Fandango Launches Barcoded Mobile Movie Tickets Concept
by Alex Billington
March 16, 2010
This week I'm in Las Vegas attending the ShoWest convention for theater owners and exhibitors. The show has a focus on all things movie theaters and is occasionally a launching ground for cool new concepts related to moviegoing. Fandango have just launched a new style of online movie ticketing that uses barcodes and digital tickets on your mobile device. Remember when "print at home" tickets were a big innovation? This is the next step, allowing moviegoers to simply buy tickets and show a barcode at theaters to get in, instead of printing anything. Sounds like a cool idea and I'd love to see this at all of my local theaters, too. Read on!
"We know that Mobile Ticket will be one more Fandango convenience that moviegoers will enjoy. Our cell phones are with us all the time – so what better way to ensure you have your movie ticket?" Fandango's COO Rick Butler said. The company rolling out their new "Mobile Ticket" program in Reading Cinemas theaters found in 8 cities around the country, with more to come, including: New York, New Jersey, Houston, Dallas, San Diego, Bakersfield, Sonoma County, and Hawaii. You can find a full list of theaters on TechCrunch. For those curious, competitor MovieTickets.com (who reps the other half of most theaters) is also developing a similar concept (Film Journal - January, 2010). The photo above came attached to Fandango's press release.
As simple, smart, and innovative as this sounds, I have a feeling movie theater chains will be slow to adopt the technology, but at least Fandango (who already has partnerships with the big movie theater chains) can pressure them into implementing this. However, theaters would need to purchase barcode scanners and the minimum wage ticket-rippers will need to be more demanding about showing tickets, or phones. Fandango says the "benefit is that moviegoers can simply take their mobile phones straight to theater ticket-takers… allowing customers to bypass the box office windows and kiosks." So no more waiting in any lines, I guess?
One of the coolest technology-related experiences I've ever had was checking in and boarding an American Airlines flight using nothing but a virtual version of my plane ticket displayed on my iPhone. Remarkably, the airport security even had a barcode scanner for the phone that they used. Not only is it extremely easy to pull up a ticket on the phone and manage (and you can't really lose a ticket like that), it's healthier for the environment since no one is wasting paper printing tickets (either at home or at the theater). I fully support this idea and I hope it's successful enough at the movie theaters it's currently implemented in to eventually expand nationwide. Is anyone else looking forward to using these Mobile Tickets from now on?