Con­cert­sts app just the ticket

Hong Kong-based tick­et­ing app Play­roll is sweet mu­sic to the ears of hard­core fans and ca­sual con­cert-go­ers alike. re­ports.

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE -

There is noth­ing like a great con­cert and noth­ing beats see­ing it live. But for hard­core fans, good seats seem to be get­ting more and more out of reach, while for ca­sual buy­ers, tick­ets are get­ting in­creas­ingly ex­pen­sive.

That is where Play­roll comes in. Founded by for­mer school­mates Enoch Chan, Hing Cheng and K.K. Chen, the Hong Kong-based startup aims to re­shape the in­dus­try by cre­at­ing a bid mar­ket in the world of live mu­sic events.

Play­roll, the app de­vel­oped by the company, sells tick­ets to con­certs, stage plays and bal­lets us­ing an auc­tion model sim­i­lar to es­tab­lished US on­line play­ers eBay and Price­line.

It lets cus­tomers “name their own price” for event tick­ets and asks or­ga­niz­ers if they are will­ing to take their bids.

Users put down their credit card de­tails and con­tact num­ber. When a bid is ac­cepted by the event or­ga­nizer, a fee will be charged. to solve this prob­lem by mak­ing the event more af­ford­able for price-con­scious con­sumers and pro­vid­ing pri­or­ity book­ing to hard­core fans,” says Chan, a for­mer con­sul­tant at McKin­sey & Company.

“At the same time, we’re help­ing the or­ga­niz­ers fill seats and at­tract more fans,” Chan adds. “No one wants to see empty seats at a con­cert. By ac­cept­ing lower prices, or­ga­niz­ers can sell tick­ets that would oth­er­wise go un­sold.”

The company says their model works bet­ter than a sim­ple sale. It pro­vides a way to dis­cover the mar­ket price, mean­ing the price level where the quan­tity de­manded equals the quan­tity sup­plied.

“Each of us may be will­ing to pay a dif­fer­ent price. For in­stance, I am go­ing to pay HK$300 only and another is will­ing to pay HK$350. If the or­ga­nizer just puts tick­ets on sale and drops the price to HK$250, he is leav­ing a lot of money on the ta­ble. He can­not cap­ture the psy­cho­log­i­cal price each of us has,” ex­plains Chan.

Play­roll claims that users of the app can usu­ally get 30-50 per­cent off box of­fice prices.

But for dis­counted tick­ets, buy­ers have to trade con­ve­nience for price.

Con­sumers get to choose their seats if they buy tick­ets on Tick­etHK or other web­sites. With Play­roll, they will be able to find out which seats have been as­signed to them only after pur­chase.

The company said all the seats are on a “best avail­able” ba­sis at the mo­ment and promised to try their best to make sure you and your friends all sit to­gether.

Play­roll also works on pri­or­ity book­ing for hard­core fans. “Front-row seats are al­ways sys­tem­at­i­cally un­der­priced. The ticket scalpers or ‘yel­low cows’ just nab most of the tick­ets and then sell at a higher price. And the or­ga­ni­za­tions don’t get any of that ex­tra money,” says Chan.

Play­roll part­ners with some or­ga­niz­ers to ac­quire the right to sell some of the front-row and meet-and-greet-the-artist tick­ets be­fore pub­lic sale.

“Fans who re­ally want the tick­ets would jump through hoops (to get them). They don’t mind pay­ing more to get a bet­ter seat,” Chan says. “With our app, the higher price they of­fer the bet­ter seat they can get. They don’t need to go through a mid­dle­man. And the or­ga­nizer can earn more.”

Chan re­veals that the most popular events on their app have been pop con­certs, es­pe­cially by Tai­wanese and Korean stars.

The company gets tick­ets di­rectly from or­ga­niz­ers and takes a cut from those it sells. For dis­counted tick­ets, it takes a com­mis­sion from the marked down price, while for VIP tick­ets, it charges a fee based on the pre­mium the company gets.

Show or­ga­niz­ers view Play­roll’s mar­ket­place as a wel­come al­ter­na­tive to gain more rev­enue, the startup said. Re­cently they held prior book­ing for a high-pro­file con­cert by Tai­wanese singer Kim­ber­ley Chen, due to be staged at Mong Kok’s Macpher­son Sta­dium in Jan­uary.

Chan claims their re­search showed users usu­ally buy nor­mal tick­ets six to eight weeks in ad­vance, which comes down to seven days for VIP “name your price” tick­ets. “The po­ten­tial mar­ket is huge. We al­low or­ga­niz­ers to price dy­nam­i­cally,” he says.

Launched in De­cem­ber 2013, Play­roll was backed by three an­gel in­vestors in Hong Kong. The app has al­ready been down­loaded by more than 50,000 users and the startup is al­ready in the black, Cheng told China Daily.

The company joined the Incu-App Tech­nol­ogy Business In­cu­ba­tion Pro­gramme sup­ported by Hong Kong Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy Parks Cor­po­ra­tion in Au­gust and has been based in the open space of­fice at the Incu-App Cen­tre ever since.

“We will con­tinue to work with big­ger or­ga­niz­ers for big­ger con­certs in Hong Kong and will ex­pand into other South­east Asian coun­tries very soon, start­ing with Sin­ga­pore and Jakarta (In­done­sia),” says Cheng.

Play­roll also plans to look into the pos­si­bil­i­ties of com­bin­ing so­cial net­work­ing with its pric­ing sys­tem to fur­ther re­al­ize the po­ten­tial of the con­cert in­dus­try.

Says Cheng: “Just as the travel and flight in­dus­try have been trans­formed with more dy­namic pric­ing in re­cent years, we are work­ing with our part­ners to trans­form the con­cert in­dus­try in South­east Asia.” Con­tact the writer at aman­dahua@chi­nadai­

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