ARCHIVES: This is legacy content from before Industry Dive acquired Mobile Commerce Daily in early 2017. Some information, such as publication dates, may not have migrated over. Check out our topic page for the latest mobile commerce news.

Regal Cinemas reels in sales via social-enabled mobile ticketing

Regal Entertainment Group is the latest movie theater chain to adopt digital ticketing by teaming up with mobile application Atom Tickets, which enables consumers to send invitations to friends via social media, pre-order concessions and purchase advance tickets.

The Atom Tickets app, which was introduced to select Regal Cinemas markets in the United States earlier this year, is expected to support more than 7,300 screens by the end of 2016. Atom Tickets’ platform differs from other mobile ticketing apps in that it includes heavy social media-enabled features, such as the ability to send movie invitations to friends, a feature that could garner the company additional partnerships with major theater chains.

“Our goal is to make the moviegoing experience a more social and convenient one by allowing consumers to pre-order tickets and concessions, easily invite friends to the movies (without having to pay for them) and skip the lines at the theater,” said Matthew Bakal, co-founder and executive chairman of Atom Tickets. “We’re excited to bring our cutting-edge technology nationwide to Regal Cinemas and AMC Theatres.”

Driving up attendance
Regal Cinemas’ new partnership will help the brand better engage consumers and fuel attendance rates by tapping Atom Tickets’ mobile features. These include the ability to send a movie invitation to friends by connecting to the app through a social media account.

Therefore, if consumers want to plan a moviegoing outing but are hesitant to start a new group message or text all of their friends, they may instead select an available movie time at their local theater and promptly send a group invite to multiple people.

This social-first feature is likely to resonate with digitally savvy individuals wanting to plan a group trip to the cinema.

Additionally, Atom Tickets users can purchase food and beverages, such as popcorn and soda, prior to arriving at the concession stand, enabling them to save even more time at the theater. This feature could be especially useful for theaters that do not offer assigned seating and require consumers to arrive earlier to snag the best seats.

Atom Tickets also provides movie recommendations, a tool well-poised to boost sales by alerting consumers of new releases of which they may not have been aware.

Regal Cinemas’ customers will be able to integrate their Crown Club loyalty memberships into the Atom Tickets app, so that they can continue earning rewards.

Consumers who have purchased their movie tickets ahead of time will be able to enter the theater by scanning their unique in-app QR code at tablet devices near the concession and usher stands.

Modernizing ticketing
The ticketing sector has been undergoing a massive revamp as of late, likely prompted in part due to consumers’ growing frustration with easily displaceable paper tickets.

This past February, the Walt Disney Company and Lionsgate were two of the studios making a hefty investment in Atom Tickets, proving that the potency of smartphone-enabled ticketing will continue to skyrocket this year (see story).

However, Atom Tickets is not the only platform making considerable strides in this respect.

In a move to make mobile movie tickets available at more theaters, Fandango is also 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 (see story).

Mobile ticketing is likely to continue gaining traction as the year progresses, especially among consumers who enjoy making impulse purchases for movie tickets.

“Consumers engage on their mobile devices for both work and play, so it makes sense to bring the movie ticketing and concessions experience to this platform,” Mr. Bakal said. “Making the experience more social and convenient results in greater engagement and attendance, which is a winning strategy for all consumers.

“In China, digital ticketing already represents 80-plus percent of the movie ticket market; we think that the U.S. market will move strongly in this direction in the next few years.”