In recent years, Ticketmaster, the dominant seller of tickets to events and concerts, has moved to providing more and more paperless tickets, stating that these tickets are a benefit to consumers. Our ConsumerGram – “Paperless Tickets, Costly to Consumers” – shows that the motivation behind paperless tickets is not about helping consumers. In fact, these tickets greatly inconvenience consumers and can raise consumer costs. Because paperless ticketing requires consumers to use Ticketmaster’s own affiliates in order to gift or resell tickets, one likely explanation for the push toward paperless tickets is that the dominant ticket retailer is trying to eliminate the competitive secondary market by monopolizing downstream resale activity.
Our analysis and review of the literature shows that the widespread implementation of paperless tickets would debilitate a viable, competitive and innovative secondary market. For consumers, this means fewer options in the primary market, a reduction in the availability of resale tickets in the secondary market, an increase in resale ticket prices, and a significant reduction in consumer welfare – estimated to reach $2 billion per year. Paperless tickets can be a costly alternative for consumers.