Sunday, February 06, 2005

Home boxoffices starting to click

Home boxoffices starting to click: "The first nickelodeon designed for screening motion pictures was rolled out 100 years ago, and the process by which most folks buy movie tickets hasn't evolved much since."

This is, at the same time, disturbingly true, yet indicative of how effective the natural solution tends to be.

But the problem is more complicated now (with new factors to consider such as planning which films to show at multiplexes, what order to sell tickets in given the different start times of shows, popularity of shows and the distance people come to go to the movies) and necessitates a more complicated solution.

I've never been to a print-your-ticket-at-home theater, but I have been to concerts and basketball games with tickets I've printed on my own. The experience of not having to wait in line is priceless, but it removes an element of flexibility and choice that's not an issue with bigger ticketmaster like events, but that I'd be hesitant to give up when going to the movies.

"Mitch Rubenstein, co-CEO of, Fandango's chief rival, said that some exhibitors would rather skip print-at-home technology and jump right to the next phase: smart cards, or something akin to a Mobil Speedpass, which lets customers point a gadget at a gas pump and fuel up, with the purchase going straight to a previously determined credit card. Rubenstein said such a method for purchasing movie tickets is about 18 months away."

It's certainly an exciting prospect, but I'm not sure I see it. Something like this faces problems of standardization among theaters, but more importantly whether people will feel comfortable buying into a technological solution such as this. It might be a good disruptive technology, but I think the uses are just too limited for it to ever really work. Otherwise we'd have devices like this to have replaced our wallets years ago.

It appears the MovieTickets is the underdog in this online ticketing fight. As such, I wouldn't be surprised if it was the one that took the boldest steps (and possibly ill advised ones) in order to gain ground and potentially distance it's niche from fandango.

I didn't really see the stage set for booming as the site the linked me here would have indicated. Really just incremental steps from an obvious market.


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