Against the background of the market's troubled times, another set of Internet companies has decided it's better to join 'em than to beat 'em.
AOL Time Warner's
announced a multiyear agreement Wednesday that will make the
ticketing service available to users of Ticketmaster's network of
local Web guides, and will create an area in AOL where members can buy concert, sports and other live-event tickets via Ticketmaster.
In another part of the agreement, Ticketmaster's
paid personals service will go on AOL properties alongside AOL's free, competing
Separately, AOL has combined forces with privately held
in a deal that AOL says will enable online visitors to AOL Moviefone to buy tickets for 85% of movie screens that offer Internet ticketing, up from about 45% previously.
The deals -- in the wake of
pending acquisition of
-- illustrate how rival Internet companies are finding ways to do business with one another, after years of competition. And it also shows how Internet companies are trying to weave themselves into the spending habits of online consumers, an effort that's particularly relevant to AOL rival
In Wednesday trading, AOL Time Warner fell 95 cents, or 2.5%, to $37.84, and Ticketmaster, formed recently from the merger of
Ticketmaster subsidiary, rose 44 cents, or 5.6%, to $8.25.
Certainly, bad blood goes way back between Moviefone, which dominates electronic ticketing of movies, and Ticketmaster, which dominates the live-event market. In 1995, Moviefone filed an antitrust complaint against Ticketmaster, and in 1997 Moviefone announced it had won $22.7 million in an arbitration hearing from a third company arising from a business dispute between Moviefone and Ticketmaster. AOL acquired Moviefone in 1999.
"This joint initiative marks the first time America Online and Ticketmaster have worked together, and we believe it represents a new era for the areas in which we will collaborate," Ticketmaster CEO John Pleasants said in a statement.
AOL Moviefone head Tommy McGloin says that AOL -- which also operates
guides in competition with Citysearch -- has wanted to do a deal with Ticketmaster for years. He attributes Wednesday's agreement to "just good solid dialogue between the two parties -- less on posturing and more on consumer benefits and mutual business benefits."
He said the deal, which will enable event ticketing on Digital City, create a new
AOL Box Office By Ticketmaster
and enable movie ticketing on Citysearch, represents "kind of a tradeoff" between the competing local properties.
The companies didn't disclose financial details related to the transaction.