COUNCIL bosses agreed to spend £53,000 replacing the ticketing system at King Georges Hall and Darwen Library Theatre.

And Blackburn with Darwen Council has entered into a contract with a new supplier to handle online ticket sales.

The environment and leisure directorate currently use Ticketmaster as their booking agent for both venues.

But the current situation only allows them to insert a booking fee on tickets not sold online, given that all online sales are sold by Ticketmaster and it is they who insert the booking fee.

An opportunity to bring in extra cash if the council was able to add booking fees to all tickets sold was identified.

Now the council has appointed a new firm to run the system, allowing the council to charge booking fees and increase revenue.

Director of digital and business change, Paul Fleming, along with director of environment and operations, Martin Eden, approved the plan using delegated powers.

The new ticketing solution will allow the council full control over ticket sales and eligibility to insert booking fees as well as being able to manage their own data and produce all subsequent reports.

Mr Fleming said said: "The department are currently unable to generate additional revenue income whilst utilising the existing system.

"The new system will allow booking fees to be charged.

"Currently Ticketmaster control storage of our data and are increasingly reluctant to provide data at our request which impacts how and who we directly target marketing for our events.

"There is no current automated provision of reporting within the existing system and manual intervention is required.

"Postcode retrieval functionality has failed within the existing system which is increasing the time to make a sale and impacts on accuracy of customer data.

"The operating system we use for over the counter sales deletes our data within three months, this has time-consuming implications for the programming and marketing teams and restricts the way we record information about and contact our customers.

"With the new system processes can be streamlined and there us potential to do the same with the event management system generating efficiencies."

Mr Fleming added: "Previous approval was granted to proceed with procurement and for the inclusion of the scheme in the capital programme based on soft market testing with suppliers.

"The winning bidder in the procurement exercise provided a solution which was more reliant on capital expenditure with a lower ongoing revenue cost. "This, however, provided a cheaper total cost of ownership over the duration of the contract."