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Comedian Louis C.K. made headlines in June when he announced tickets for his fall stand-up tour would be sold exclusively through his website. Rolling Stone speculated that the artist-controlled model might offer a new way of doing business for traveling entertainers of all stripes. But Travis Janovich, the founder and CEO of Morrisville-based Etix.com Inc. — the ticket platform C.K. uses to process sales — isn’t so sure the comedian’s gambit signals a sea change. Most of Etix’s more than 4,100 clients are performance venues, festivals and fairs. “Promoters still provide a ton of value,” Janovich says. “It takes something really special, someone really powerful in the social-media realm, like a Louis C.K., to even have a chance at working. It’s not very realistic that a band is going to go sell their own tickets for their own tour.”
Janovich, 39, launched Etix.com in 2000 before broadband connections became the norm, pitching his idea for Web-based ticketing to smaller venues by adding innovation: “We were the first people to do print-at-home ticketing.” Now it’s focusing on helping venues and promoters connect directly with fans, investing millions in digital tools, such as customized mobile apps, email marketing and websites with social media integrated into them. The new models have fueled growth — an average of 30% of revenue annually, Janovich says — reaching about $20 million last year. It sells more than 50 million tickets yearly in more than 40 countries and employs 85.
Janovich says the business model is shifting to give customers control over their own marketing data instead of relying on a “middleman,” such as the ticketing giant Ticketmaster.com, a subsidiary of Beverly Hills, Calif.-based Live Nation Worldwide Inc. He rejects the notion that his company is a middleman — even though it earns much of its revenue from fees collected through ticket sales — because of the control it gives acts and venues. “It’s your brand, it’s your fan’s experience with your brand that will keep them coming back.”
“MyBillJohnsonStory.com is not a forum to vilify Rogers or the Duke board of directors. They have embarrassed themselves quite enough.”
— Message from a website created to show support for the former CEO of Raleigh-based Progress Energy Inc. and, briefly, Charlotte-based Duke Energy Corp., who was ousted the day the utilities merged in July.
DURHAM — N.C. Central University Chancellor Charlie Nelms retired. Charles Becton, a law professor and former N.C. Court of Appeals judge, is serving as interim chancellor.
DURHAM — Drug developer Chimerix signed a licensing deal with Whitehouse, N.J.-based pharmaceutical company Merck for an experimental HIV treatment. Chimerix will receive a $17.5 million upfront payment and can earn up to $151 million in milestone payments, as well as royalties from sales. In exchange, Merck receives the drug’s worldwide license and will handle development and commercialization.
DURHAM — Advertising agency McKinney was acquired by South Korea-based Cheil Worldwide, a global marketing and communications company, for an undisclosed amount. McKinney will maintain its headquarters, name and leadership.
CARY — Software provider SciQuest acquired Canada-based Upside Software for $22 million. Upside’s products include contract management and negotiation technology.
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK — Data manager NetApp will expand its local operations with a new research-and-development center. The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company will invest $75 million and add 460 workers to its more than 1,400 here within four years. Average annual salary will be $100,000, higher than Wake County’s $45,396.
CHAPEL HILL — UNC Chapel Hill’s Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise named chemistry professor Joseph DeSimone director. DeSimone has more than 130 patents and is the founder of Research Triangle Park-based Liquidia Technologies, which recently signed a licensing deal with British pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline. The institute is part of UNC’s business school and conducts research and recommends policy in entrepreneurship, economic development and global competitiveness.