You’re about to buy your ticket, but how do you know how good the seats really are? TechWatch’s Emily McDaid spoke to an entrepreneur who aims to solve that very issue.
“When you buy a ticket for a show or concert, there’s no way of knowing what your view will be,” said SeatView’s founder, Graham Little.
Little set out to change this, launching SeatView earlier this year from its base in Bangor. Having the right production equipment and experience – including 360-degree photo rigs and heaps of experience making VR videos – his team was able to jump quickly when they came up with the idea for SeatView.
‘We want to capture the seat views for all the UK and Irish sports venues’
– GRAHAM LITTLE
In today’s internet-driven world, you can find out virtually anything about a product that you’re buying, and ticket sales should be no different – particularly if you’re dropping €100 to see Bruce Springsteen.
“Along with my co-founders, Andrew Murray and Stuart Ogg, we’ve already completed a full trial and API of the Kingspan Stadium where Ulster Rugby play,” said Little. It makes sense that he’d start with sports stadia, given his background as a sports television presenter.
I wondered if the customer would end up paying for this, like the mysterious administration fee that gets slapped on at the end of my Ticketmaster transactions. Little assured me: “Venues will cover the capture costs to get the seat views done, and then we’ll license the data to the ticket distributors.
Is Ticketmaster your only target customer?
No, there are many online ticket sellers such as 24-Hour Tickets, GetMeIn, StubHub, etc. Ticketmaster has more than 50pc of the primary market in the UK, but there are so many secondary resellers.
In 2015, Live Nation’s Ticketmaster division sold in excess of half a billion tickets online.
One of our USPs is that we’re platform agnostic and we can license our database to more than one ticket agency. We’ll develop a comprehensive database of stadia and entertainment venues, which, coupled with a robust and user-friendly back-office system, will create a complete saleable package. In Europe right now, this offering would be unique.
Are the SeatViews photos or video?
It’s called a Pano Tour – high-res images taken from one point, looking in every direction, and then stitched together. It’s what some cruise ships or estate agents offer already, and it gives a much better sense of place than normal single images.
What’s your first point of call?
We want to capture the seat views for all the UK and Irish sports venues. Sports stadia have the quickest ticket turnover.
How are you funded?
We’re self-funded although we’ve taken a Techstart grant. The sheer scale of this is why no one has done it before.
How time-consuming is it to capture the seat views of a large venue such as the SSE Arena?
The SSE Arena in Belfast would take us four to five hours to complete with three people working on it. We’d take the views from every fifth seat or every 10th seat.
What are your long-term plans?
Along with the seat views, we can offer sponsorship deals or special offers for nearby restaurants, that kind of thing. Also, there is so much we can do with hospitality and corporate boxes. Venues are struggling to sell them – this can give them a new angle.
What does being an Invent finalist mean to you?
It has helped us focus our attention and complete business plans, which is key. It’s helped massively to be forced to answer pertinent questions about our business, posed by experienced businesspeople. The mentor access is great. We’re happy to be at this stage – but we want to win it!
By Emily McDaid, editor, TechWatch
A version of this article originally appeared on TechWatch
The annual Invent competition is run by Connect at Catalyst Inc, and aims to showcase the best and brightest innovators that Northern Ireland has to offer. Invent 2017 will take place on Thursday 5 October in Belfast, where 12 finalists will battle it out for a £33,000 prize fund and the chance to attend a Northern Ireland tech mission to California.