Feld Entertainment, Inc. Company Profile
A lot of clowning around has helped Feld Entertainment become one of the largest live entertainment producers in the world. The company entertains people through its centerpiece, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, which visits about 90 cities in North America each year. Through a partnership with Walt Disney, Feld also produces touring Disney On Ice shows, such as Treasure Trove. In addition, its Disney Live! produces live Disney-themed touring stage productions. Chairman and CEO Kenneth Feld, whose father, Irvin, began managing the circus in 1956, owns the company and personally oversees most of its productions. Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus made its first performance in 1871.
Live Nation Entertainment, Inc. Company Profile
Live Nation Entertainment holds center stage as the world's largest ticket seller and promoter of live entertainment. In 2010 the company significantly expanded its ticketing services with the purchase of Ticketmaster Entertainment. The deal, worth some $889 million, created a powerful live-music conglomerate. The firm also owns or operates about 300 venues in North America and Europe. Annually, about 250 million people attend some 180,000 Live Nation events. Live Nation also owns House of Blues venues through HOB Entertainment and dozens of prestigious concert halls. In addition, Live Nation owns a stake in about 250 artists' music, including albums, tours, and merchandise.
Cirque's success has spawned imitators, many of them from the troupe's own ranks. Former Cirque executive Normand Latourelle is touring the U.S. with an equestrian-themed show called Cavalia. Longtime Cirque director Franco Dragone will open a Cirque-like water show in April at the new Wynn resort down the strip. Even so, "they're very clever business people," says Paul Binder, founder of the nonprofit Big Apple Circus, which will put on its show in nine cities next year. "It makes it very difficult for those of us who have limited budgets to compete."
All of which explains why Laliberté and MGM spend lavishly to keep the audience wowed and competitors trying to play catch-up. In 2006 the pair will launch a $140 million Beatles tribute show at the Mirage casino in Las Vegas, done with the permission of Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono, and George Harrison's widow, Olivia. The Fab Four's legendary producer, George Martin, is part of the creative team. "We're constantly challenging ourselves," Laliberté says. "The entertainment business is a big jungle and we have to stay alert."
"They're a moving target for competitors," says W. Chan Kim, a professor at France's INSEAD business school who has written about Cirque. Marvels Kenneth Feld, owner of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus: "If you think about spending $165 million on a show that seats 1,900 people, the economics are just staggering." It's enough to take even an acrobat's breath away. By Christopher Palmeri in Las Vegas
Cirque’s global roster of shows is getting increasingly expensive, with each one costing as much as $25-million to develop. The layoffs at head office in Montreal will help trim those costs and, the company says, make sure that as many of its resources as possible go to the creative process and the spectacle on stage.
The breakneck expansion of recent years was a key strategy of chief executive officer Daniel Lamarre, who joined the company in 2001. About five years ago he tripled the number of new productions to three a year.
That move now seems to have backfired, with the company unable to keep up the pace of operating multiple shows on multiple continents.
There are more and more choices for potential audiences, including a multitude of electronic diversions. Add that to the moribund global economy and it is harder than ever to pack a theatre. There is also increasing competition, even on the circus front.