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Fandango expands reach of mobile tickets with scanner-free, swipeable option

In a move to make mobile movie tickets available at more theaters, Fandango is eliminating the need for scanning with a new format that asks moviegoers to swipe an unduplicatable ticket image on their phone to gain entrance to a film.

Following the closing of Fandango’s acquisition of Flixster and Rotten Tomatoes on April 1, the company has also expanded its ecommerce network to include ticketing on both platforms. As Fandango’s overall business grows, the company is focused on mobile innovations to meet the needs of the 70 percent of its customers who discover movies and purchase tickets via their smartphones.

“The feedback has been very positive for our new mobile ticket that allows customers to use their phones as their ticket media at any theater – whether the theater has a scanner or not,” said Kevin Shepela, senior vice president at Fandango. “Historically you could only use your phone if a theater had a scanner to scan a QR code; we’re breaking past that limitation.

“We want to make it easy for the movie theater owner to choose which system he or she prefers – it could be with a scanner or without a scanner,” he said. “Whatever helps us collaboratively remove friction for customers, so they can redeem their tickets on their phones, as 70 percent of our combined users are discovering movies and buying tickets on mobile devices.”

At the movies
Fandango’s new mobile ticket technology enables consumers to simply show theater staffers an unduplicatable ticket image on their mobile phones, thereby eliminating the need for QR codes and bar code scanners. It is being introduced at Carmike Cinemas, Frank Theatres, Paragon Theaters, Reading Cinemas and the TCL Chinese Theatres in Hollywood, which together serve more than 3,500 screens in the United States.

Fandango reports that, overall, movie ticket sales have increased 63 percent in the first quarter of 2016, following on 81 percent growth in its ticketing business in 2015.

The deal for Flixster and Rotten Tomatoes adds 20 million monthly users – for a combined company total of 63 million – and more than 100 million app downloads.

A scannable Fandango ticket

Super tickets
Looking ahead, Fandango has plans to further innovate tickets following its acquisition of premium on-demand video service, M-Go, which was rebranded in March as FandangoNow.

With this new capability, Fandango plans to create “super tickets” that could provide moviegoers with an opportunity to attend special screenings, pre-order digital downloads of movies in theaters or catch up at home with previous franchise installments before going to the cinema to see the newest release.

The new, scanner-free mobile ticket

“Some theater owners may feel that the installation or maintenance of mobile ticket scanning equipment is too costly or too big an issue to deal with operationally,” Mr. Shepela said. “The scanner-free ticket offers an easy solution for exhibitors that enables film fans to show their self-authenticating tickets on their phone screens.

“It’s easy to use,” he said. “Moviegoers simply redeem their tickets via an unduplicatable image on their mobile devices.

“Fans swipe left to ‘rip their tickets’ in front of the theater staffer, speeding up the process of getting inside the auditorium or to the concession stand.”