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Hamilton to discontinue tout-beating paperless ticketing strategy

Exterior of the Victoria Palace Theatre. Photo: Visitlondon.com
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The West End production of Hamilton is bringing an end to the paperless ticketing system it introduced to crack down on touting.

Producers confirmed the musical will soon revert to a more traditional operation, and will issue paper tickets to theatregoers from December.

The system was developed ahead of Hamilton’s London opening to combat online touts and “unauthorised profiteering of third-party resellers”, which producers argued had been rife when tickets first went on sale in early 2017, meaning seats were being sold at vastly inflated prices.

However, they said they now felt increased awareness and action against culprits such as Viagogo meant they could reintroduce a “more open selling operation”.

Viagogo facing contempt of court proceedings

Hamilton is produced by Cameron Mackintosh, Jeffrey Seller, Sander Jacobs, Jill Furman and the Public Theater.

In a statement, the producers said: “Two years of our campaigning along with the rest of the theatre and live music industries, the elevated awareness of this problem by government, consumer protection associations taking legal action against one site in particular, and a better-informed public, has led to the closure of two of these online retailers, a move towards compliance by a third and both public vilification of and concerted action against the fourth.”

Under the paperless system – run by Ticketmaster – audiences do not receive physical tickets, but must swipe the payment card used to purchase their seats and show proof of ID in order to gain admission.

Producers later claimed the measures had “exceeded expectations” and said they had all but eliminated ticket touting at the show.

Hamilton producers claim paperless ticketing system has ‘all but eliminated touts’

The paperless system will remain in operation for three more months, but from December 2, tickets will be posted out prior to the performance, with overseas audiences required to collect them from the box office.

The producers added: “As we approach the third year of the run, the producers of the smash hit Hamilton have decided to re-introduce a more traditional ticket selling operation at the Victoria Palace Theatre and slowly bring back third-party retailers in addition to Ticketmaster, all of whom we have worked with for many years on our other successful shows.”

They added they were “confident the West End can slowly revert to a more open selling operation to the benefit of the public”.

Online touting for theatre, music and sporting events has been put under increased scrutiny in recent years.

The issue has been debated in parliament, with major secondary ticketing sites such as StubHub, Get Me In! and Seat Wave banned from displaying misleading prices for pledging to overhaul their operations to be more transparent.

Get Me In! and Seatwave were shut down by parent company Ticketmaster last year, however a fourth site, Viagogo, is currently facing contempt of court proceedings from the Competition and Markets Authority, and has been suspended from taking out paid-for advertising on Google.

Viagogo suspended from advertising on Google

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