When Live Nation (then SFX) began the rollup of disparate and often warring independent promoters to form a concert promotion behemoth, many in the industry thought it was doomed to failure. But under the management of CEO Michael Rapino, Live Nation has proven the doubters (including myself) wrong while expanding its global reach.
Live Nation Entertainment investors were likely pleased after the company reported positive financial results for the 4th quarter and fiscal year 2016. For the year, Live Nation reported that revenue was up 15%, operating income was up 48%, and free cash flow was up 5%, and AOI was up 12% at constant currency.
For the year, Live Nation saw its concert business top 5.8 billion in revenue, up by 18% from the previous year. At the same time, they reported adjusted operating income for the unit of 138.9 million, up by 126% from 2015.
Sponsorship and advertising revenue improved by 13% to $377.6 million for the year, and the division reported AOI of $247.6 million, an increase of 8% over 2015.
However, Live Nation's artist management unit Artist Nation continues to weigh on the company's performance and posted a 3% decline as revenue slipped to $421.7 for the year while AOI dropped precipitously to $10.3 million, down by 69% from 2015.
In total, Live Nation produced more than 750 additional concerts in 2016, staging 26,262 events around the world in front of 71 million fans. Ticketmaster added about 100,000 tickets sold over 2015, with Live Nation reporting aggregate ticket sales of 483,700,000 in 2016.
"We continue to see the tremendous power of live events, with strong global consumer demand. Live is a truly unique entertainment form - it cannot be duplicated. It is elevated, not threatened, by technology and is borderless. Fans around the world can now discover, follow, share and embrace artists, creating greater demand for live shows. We believe the live business will continue to have strong growth for years to come as fans globally drive demand, artists are motivated to tour, and technology drives conversion," Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino said in the company's financial report.