LOS ANGELES (AP) - Concert promoter Live Nation Entertainment Inc. made a profit in the second quarter, reversing a loss from a year ago, by doing away with fire-sale discounts and instead adjusting prices to accommodate both super fans and casual concertgoers.
As a result, it generated more revenue from higher-priced seats closest to the stage, while drawing in more fans to the cheap seats in the back. Concert attendance went up 13 percent in North America and people who visited its amphitheaters spent 3 percent spent more than last year, at $19.21 each, on beer, food and parking.
The results announced Monday beat analyst expectations for a break-even quarter and provided some upbeat news on a day the stock market fell sharply because of worries about the slowing U.S. economy and escalating debt problems threatening Europe.
"The focus this year was to price the house right from the beginning, to drive higher revenue from the front and lower prices in the back to stimulate purchase," said Chief Executive Michael Rapino on a conference call. "The key strategy to achieve this, No. 1, was no mass discounting. And by doing that, our ticket revenues are up 6 percent."
Including international results, concert attendance grew 6 percent to 13 million.
Net income in the three months through June 30 came to $13.3 million, or 7 cents per share. That compares with a loss of $32.8 million, or 19 cents per share, a year ago.
Revenue grew 23 percent to $1.56 billion. That also was much higher than the $1.31 billion expected by analysts polled by FactSet.
Most of the gains came from concert revenue, which rose 26 percent to $1.08 billion. Ticket revenue, from the Ticketmaster subsidiary that it merged with last year, rose 7 percent to $284 million. Revenue from managing artists, selling goods online and by selling sponsorships to events all grew.
The company said that growth may slow in the second half of the year, but that all its segments will deliver higher adjusted operating income for the year compared with 2010.
Concert ticket sales in July are up 6 percent from a year ago.
"We're not sensing anywhere near the panic we did last year," Rapino said. "Overall, it's kind of business as usual for an artist. If they had planned on going out in the fall, they're still going."
Before the results came out, Live Nation's stock fell 60 cents, or 6.4 percent, to close at $8.78 in a broad market sell-off on Monday.