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Fandango expands mobile commerce reach to Windows Phone 7

Movie ticketing giant Fandango continues to expand its reach with a commerce-enabled application for Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7, and it expects mobile ticket sales to boom during the holidays.

In addition, Fandango is seeing higher percentages of sales via mobile for blockbusters such as “Avatar” and “Inception,” where mobile commerce accounted for around 10 percent of total sales. The Windows Phone 7 application is the next logical step in its strategy of covering all of its mobile bases.

“We want to be on every meaningful platform that moviegoers use, but we design different apps for every platform—it’s never a case of one-size-fits-all,” said Darren Cross, head of business development for Fandango, Los Angeles. “We always try to take advantage of the form factor and a device’s specific features. 

“The holiday season is a peak time for moviegoing, and we’ve created a compelling, highly-rated relevant app for Windows Phone 7 in a category that users care about,” he said.

Fandango for Windows Phone 7 is currently listed among Microsoft’s “Apps for the Holidays” and it is among the Top 20 most downloaded applications and the No. 11 most highly-rated application on WP7.

Fandango, a subsidiary of Comcast, also has applications for Apple’s iPhone, Google’s Android, Research In Motion’s BlackBerry and HP’s Palm webOS.

Mobile movie ticketing boom
Fandango has already experienced an uptick in its mobile commerce revenue, and it expects consumers to increasingly make last-minute impulse buys via mobile, especially during the hectic holiday season.

Mr. Cross said that Fandango provides a valuable service to moviegoers, where they can find everything they need in one place: critics reviews, fan reviews and exclusive clips and trailers on the applications, theater information, maps, showtimes and ticketing to more than 16,000 screens nationwide. 

“More and more consumers are accessing the Internet and commerce through their mobile devices and we’re seeing that play out in our space as well,” Mr. Cross said.

“Ever since we first launched our WAP site back in 2005, we found that mobile opened up an additional audience of ticket-buyers for Fandango, some of whom didn’t want to commit to the purchase until just before the show started,” he said.

“Harry Potter and the Deathy Hallows, Part 1” was another recent success for Fandango’s mobile commerce platforms.

With more than 3,000 showtimes sold out on opening night, Harry Potter fans were standing in front of theaters with their mobile devices looking for alternate showtimes and buying tickets in advance.

As a result, a healthy percentage of Fandango’s Harry Potter tickets were sold on mobile devices.

Mr. Cross also has high hopes for ticket sales via Fandango’s mobile platforms from Thanksgiving weekend and Cyber Monday to New Year’s Day and beyond.

“The holiday season is already off to a great start with Harry Potter 7 selling more tickets via our mobile apps on iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Palm and Windows Phone 7 than we’ve seen for any other picture this year,” Mr. Cross said.

“It also represents the best tickets sales we’ve seen for any one movie via mobile ticketing,” he said. “Mobile ticket sales may be soaring over the holidays moviegoers find themselves sold out in front of the box office and search for alternative showtimes and theaters.”

Fandango believes that the outlook for mobile commerce in 2011 is quite rosy.

“As the top movie ticketing app, our mobile ticket sales are increasingly exponentially each quarter,” Mr. Cross said. “We think mcommerce will continue to increase in 2011, as more folks get smart phones and get comfortable with making transactions on their mobile devices.”

Final Take
Dan Butcher, associate editor, Mobile Commerce Daily