AppSpark streamlines ticket purchase process with mobile
Mobile developer AppSpark is helping consumers skip lines at the box office with two mobile applications that let them buy mobile tickets right from their handsets.
Movies Now 2 and Movies Now HD are available for the iPhone and iPad, respectively, and give consumers access to tickets at 11,000 theater screens in the United States through MovieTickets.com’s application programming interface. The applications also include content such as movie reviews, videos and a location-based theater finder.
“This great creation stemmed from our displeasure and dissatisfaction with the Movie apps that were out in the app store,” said Kavin Bharti Mittal, founder/CEO of AppSpark, London. “We realized we could make the whole buying tickets process much more intuitive with a much better user experience.
“Another reason for developing this app was that there was no easy way to buy tickets for those theaters supported by MovieTickets.com on the go,” he said. “This eliminated a vast chunk of cinemas and screens, narrowing consumers choice to only Fandango’s affiliated theaters.
“We not only wanted to enhance consumers’ choice and convenience to buy tickets from non-Fandango affiliate theaters via MovieTickets.com but do it in a much more seamless way to enhance the whole movie going experience.”
AppSpark is an application developer that works on new and upcoming mobile platforms including the iPhone and Android. It released the first Movies Now application in 2009.
From the mobile screen to the silver screen
Consumers can download the Movies Now HD for the iPad and Movies Now 2 for the iPhone and iPad touch as a package in the Apple App store for the early-bird price of $1.99. Movies Now 2 can also be purchased separately for $0.99.
Here is a screen grab of a ticket selection page from the iPhone application:
The ticket price includes a one-dollar convenience fee split between MovieTickets.com and the movie theater.
Additionally, users can browse movie information, including reviews, photos and movie trailers.
Here is a screen grab of a movie information page within the iPad application:
The application also integrates location-based technology to find nearby theaters using Google Maps.
Here is a screen grab of the theater locator feature:
“For the iPhone we felt that there was need for a spontaneous on the go feature which the apps didn’t have,” Mr. Mittal said. “Our ‘Now’ feature solves this problem in a very smart way by showing a list of all the movies playing within the next 4 hours around one’s location by using a combination of ‘time left for a movie’ and ‘user’s distance from a cinema’ making it easy for users to choose what movie to go to next.
Monetizing and Promoting Movies Now
When monetizing the application, AppSpark decided not to integrate in-application advertising, believing that the experience would be better for users without the intrusion of third-party promotions.
“Plus, ad networks usually don’t have enough ‘relevant’ inventory to fill a 100 percent of ad impressions in our app,” Mr. Mittal said. “This leads to completely irrelevant ads being displayed in the app which are never tapped on which in-turn ends up destroying the user experience.”
AppSpark is targeting slightly different demographics with the Movies Now 2 and Movies Now HD applications.
“On the iPhone and iPod touch we are targeting those frequent, spontaneous moviegoers and on the iPad the more occasional moviegoers,” Mr. Mittal said. “The iPhone and iPad user demographic coincides quite well with the general movie-going audience.”
The application developer has been aggressive in promoting its Movies Now line of mobile applications, communicating at length with media outlets, orchestrating promotional giveaways and advertising in the mobile space.
“We’ve been in touch with many reviewers and app focused Web sites such as CNET, AppCraver, Know Your Mobile,” Mr. Mittal said. “In addition, we have been in touch with the app-focused columns on many other big publishers such as The Sunday Times and The Guardian [both based in Britain].
“We also have competitions running on multiple Web sites, including on our Twitter page,” he said. “We are giving away iTunes Gift Vouchers, DVD Box Sets, an iPad and even an iPhone 4.
“Specifically on mobile, we’ve partnered with AdColony to run in-application ads through their network to help us drive downloads.”
The mobile ad campaign will be commencing in coming weeks.
AppSpark does not yet have plans to expand its Movies Now brand to other mobile platforms.
“We’ve kept a close eye on both [Android and BlackBerry] platforms and still feel that App Store offers a much better monetization opportunity,” Mr. Mittal said. “That said, both platforms are growing fast and we expect this to change in the near future.
“We’ll launch apps on these platforms when the time is right,” he said.
Overall, AppSpark sees significant potential for growth for mobile ticketing.
“The smartphone market is booming, allowing us to develop apps with great user experiences and thus offering great potential,” Mr. Mittal said. “The idea is perfect for the market. It is extremely useful and convenient – to be capable of buying movie tickets on the go.
“We didn’t want to create a Web site, as we would be directly competing against the big guys – Movietickets.com and Fandango,” he said. “There is much more room for innovation in mobile.”