft agreement, with Patel shaking her head as the Prime Minister talked up how the deal would help the UKs international trading position.

If the cabinet agrees to the deal, it will be down to the EU27 to decide if they want to convene a special summit later this month to sign off the agreement.

Even if the EU back the deal, May still needs to get it through parliament – a move which looks increasingly difficult as a number of Tory MPs have already said they will vote against the proposal.

Business

Four more House of Fraser branches are set to close under new owner Sports Direct as negotiations with a landlord broke down.

House of Fraser said today that its Intu-owned sites in Norwich and Nottingham, as well as shopping centre stores in Lakeside in Essex and Metrocentre in Gateshead, will close in early 2019.

The latest closures come after unsuccessful discussions between Sports Direct and retail property giant Intu, which specialises in shopping centre management.

“We had multiple meetings with Intu, but we were no further forward after 14 weeks," said Mike Ashley, the billionaire owner of Sports Direct.

“Unfortunately, these stores now face closing in the new year. I urge other institutional landlords to be more proactive to help save the House of Fraser stores in their schemes.”

Intu said it held "numerous" meetings with Sports Direct "at the highest level" but the parties have not been able to reach an agreement.

"Of the four stores, two are city centre locations and two are super-regionals, each offering unique opportunities," a spokesperson for Intu said.

"Our teams are looking at bespoke solutions that will create the right tenant mix to meet the needs of the local market, attracting more customers and ultimately benefiting all our tenants.

"Ideas on the table include not only other large-scale retailers but also non-traditional shopping centre uses."

Ashley bought the department store chain out of administration for £90m in August, but has announced a string of closures lately, including House of Fraser's flagship Kendals store in Manchester.

The entrepreneur hopes to save at least 80 per cent of the chains stores, and has previously blamed “greedy” landlords for closures.

Edinburgh, Hull and Swindon stores face the axe, while the future of a store in Bath is also uncertain.

Sports Direct has vowed to keep open 15 stores previously earmarked for closure, while Ashley has paid £95m for the freehold of the chain's very first store in Glasgow.

Business

The assured playoff hopes and horns of the Los Angeles Rams were clipped on Sunday Night Football by a Chicago Bears team that just piled it on and on in front of their hometown crowd.

With a 15-6 win by Chicago, the name of the game was defense. And no matter how hard Sean McVays boys tried, they could not break through the Bears wall enough to claim another victory in a season that has otherwise seen the City of Angels team blessed.

However, on a night that saw the CWs latest annual Arrowverse kick off on a special The Flash, the NFL and NBC were as much the winners as the Windy City boys, though by not as large a margin.

Last nights SNF snared a 13.0/22 in metered market ratings.

Thats a 6% rise over last weeks Los Angeles Chargers 33-30 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in the early metrics. On what is perhaps a more important scale, the Week 14 SNF of the 2018/2019 season is also up 12% in metered market ratings over the 2017/2018 season Week 14 match-up between Steelers win over the Baltimore Ravens.

The December 2 game eventually earned a 5.4/21 rating among adults 18-49 and 17.8 million viewers. The Steelers and Ravens face-off of December 10, 2017 pulled in 5.4/19 rating and an audience of 17.2 million.

Currently, fast affiliates have last nights SNF delivering 17.3 million sets of eyeballs and a 5.3/20 rating. That will clearly change in the final numbers when they come in. What will not change is NBCs dominance of the night.

In the meantime, as we await those final numbers, heres something to chew on – the Bears win over the Ram peaked with a 14.2/23 in the 9:45 – 10 PM ET slot.

Original Article

Business

Many on Wall Street and in Hollywood wonder about Netflixs plan to keep boosting original-content spending as major suppliers like Disney and WarnerMedia aim to pull their content from the streaming service. But new research shows the strategy appears to be working.

Netflix original content accounted for 37% of all streams on the platform in October, up from 24% a year earlier and 14% in January 2017, according to a study by 7Park Data.

Netflix

Programming made by Fox offers a possible glimpse at the future of Netflix. The studios content represented 24% of all Netflix streams in January 2017, the study said, but as many of those titles migrated to Hulu, the percentage shrunk to just 4% in October 2018, even as overall Netflix viewing continued to rise.

While Netflix originals own six of the top 10 slots on 7Parks ranking of the top 10 shows overall on Netflix, it is worth noting that No. 1 by a landslide is NBCUniversals The Office, and No. 3 is Friends. The latter sitcom has been in a tug of war in recent days, with both AT&Ts WarnerMedia and Netflix retaining streaming rights to the Warner Bros show in 2019.

Disney and WarnerMedia both plan to launch ambitious general-audience streaming services in the fourth quarter of next year and have signaled that they will gradually pull titles back from Netflix. That withdrawal wont be easy, as the industry — especially talent — have become accustomed to paydays of eight or nine figures for streaming rights. With a total content budget of $13 billion, Netflix has never balked at writing big checks. Traditional rivals have to not only forego that revenue but face the start-up costs of beaming their programming direct to consumers.

