I’d Love Mobile Tickets, Just Don’t Charge Me Extra For Them


We’re seeing an increasing range of options to deliver event tickets to mobile phones. That’s a potentially welcome development, but I fear it won’t result in our tickets for sporting events and concerts getting any cheaper.

Ticketing giant Ticketek put out a press release earlier this week noting that its mobile-optimised site was now a significant source of traffic and revenue. After operating for four weeks, it accounts for 15 per cent of overall visits, and a surprising number of those visits result in a ticket purchase. In one notable recent example, 10 per cent of tickets for the forthcoming Foo Fighters tour were sold via mobile devices.

While ordering via your phone can be useful, actual ticket delivery still tends to rely on either mailing physical tickets or having them picked up. That seems wasteful when the only important part of the ticket in most cases is the barcode, which could just as easily be delivered to a smartphone. And let’s face it, you’ll almost certainly be taking the phone along anyway — I can’t remember the last concert I went to that didn’t involve a sea of people taking photos and filming on their phones.

So from that point of view, a brief announcement in the press release is equally notable:

Ticketek will shortly be deploying an Australian first mobile ticket delivery product that will complete its end to end mobile platform.

That sounds sensible to me — we’ve already seen a similar approach with mobile check-in for flying, and it makes life much more convenient. But I’ve got a horrible feeling there’ll be one key area where Ticketek (and rival operations) will vary: there’s likely to be a ‘convenience fee’ attached, which is nothing more than a blatant attempt to gouge consumers.

We’ve already got the ludicrous situation where if you choose to download your own ticket as a PDF and print it yourself, you’ll get slugged $4.95 for the process. This is only marginally cheaper than getting the tickets posted to you, and it seems entirely unjustified as a charge: after all, you’re supplying the ink and paper. But given the existence of this impost, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see a similar approach taken with concert tickets. And that seems unfair. Tickets for even moderately notable events often sell for $100 or more. At that price, why do we need to get gouged for a ticket fee as well?

Lifehacker’s weekly Streaming column looks at how technology is keeping us entertained.

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