They've still got their Mojo working

20th July 2006, Comments 0 comments

20 July 2006, AMSTERDAM – Mojo Concerts, the biggest concert organiser in the Netherlands, was not guilty of playing against competition rules, the Dutch competition authority, NMa announced on Thursday.

20 July 2006

AMSTERDAM – Mojo Concerts, the biggest concert organiser in the Netherlands, was not guilty of playing against competition rules, the Dutch competition authority, NMa announced on Thursday.

The concert organizer did not enjoy a ‘Mojopolie' on the market, the competition authority said. Other investigations of ticket sellers Ticket Service and Ticketbox were also halted. The NMa said that it expected more companies to become active in the concert and ticket sectors.

"It could soon be unnecessary to spend the night sleeping outside a ticket sales point to get hold of a ticket,” said René Jansen, a member of the NMa’s board. "New ways [of distribution], such as e-ticketing, could make all the difference."

NMa has been investigating Mojo’s operation for the last two years. Mojo organizes large-scale events like the North Sea Jazz and Lowlands, as well as concerts by famous performers like the Rolling Stones, Robbie Williams and Madonna.

The NMa first raided Mojo’s offices in Delft in February 2004. "The raid took place after reports in the media and complaints from parties in the field that Mojo was abusing its monopoly position in the market," an NMa spokeswoman said. She added that her organisation had had a “reasonable suspicion” that Mojo had broken competition rules.

No evidence was found in Mojo documents and computer files that the organisation had been breaking the rules. However it emerged that Mojo had struck exclusivity agreements with a number of venues, including the Gelredome and the Amsterdam ArenA.

Other Dutch concert organisers reacted cautiously on hearing the news. "We note the decision, but we have no comment to make," said Bas Meijer of ID&T. Global Music Entertainment, owned by former football player Winston Bogarde said that it was happy with the decision. “Mojo’s monopoly is diminishing. Competition is always good, not only for us but every organisation in the sector."

Mojo Concerts first started organizing concerts in 1968. It says that it is responsible for 95% of all English-language pop concerts in the Netherlands. The organisation, which was recently bought by international entertainment company Clear Channel, arranges about 200 concerts a year.

The NMa’s decision would not result in more competition in the concert sector, said director Dick van Zuylen, but he was pleased that the competition watchdog had not found any "bad things" at the company. "The NMa is presenting this as if its recent actions will result in more competition. I predict that nothing will change in practice.”

He admitted that his organisation’s exclusivity agreements with some venues might have had a “competition-inhibiting” effect in theory. “But we never made use of these agreements, and we had already stopped including them in new contracts. We didn’t need the NMa for that. The venues will also find it less than pleasant not to have guaranteed bookings.”

He said that the NMa’s two-year long investigation had cost his company a lot time and money, especially the fees of lawyers and economists. "It cost us nearly one million euros, I think. And we had to fight a lot of preconceptions during that time. But there’s no point in making a claim for damages. I’m happy that it’s all behind us."

Van Zuylen also admitted that his company enjoyed a lot of the pop pie in the Netherlands, and even more so now because it is owned by an international entertainment company. "But nothing prevents a newcomer from doing the same work. Next weekend, for instance, there’s a big concert with Jamie Cullum in the Zuiderpark in The Hague, organised by another company (The Alternative)."

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]

Subject: Dutch news

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