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

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.


  • Village Cinemas have a similar option of buying movie tickets online and having a QR code sent to your phone.

    Oh, but they slug you and extra $1 per ticket for the privilege.

      • The hoyts iPhone app lets you pick your seat, gives you a barcode to get scanned, and also lets you get the cheap movie of the week if your a hoyts member. But you do get charged extra.

        My bet is they charge extra because your less likely to buy popcorn or drinks if you dont need to get your money out to pay for the tickets.

  • I’ve never understood how Ticketek get away with charging you a handling fee when you do it yourself, how come there has never been a case with the ACCC or any of the fair trading groups to look in to that?

  • Ticketmaster/Ticketek are lowlife scumbag corporations that don’t deserve a cent of your money. The amount they charge for what is essentially non-optional extras is disgusting. The hold monopolies on venue ticketing, so they can charge ANY fee they like on top of the original face value, their online systems are a joke, they have no intention of doing anything about the scalping epidemic as they get money in any case. I hope they crash and burn.

  • The big 2 ticket sellers don’t let you choose your seat online – only “best available”. If you want to choose your seat you need to do so on the phone or in person. Smaller ticket sellers allow you to choose your exact seat online. Why can’t the big 2 add that service?

  • Event Cinema sends a printable ticket via email but all you need to do is show the barcode and they can scan it, it’s not like this is something new, yet major event ticket sellers still haven’t gotten onboard? Amazing really how behind some companies are

  • Well, if the value of the ticket is $100 ticket sellers such as Ticketmaster don’t actually get that money. They make their money through the transaction fee and whatever ridiculous amount they charge for postage, venue collect or e tickets. Hence why you need to pay them. Unfortunately, Ticketmaster and Ticketek are douchebags so they can up to $7.50 for regular mail for tickets that can’t be replaced or refunded if they are lost in the mail.

    As for the mobile tickets, it is a good idea. But not all venues are equipped with technology to scan them. It’ll only be available for shows at larger venues like the Entertainment Center or ANZ stadium. So, in the end, not really useful (unless you mostly go to shows in larger venues).

    • Sure they do – Seen events where it’s “$100 + Booking Fee”.

      The “Booking Fee” is what Ticketek/Ticketmaster cherge the creators of the event. The event creators don’t want to pay that fee, so they pass it on to the ticket buyer.

      • Jess – you’re partially correct.

        I’ve used a similar company – VenueTix – before when, in my line of work, we were selling tickets to an event, and needed to use their services to do so.

        In this case, we VenueTix took a cut of each ticket sale. So, whatever we were charging for the ticket, they then said ‘add on $xx – that’s our charge to you, and we take it out of your ticket sale revenue’

        The Booking Fee is something that VenueTix chose to charge to consumers. It’s not that we were passing the fee onto consumers – we had no control over it, and in our case, could not afford to say ‘Hey, we’ll cover that too!’ (not for profit organisation).

        I suspect (and this is purely my opinion) the transaction fees, delivery fees, etc are an integral part of Ticketek’s revenue stream, as the amount per ticket that they charge the event holder may not be enough to cut the mustard.

  • Its funny how you guys are whinging about booking fees. They’re a business, they’re there to make money. If you dont want to pay fees, dont go. They can charge whatever they like.

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