Companies Hawk Tickets Through Telephone, Web

Muscovites may now enjoy the convenience of purchasing tickets for theatrical performances or sports events from their homes.

Two new Russian companies are offering services for purchasing or reserving tickets for concerts, theaters, sports events, movie theaters and the circus via telephone and the web, similar to Western companies like TicketMaster in the United States.

One of the new companies, Parter, launched its services Wednesday at a press conference at the Marriott-Royal Hotel. The company will sell tickets through the company’s web site, over the telephone and at various locations throughout Moscow.

Biletik, a ticket seller that began operating earlier this month, offers an online service only and has no plans to provide telephone operators. It can only be viewed using the Microsoft Explorer web browser, although the company soon intends to make the web site available on Netscape Navigator.

Biletik’s marketing director, Katya Shapochka, said that Biletik was established at the beginning of this year by the U.S. Internet corporation, eDotRussia Corp. and the Russian music information agency Intermedia. The company received investments in June and began operating this month.

Vlad Verbin, the vice president for business development at Biletik, predicts that the company will be profitable within 10 months. He noted that the company’s success has been a surprise to its founders. "We expected initial sales to be very low," Verbin said. The company already sells "dozens of tickets a day," he said.

Both companies rely on couriers to deliver tickets and pick up cash payments.