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Eventbrite’s Self-Serve Ticket Model Powers It to Third Straight Quarter of Growth

By Victoria Copans

Online ticketing and tech platform Eventbrite continued to feel the effects of the pandemic in the first quarter of 2021, but its outlook is positive for the remainder of the year as it continues its recovery.

Eventbrite has just released its first quarter 2021 earnings report, following a $225 million net loss in 2020. The company reported a net revenue of $27.8 million, which is down from $49.1 million in the first quarter of 2020.

Growth has continued to slow since the third quarter of 2020, with these first quarter earnings representing only a 4 percent increase in net revenue compared to last quarter.

In addition, paid ticket volume was down 7 percent since the fourth quarter of 2020, due in large part to renewed Covid restrictions for in-person events that were put in place in early 2021. However, paid ticket volume increased throughout the first quarter and into April, and paid tickets for online events in particular increased another 17 percent since last quarter and hit a new record.

Evenbrite's overall net loss, while significant at $84.9 million, was considerably lower than its net loss of $146.5 million in the same period last year.

The company anticipates that the balance of events and tickets on the platform will soon shift back to in-person — although online events will remain more popular than they were pre-pandemic — and that paid ticket volume and revenue will be up year-over-year as of next quarter.

Readying for Recovery

In the first quarter of 2020, Eventbrite continued to prioritize its self-service model to support creators of smaller and more frequent events, which the company notes are leading the recovery.

Eventbrite acquired over 75,000 new creators throughout the first quarter, with the proportion of ticket sale proceeds advanced to creators reduced by 91 percent compared to the same period last year. This reflects the "less capital intensive, lower risk nature of self-service customers and changes to our advance payment program," said Eventbrite CEO Julia Hartz and Chief Financial Officer Lanny Barker in their shareholder letter.

They also noted that "the shift in strategy to focus more on further developing and differentiating our self-service capabilities and less on delivering high-touch support services positions Eventbrite well as the market recovers."

Eventbrite is continuing to support the needs of frequent creators by reframing its product experience around the organizer rather than the event. Some ways it is doing so include making it easier to create events, enhancing the creator dashboard, and streamlining multiple-event management and reporting. The company also released its new marketing platform Eventbrite Boost in order to help event organizers promote their events and reach new audiences.

It expects creators of larger, less frequent events to start to reaccelerate on the platform towards the end of 2021 and the beginning of 2022, which is in line with general industry timelines and will mark a more significant recovery for the industry as a whole.

about the author

Victoria Copans
Victoria Copans is a Vermont-based writer, editor, and translator who's been planning events since grade school. She worked at an events agency before transitioning to writing about the industry.
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