James Moore: Just the ticket? These watchdogs are a no-show

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The Independent Online

Outlook Talking of regulators and monopolies, with the weekend fast approaching many people will be finalising plans to take in a show, or a concert, or maybe a theatre production.

Which means they'll very likely be customers of Ticketmaster. And they probably won't have much choice about it.

For a wide range of live events Ticketmaster is not just the master of ticketing. It's the only game in town. Which means it can basically charge what it wants for the really rather simple job of running a website to sell them.

You can, of course, phone up, and you may have to if you have specialist requirements (such as using a wheelchair). And then you'll shell out even more through the premium rate phone line on which you will have to wait, and wait and wait, pay and pay and pay. If, that is, you are "lucky" enough to get through.

A couple of years ago the company snapped up LiveNation, the promoter, and this did raise the eyebrows of competition regulators. But after some really rather mild "remedies" they passed the deal. There's been talk of online competitors with innovative means of selling tickets to compete with the company, but so far it's proved to be just talk.

Which leaves the consumer with Ticketmaster. Or the TV. You do sometimes wonder what we pay competition watchdogs to do.