Is Dreweatts/Bloomsbury's Future Online?

Susan Moore interviews Stephan Ludwig for the Financial Times and discovers that Dreweatts/Bloomsbury is discovering a lot about maximizing the value of its auctions by using online bidding

Ludwig has always understood the potential of new technology, involving the company in developing live online bidding through in 2006. (Bonhams, for instance, does not offer live bidding.) “Some of our sales have online selling rates of up to 30 per cent, and bidding rates of 40 per cent,” explains Ludwig. “It is clear that a critical part of our business strategy is shifting more and more of our sales online not because it saves us money – in fact it is more expensive – but because it exposes our vendors’ chattels to a wider global audience and sales prices that are perhaps 20-30 per cent higher.” […]

Another innovation is the first ever simultaneous three-site auction, of photography, scheduled for May 19. The material gathered by Bloomsbury’s photography departments in London, New York and Rome will be distributed to the location best suited for sale – fashion and contemporary in New York, vintage and early-20th-century in London, and European contemporary in Rome. There will be one catalogue and the sale will be broadcast at all three locations using an online, live-bidding platform.

Rethinking the Crucial Middle Art Market (Financial Times)