Seatwave name new boss as ticket site turns a profit


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The Independent Online

Ticket resale website Seatwave today named the former chairman of Shazam as its new boss, as the company revealed it was in profit for the first time thanks to sell-out concerts like the Rolling Stones.

New chief executive Ajay Chowdhury replaces Seatwave’s founder Joe Cohen, who became non-executive chairman in January.

As well as time at music-recognition app Shazam, Chowdhury was chief executive of cloud-based retail tech firm ComQi and is a non-executive director on the board of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.

Seatwave, founded in 2006, is one of the ‘big four’ online resale marketplaces, where fans can buy and sell tickets for music, sport, comedy and theatre. The site guarantees all tickets sold on the platform and take a percentage of sales.

The site and its competitors – viagogo, StubHub and Getmein – have attracted controversy, with critics saying the sites help touts to exploit fans. Chowdhury dismissed the criticism, saying: “The majority of sellers are fans who want to sell their tickets for a variety of reasons. A significant number of tickets are sold at below face value. If they are sold at more than face value it is a result of demand for the event.“

He called London-based Seatwave a “British tech success story” and revealed the firm was in profit for the first time in its seven year history, with ticket sales on the site close to $100 million a year. He said acts like Leonard Cohen, Roger Waters and Michael Buble had all been selling well, while last year’s Rolling Stones concerts were “really good” for the firm.

Chowdhury plans to increase Seatwave’s mobile presence as well as introduce event discovery features, social options and post-event offerings.

He said: “There are some really interesting opportunities here. Building off the success we’ve had with ticketing, we want to see what we could offer in these other areas.” Chowdhury said new features would begin to be introduced in the first quarter of next year.