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Fandango mobile commerce strategy aims for ubiquity

Movie ticket vendor Fandango is continuing to extend its reach, with four versions of its smartphone application and a mobile commerce Web site.

Fandango has just launched its movie information, showtimes and ticketing application for Research In Motion’s BlackBerry and Google’s Android smartphones. The company already had a mobile commerce Web site and applications for Apple’s iPhone and Palm’s WebOS.

“We are platform-agnostic, and our goal is ubiquity—we think a mobile Web user is a mobile Web user,” said Darren Cross, director of strategy and business development at Fandango, Los Angeles. “Whether you want to reach on an iPhone, a BlackBerry, a Palm Pre or an Android device, it should be the same type of experience, and it shouldn’t matter if you’re coming from AT&T or Verizon.

“If you sit down at a computer, you don’t think about how to reach a site and what the experience will be, and mobile should be the same way,” he said. “We’ve been at the forefront of mobile commerce, and we’d like to continue to be that way.”

Fandango offers the ability to select a film, plan where and when to see it and buy tickets in advance. The company, a unit of Comcast Interactive Media, has a mobile Web site at

Mobile movie ticket sales
The Fandango application lets moviegoers find movies and showtimes, watch trailers, locate theaters, view fan ratings and buy tickets.

Movie fans can find movies playing nearby using their device’s GPS feature, or they can browse films under the Opening This Week, Top Box Office and Coming Soon listings.

Additionally, moviegoers can add theaters to a Favorites list for faster searching and connect with a mapping service such as BlackBerry Maps or Google Maps for driving directions.

Consumers can buy tickets for more than 16,000 movie screens. Fandango claims that its application features more screens than any other application.

All of these functions can be performed without leaving the application.

Users can sign into their Fandango account to buy tickets with their credit card stored online or store and save credit card information directly to their device.

The Fandango application is available for free from Fandango, GetJar and Handango, as well as Apple’s App Store, Google’s Android Market, Research In Motion’s BlackBerry App World and Palm’s App Catalog.

Fandango is currently hosting an exclusive offer for fans, where they can receive a free BlackBerry smartphone.

Fandango is sending out some platform-specific messaging to promote each of the four applications, but on its wired and mobile sites it is promoting one mobile property asking consumers to pick their device within that experience.

While there are advertising elements to promote the applications in progress, nothing had rolled out as of press time.

Fandango is exploring partnership opportunities with handset manufacturers and carriers, and it is working with third-party application stores GetJar and Handango to help distribute the application.

Mr. Cross said that he is bullish about the prospects for mobile commerce in 2010.

“We’ve been very successful—I believe on Avatar’s opening weekend, almost 10 percent of all ticket sales were via mobile,” Mr. Cross said. “By the time you see the next blockbuster, say, Iron Man 2, a betting man wouldn’t say it would do worse.

“Now we’re adding these two new apps, and we’ve seen great uptake so far already, particularly the iPhone app,” he said. “Mobile is a very important platform for us now—we’re very focused on emerging platforms in general and mobile in particular.

“We’re adding users to mobile, and also to our online site, and we’re seeing crossover of people moving from one screen to another depending on where they are.”