Orange bolsters music links with ticketing service

Orange is the latest operator to launch a major discounted ticket service, taking on the O2 Priority and Vodafone VIP brands in the multi-million-pound market and building on the success of its Orange Wednesdays two-for-one cinema tickets scheme.

The mobile operator – which has seen more than 15m people sign up to Orange Wednesdays since its launch in 2004 – is to offer discounted tickets to events including concerts and comedy shows, boosting its association with live events and increasing its involvement in a market worth an estimated £800m a year. It’s piloting Last Second Tickets from Orange in Leeds and Manchester, sending users daily offers based on their profile.

The move also expands Orange’s strategy of associating its brand with music, which it does through sponsoring festivals, such as Glastonbury, and its Monkey tariff, which offers users free music.

An Orange spokeswoman confirmed the company is running the trial, which will continue until the end of August.

“We’re conducting a trial with a third party to understand customer appetite for tickets to a broad range of cultural events,” she said.

Craig Massey, director of ticketing specialist Last Second Tickets, which is running the scheme, said, “Orange is looking at rolling out the service to the rest of the country if it meets the required metrics.”

Last Second Tickets will alert participants to the availability of discounted tickets via SMS and email for relevant events based on their preferences given when they sign up.

If a user responds positively, they’re prompted to complete the transaction online. However, they can pay via their mobile phone bill if the ticket costs less than £10.

The scheme brings Orange into direct competition with rivals O2 and Vodafone, which offer similar ticketing schemes. O2 Priority gives subscribers access to concert tickets at its branded venues 48 hours before they go on general release. It’s one of O2’s flagship branding exercises and has paired with bands such as Gorillaz ( 14 May 2010).

Vodafone VIP launched last week, offering tickets to high-profile events in association with Live Nation.

Orange has also made a significant investment to boost its association with live music in a bid to attract younger audiences, having launched a dedicated GlastoNav mobile app for the past three Glastonbury festivals.

Ben Woods, director at research firm CCS Insight, said, “This is all about keeping subscribers in a market that’s heavily saturated and fiercely competitive. Keeping customers is a lot cheaper than acquiring new ones.”

Paul Gilbert, MEC Global’s digital account director, said, “Music is a tough space as it’s a crowded area, especially with what O2 is doing.”

Orange hopes the service will emulate the success of its Orange Wednesdays scheme, offering participants two-for-one entry to cinemas nationwide.

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