The studys results derive from independent research conducted by 7Park based on opt-in, anonymized Internet viewing behavior. The reach of 7Parks global panel (which includes Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video customers) is more than 3.5 million active viewers, about three million of them in the U.S.

While three of the top four shows on the overall top 10 were non-Netflix originals (including Greys Anatomy at No. 4), the companys Chilling Adventures of Sabrina registered a strong No. 2. Nos. 5 through 9, respectively, were House of Cards, The Great British Baking Show, Marvels Daredevil, Narcos: Mexico and The Haunting of Hill House.

Original Article

Business

Shutterstock

More Americans get their news from social media than from newspapers, a Pew Research study has found, a tip of the balance in that direction for the first time.

As recently as last year, the sides were roughly equal – news via social media was about the same portion as news via print newspapers. According to the report posted on the Pew Research Center website, 20% of U.S. adults say they “often get news via social media,” a slightly higher figure than the 16% who favor newspapers.

Pew notes that social medias recent gain over print follows years of “steady declines” in newspaper circulation, combined with “modest increases” in the portion of Americans using social media. The survey was conducted earlier this year.

TV remains the single most popular news consumption platform, though, despite steady decline in recent years: 49% of adults get their news from TV. Coming in at #2 is news websites (33%), with radio at #3 (26%). Social media and print round out the top five.

When combined, news websites and social media are closing in on TV: 43% to TVs 49%.

Breaking down the types of TV news, Pew found that local TV is the most popular, with 37% of adults going that route, while 30% use cable TV most often and 25% turn to national evening network news programs.

Pew asked about streaming devices for the first time in their annual study, finding that 9% of U.S. adults often get news from a streaming device on their TV. The majority of those using streaming devices (73%) dont do so exclusively: they also use broadcast or cable TV for news.

As would be expected, age plays a significant role in news consumption. Americans 65 and older are five times as likely as 18- to 29-year-olds to get their news from TV. Only 16% of that younger demo say they get their news from TV often. The 30- to 49-year-olds who do so are at about 36%.

On the flip side: that youngest demo is four times as likely to get news from social media as the oldest demo. The elders is the only age group in which print has held its popularity, with four in 10 getting news from dead trees often.

The middle group showed a preference for websites, with 42% of the 30- to 49-year-olds going online or using apps. Of the younger demo, that percentage is 27%, trailing behind the most popular – social media (36%). Only 2% of the youngest adults turn to print.

Another Pew finding: Younger and middle-age Americans are far less likely than their elders to rely on only one platform. No more than half of the below-49ers rely on a single platform.

Original Article

Middle East

Nadia Murad (L) and fellow Nobel laureate Denis Mukwege collected their peace prize medals in Oslo on Monday (Reuters)

Nadia Murad on Monday became the first Iraqi citizen to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in the award's history, after escaping the brutality and sexual violence of the Islamic State (IS) group in 2014.

The 25-year-old shares the prize with Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege for their "efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war".

During the award ceremony in Oslo, Murad called for justice to be given to victims of sexual violence in conflicts around the world.

"The fact remains that the only prize in the world that can restore our dignity is justice and the prosecution of criminals," she said on Monday.

"For me, justice does not mean killing all of the people who commit these crimes against us."

She said it meant that those who committed crimes against Yazidis should be "punished for those crimes specifically".

Murad once lived in the mountain village of Kocho near the Yazidi stronghold of Sinjar in northern Iraq, close to the border with Syria.

But in August 2014, IS fighters swept into her village, killing the men, taking children captive and condemning thousands of women to a life of forced labour and sexual slavery.

Murad was taken to Mosul, the Iraqi "capital" of the IS's self-declared caliphate, where she was held captive and repeatedly gang-raped, tortured and beaten.

IS fighters wanted "to take our honour, but they lost their honour," said Murad.

In 2015, she briefed the United Nations Security Council on the issue of human trafficking and conflict, and since September 2016 has served as the goodwill ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking of the United Nations (UNODC).

'Our peoples' fight'

The Yazidis, who numbered around 550,000 in Iraq before 2014, were seen as heretics by the IS militants who overran their villages. Since then, some 100,000 have left the country.

The Kurdish-speaking community follows an ancient religion, revering a single God and the "leader of the angels", represented by a peacock.

Like thousands of Yazidis, Murad was forced to marry an IS militant, beaten and – in contrast to the official wives of IS leaders – made to wear makeup and tight clothes.

"The first thing they did was force me to convert to Islam," Murad told AFP in 2016.

She set about trying to escape and managed to flee with the help of a Muslim family from Mosul. Using false identity papers, she crossed to Iraq's Kurdish region, joining crowds of other displaced Yazidis in camps.

With the help of an organisation that assists Yazidis, she was reunited with her sister in Germany, where she lives today. Even there, she says she is still fearful for herself and other innocent women.

