Eventbrite, the ticketing and tech platform, suffered a $225 million loss in 2020 despite still enabling 3.5 million virtual and live events during the pandemic's peak months, the company reported this week.
Eventbrite announced a net revenue of $26.7 million in its fourth quarter and full year 2020 earnings report. The revenue in the quarter was up 22 percent versus the third quarter — making it the second straight quarter of recovery following the company's lowest point in the second quarter. Evenbrite's stock rose 4.5 percent on Friday following the Thursday night report.
However, the 2020 earnings still represent a drop of 68 percent when compared to 2019 — a Covid-related net loss of $224.7 million for fiscal year 2020, compared to a net loss of $68.8 million the year before.
Driving much of the recovery in the fourth quarter was the continued increase in paid ticket sales, which were up 19 percent from previous quarter, including a significant 44 percent increase in the U. S.
Sales for in-person events in particular increased 22 percent globally.
Eventbrite is clearly still experiencing the impact of Covid-19, but it will likely see greater recovery this year as vaccination campaigns continue around the world.
Making it to the Other Side
The entire industry is eagerly awaiting the point where enough vaccine doses will have been administered to enable a large-scale return to live events, and Eventbrite is preparing for that moment, which it expects to happen this year.
In November of last year, Eventbrite acquired social marketing service ToneDen, and while the company mentioned that it didn't expect revenue to be immediately affected, this will help creators market their events and get more value out of the platform.
In their latest shareholder letter issued Thursday, Eventbrite CEO Julia Hartz and Chief Financial Officer Lanny Barker optimistically noted that this — along with other initiatives to improve the platform's self-service model and the management of multiple events — "have also helped cement Eventbrite in creators’ minds as the enduring, comprehensive, and robust platform for live events."
Eventbrite has certainly been a saving grace for many event creators in 2020, with events per creator almost doubling from the fourth quarter of 2019 to the fourth quarter of 2020. In addition, the platform saw 330,000 new creators join to host their first event in 2020 and hosted 3.5 million events from April to December.
Hartz and Barker also emphasized that they have "dramatically reduced operating expenses" by 61 percent when compared to the same quarter in 2019, and that these cost savings of more than $100 million are allowing them to focus on investing more into their product and engineering moving forward.
Eventbrite is still banking on the return of smaller, local events driving its recovery in the next few months, especially in places like Australia, where Covid is now reasonably under control. There, paid tickets returned to near pre-pandemic levels (87 percent) by December 2020, spurred by the return of in-person events. The event giant isn't out of the woods yet, but we can likely expect stronger recovery in the next fiscal year as people continue to meet online and in-person events resume.