December 5, 2016: How a Start-Up Hopes to Fill Empty Movie Theater Seats, Brands That Live Stream Events Have a Growing Audience, StubHub Sees Spike in Giving Experiences as Gifts

By Ian Zelaya December 5, 2016, 8:30 AM EST

1. HOW A START-UP HOPES TO FILL EMPTY MOVIE THEATER SEATS: According to movie-ticketing start-up Atom Tickets, more than 5 billion movie theater seats per year go unsold in North American venues. The company hopes to get more people to the theaters by offering a better moviegoing experience. The New York Times: “Even with its new pitchmen, Atom faces an entrenched competitor in Fandango, which NBCUniversal owns. Fandango, known for its playful marketing campaigns, has been the longtime leader in online movie ticketing and continues to grow, in part by embedding its ticket-selling technology into Facebook and Snapchat feeds. Fandango, which services about 28,000 domestic movie screens, is also focused on international growth. But Atom, only a few months old, has already proved to be a serious competitor. It services about 15,000 screens in North America, with thousands more coming online in the months ahead. “By this time next year, we will have mopped up most of the rest,” said Ameesh Paleja, Atom’s chief executive. … Atom, which has $60 million in funding from Lions Gate, 20th Century Fox and Disney, also learns which theaters users tend to frequent and with whom, allowing people to easily extend digital invitations to friends and family members for future group outings. Because Atom facilitates payment splitting among multiple people, 'one poor goat isn’t stuck buying tickets for everyone,' as Mr. Paleja put it. The start-up has also made group discounts, particularly for less popular showtimes, part of its mission, along with concession stand pre-orders. Merchandise is another component. Starting last week, anyone using Atom to buy tickets to ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,’ set for release by Disney on Dec. 16, could also buy exclusive products tied to the film, including sweatshirts and T-shirts. Down the road, Atom plans to sell toys, music and games related to various films. Free to download, Atom collects a surcharge on ticket sales. Studios can also hire it to promote certain films.”

2. BRANDS THAT LIVE STREAM EVENTS HAVE A GROWING AUDIENCE: Brands and media companies using social-platform live streaming such as Facebook Live to broadcast an event are seeing a growing number of viewers. Adweek: “This holiday season is proving to be a fertile testing ground for the burgeoning space of branded livestreaming. For instance, ahead of Black Friday, Lowe's reached a live audience of 32,000 as it unveiled 10 on-sale products, while another 891,000 people saw promoted posts over the next two days. Research firm MarketsandMarkets has forecasted that live video will be a $70 billion industry by 2021. That represents good news for Facebook Inc., which has been aggressively promoting Facebook Live with TV spots. This month, Facebook-owned Instagram also launched its own live feature, which lets users broadcast for an hour before the video disappears. … A few months ago, Facebook began testing ads that let brands and media companies show live video in newsfeeds. Since May, live broadcasts on Facebook have quadrupled, with users commenting 10 times more than they typically do on regular video, according to Michelle Klein, Facebook director of marketing for North America. Brands and analysts suggest that Facebook Live is here to stay, even while its predecessors like Periscope seem to have plateaued or, in the case of Meerkat, went steeply downhill. Periscope, which is owned by Twitter, debuted live video long before Facebook, but according to MIDiA senior analyst Tim Mulligan, it cornered the early adopter market too quickly and lost traction.”

3. STUBHUB SEES SPIKE IN GIVING EXPERIENCES AS GIFTS: StubHub has seen a 20 percent year-over-year increase in its gift card sales during the holiday season, which builds on a trend that millennials are craving experiences rather than actual items as gifts. Forbes: “On Cyber Monday, StubHub's gift card sales jumped 25% over last year. “Life experiences outweigh gifts,” said StubHub President Scott Cutler. Cutler said the company did a survey that found that out of thousands of consumers almost everyone remembers their first concert. (He's right. My first rock concert was Rare Earth in 1975 when I was 14 at Lamar University in Beaumont, TX.) Gift givers knows that a bottle of wine, a sweater or the latest video will probably be forgotten in a matter of weeks, but the chance to buy sought after tickets will probably last for awhile. StubHub's consumer research supports this shift in gift giving. Seventy-five percent of gift givers told StubHub they would prefer to give someone an “unforgettable experience.” They surveyed over 2,000 people in key U.S. and global markets and respondents chose live events as the top three best gifts to be given and received. Forty-three percent said the top choice for a gift card would be one for a live event. The StubHub gift cards help the gifted buy tickets to concert events, theater events, sports events and at the day and time of their choosing.”


ALBUQUERQUE:  Hotel Chaco, a 188-room hotel inspired by the architecture and ancient civilization of Chaco Canyon, will open in Old Town Albuquerque in April. The property is the first from-the-ground-up design and build project from Heritage Hotels & Resorts. Mark Miller will consult on the concept for Hotel Chaco’s rooftop restaurant, Level 5, which will seat as many as 250 people.

AUSTIN:  Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa's annual Holiday Lights & Ice will run from December 16-January 1.

CHICAGO:  Shake Shack is slated to open its first Wrigleyville location in 2019 at the Addison & Clark development near Wrigley Field. Chicago Tribune:

LOS ANGELES:  Thrillist's first-ever Fest of the Best LA will take place Saturday at Le Jardin. The event, which showcases the best of the city's food scene, will feature bites from restaurants including Mainland Poke, Baldoria, and Blue Ribbon Sushi.

For information on upcoming events in Los Angeles, visit Masterplanner:

MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA:  On December 15, Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort will host a community-wide corporate holiday celebration called “The More the Merrier,” which will offer local businesses the option to purchase tables that seat eight to 10. The event will include a reception and a dinner buffet, followed by dancing and entertainment.

Pérez Art Museum Miami has announced that the museum's namesake, Jorge M. Pérez, will continue his patronage with a new $15 million donation. The contribution, which will be gifted over the next 10 years, will consist of $5 million in funds for the acquisition of works by Latin American artists, $5 million in endowed funds for procurement of additional works, and an immediate bestowment of more than 200 pieces from Pérez’s personal collection of Cuban artworks. The donated works will be featured in a new exhibition celebrating this donation in the fall of 2017.

NEW YORK:  This year's Santacon will take place Saturday. The starting location will be announced on the event website and Twitter account the night before.

Panorama music festival will return to Randall's Island Park for a second year July 28-30.

For information on upcoming events in New York, visit Masterplanner:

PHILADELPHIA:  The Philly Craft Beer Festival will take place March 4 at the Navy Yard. More than 75 craft breweries are slated to participate in the event.

TORONTO:  12 Beers of Christmas will take place Friday at the Gladstone Hotel. The event will feature live music and beers from 12 local breweries.

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With contributions from Jenny Berg in Chicago, Alesandra Dubin and Claire Hoffman in Los Angeles, Mitra Sorrells in Orlando, and Carla Hay, Beth Kormanik, Michele Laufik, Jill Menze, and Ian Zelaya in New York.

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