"I am a happy person, I am an outgoing person, I do not want to live in fear," she told reporters at a press conference on Sunday, saying she has dedicated herself to "our peoples' fight".

She and her friend Lamia Haji Bashar, joint recipients of the EU's 2016 Sakharov human rights prize, have campaigned to reveal the fate of 3,000 Yazidis who remain missing, presumed still in captivity.

The Yazidi cause has won a high-profile supporter – Lebanese-British lawyer and activist Amal Clooney, who also penned the foreword to Murad's book, The Last Girl, published in 2017.

That same year, the UN announced it would begin gathering evidence on IS war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide that would be used to try militants in Iraqi courts.

Announcing the Nobel winners in October, chairwoman Berit Reiss-Andersen said: "A more peaceful world can only be achieved if women and their fundamental rights are recognised and protected in war."

Happier times

Murad was in the United States when she heard about her prize, and said she was "scared" initially.

"The first thing that came to my mind was my mother, I cried a lot," she said on Sunday.

"It was very difficult, I have received the Nobel Peace Prize from the hardship, the difficulties that all these people have faced and the work we have done."

In contrast to all the tragedies, Murad's Twitter feed show happier times. In August, she announced her commitment to fellow Yazidi activist Abid Shamdeen.

"The struggle of our people brought us together, and we would continue this path together," she wrote.

Original Article

Middle East

Nadia Murad (L) and fellow Nobel laureate Denis Mukwege collected their peace prize medals in Oslo on Monday (Reuters)

Nadia Murad on Monday became the first Iraqi citizen to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in the award's history, after escaping the brutality and sexual violence of the Islamic State (IS) group in 2014.

The 25-year-old shares the prize with Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege for their "efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war".

During the award ceremony in Oslo, Murad called for justice to be given to victims of sexual violence in conflicts around the world.

"The fact remains that the only prize in the world that can restore our dignity is justice and the prosecution of criminals," she said on Monday.

"For me, justice does not mean killing all of the people who commit these crimes against us."

She said it meant that those who committed crimes against Yazidis should be "punished for those crimes specifically".

Murad once lived in the mountain village of Kocho near the Yazidi stronghold of Sinjar in northern Iraq, close to the border with Syria.

But in August 2014, IS fighters swept into her village, killing the men, taking children captive and condemning thousands of women to a life of forced labour and sexual slavery.

Murad was taken to Mosul, the Iraqi "capital" of the IS's self-declared caliphate, where she was held captive and repeatedly gang-raped, tortured and beaten.

IS fighters wanted "to take our honour, but they lost their honour," said Murad.

In 2015, she briefed the United Nations Security Council on the issue of human trafficking and conflict, and since September 2016 has served as the goodwill ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking of the United Nations (UNODC).

'Our peoples' fight'

The Yazidis, who numbered around 550,000 in Iraq before 2014, were seen as heretics by the IS militants who overran their villages. Since then, some 100,000 have left the country.

The Kurdish-speaking community follows an ancient religion, revering a single God and the "leader of the angels", represented by a peacock.

Like thousands of Yazidis, Murad was forced to marry an IS militant, beaten and – in contrast to the official wives of IS leaders – made to wear makeup and tight clothes.

"The first thing they did was force me to convert to Islam," Murad told AFP in 2016.

She set about trying to escape and managed to flee with the help of a Muslim family from Mosul. Using false identity papers, she crossed to Iraq's Kurdish region, joining crowds of other displaced Yazidis in camps.

With the help of an organisation that assists Yazidis, she was reunited with her sister in Germany, where she lives today. Even there, she says she is still fearful for herself and other innocent women.

"I am a happy person, I am an outgoing person, I do not want to live in fear," she told reporters at a press conference on Sunday, saying she has dedicated herself to "our peoples' fight".

She and her friend Lamia Haji Bashar, joint recipients of the EU's 2016 Sakharov human rights prize, have campaigned to reveal the fate of 3,000 Yazidis who remain missing, presumed still in captivity.

The Yazidi cause has won a high-profile supporter – Lebanese-British lawyer and activist Amal Clooney, who also penned the foreword to Murad's book, The Last Girl, published in 2017.

That same year, the UN announced it would begin gathering evidence on IS war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide that would be used to try militants in Iraqi courts.

Announcing the Nobel winners in October, chairwoman Berit Reiss-Andersen said: "A more peaceful world can only be achieved if women and their fundamental rights are recognised and protected in war."

Happier times

Murad was in the United States when she heard about her prize, and said she was "scared" initially.

"The first thing that came to my mind was my mother, I cried a lot," she said on Sunday.

"It was very difficult, I have received the Nobel Peace Prize from the hardship, the difficulties that all these people have faced and the work we have done."

In contrast to all the tragedies, Murad's Twitter feed show happier times. In August, she announced her commitment to fellow Yazidi activist Abid Shamdeen.

"The struggle of our people brought us together, and we would continue this path together," she wrote.

Original Article