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2019 in review: July

July brought a “landmark moment” for the ticketing industry after Google announced a global suspension of Viagogo’s advertising account.

The search engine giant said the controversial ticket resale site was in breach of its advertising rules.

Politicians and entertainment trade groups had long campaigned for Viagogo to be barred from advertising on Google, claiming its infringements of consumer laws meant it was breaching the tech giant’s rules.

Viagogo was reinstated on Google’s advertising platform just four months later in November, following the announcement of its purchase of eBay-owned StubHub for $4.05bn.

Also in July, Paul Reed, the chief executive of the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF), criticised the UK government’s response to the DCMS select committee’s report into live music.

The government issued a response to the Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) Committee’s report, which was published in March.

In its response, the government said it would not assist the DCMS committee in its request that the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) should consider conducting a market study of the music industry to assess whether competition in the market was working effectively for both consumers and those working in the industry.

The government’s response was inadequate according to Reed, the head of the UK’s leading non-profit festival trade association, which represents more than 60 festivals. Reed was unhappy that the government’s response focused too much on secondary ticketing – as it cited the Waterson Report – while the AIF had frequently called for an investigation into Live Nation’s market “dominance”, which it claims now holds more than a quarter of UK festivals over 5,000-capacity.

Later in the month, organisers of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games announced two more ticket lotteries for Japan residents after abandoning plans for a first-come, first-served phase.

The August lottery was considered a second chance for the millions of fans that missed out in the first draw, which concluded in June. It was largely be for tickets to qualifiers and first-round events.

A third lottery, which was open to all domestic fans, was held in autumn after organisers agreed to forgo the first-come, first-served ticketing round scheduled for this time due to fears over a repeat of heavy website traffic.

The Tokyo 2020 ticketing site experienced a surge of web traffic during the launch of the domestic ticket application process on May 9, which ran through until May 28.

Organisers were forced to extend the deadline for the Olympic ticket lottery by 12 hours to ensure every application was processed as millions of fans raced to register their interest in the event.

Click here to see the August 2019 review and here to see the June 2019 review.

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