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Disney, Lionsgate think future-first with mobile ticketing app investment

The Walt Disney Company and Lionsgate are two of the studios making a hefty investment in mobile application Atom Tickets, proving that the potency of smartphone-enabled ticketing will continue to skyrocket this year.

The Atom Tickets app is a mobile destination enabling film enthusiasts to purchase movie tickets and concessions, skip lines at their local theater and invite friends to showings via their smartphones. The platform has just completed a Series B round of funding from Lionsgate, 20th Century Fox and Disney, underscoring the studios’ long-term dedication to driving ticket sales on mobile.

“We’re thrilled to partner with some of the most forward-thinking media companies, exhibitors and trailblazers in the entertainment business,” said Matthew Bakal, co-founder and executive chairman of Atom Tickets. “By bringing convenience to consumers and innovation to theaters, we will enhance the movie-going experience and bring additional revenue to studios and exhibitors.”

Trailblazing in entertainment
The three brands partnered up to drop a combined $50 million investment in the app, which is currently available in test markets and will have a more widespread rollout later this year. Disney believes that Atom Tickets will disperse innovation across the ticketing market by bringing convenience and seamlessness to the user experience.

In addition to marketing itself as a movie companion for consumers, Atom Tickets will help provide studios with invaluable data regarding customer behavior and concession sales. The app reportedly taps into data analysis, matching movie-goers up with specific films that may be of interest to them, a first for the industry.

Users will be able to pre-purchase movie tickets and snacks, invite friends to theater outings and skip long lines. Tickets will be available in the form of scannable QR codes on consumers’ smartphones, eliminating individuals’ concerns about misplacing or losing printed tickets.

The QR codes also work at the concession stand, meaning that customers will be able to circumvent big crowds and quickly grab their purchased snacks, allowing them to arrive at their seats more quickly.

Atom Tickets also offers trailers, synopses and reviews for consumers still pondering which film to see.

The app’s social aspect was likely a big draw for the investors. While several other mobile ticketing platforms have found their way onto consumers’ personal devices, giving individuals the ability to peruse local showings and reserve seats, they do not offer a feature allowing users to organize nights out with friends.

Atom Tickets enables consumers to add several friends to a dedicated group for a movie showing – without making the organizer pay on behalf of all attendees.

This integration with film fans’ social networks will help set the app apart from its competitors, who also have been making a strong push for sales.

In the fall, film studio 20th Century Fox dropped consumers into the middle of the storyline of its hit film, The Martian, through a mobile gaming app that integrated with mobile ticketing and reflected the growth of mcommerce for entertainment platforms (see story).

NBCUniversal’s Fandango also expanded its digital presence and brought one of Brazil’s largest online movie ticketing services to its mobile application to gain greater traction within the Latin America film market (see story).

Foreshadowing dynamic pricing
Atom Tickets also has the potential to foray into the field of dynamic ticket pricing, which would help theaters sell last-minute seats for unsold places. This tool could revolutionize the film industry and slip millions of dollars into studios’ pockets.

It could also prompt other ticketing platforms to raise the bar with their selling techniques.

“Our innovative ecommerce platform utilizes cutting edge data analysis and targeting techniques to help connect movie-goers to films that they and their friends will love,” said Ameesh Paleja, co-founder and CEO of Atom Tickets.