Wednesday, March 02, 2005

They have movies on the internet?!

2 Websites Add Movie Ticket Sales
go to original article ... or email me for article text

I was initially going to comment on this aspect of the following article
"'There's no question it's got to be inhibited by the fact that you have to go to three places to be able to buy tickets for every theater in your neighborhood,' Card said."
which is actually a rather tired problem that neither partnership (Google's or Amazon's) seems to solve. The article, unfortunately, missed the point of Google's Movie offering which is not, primarily about partnering with an online ticketing venture, but about allowing people easy access to movies on the web. I have been interested in seeing Google do this for a while, but was never really sure how it work with so much rich information already on IMDB. The flexibility of the search and relationship to other web resources is going to be Google Movies' strength, and hopefully a healthy integration with IMDB will result (as with all Google search products).

However, I found this line of the article, the most interesting insight:
"But heading to the movies is often a last-minute decision, which means consumers are less likely to use the Web for buying movie tickets than they are to buy seats for sporting events or music concerts, Jupiter Research analyst David Card said. "
Sure these are only the words of a professional analyst, but they confirm what my intuition would have me believe. Based on my own moviegoing habits (which are dicated by the price and flexibility of movies) I do feel like most people go to the movies as a last minute decision. Now there is a question of whether this is a set property of theatergoing.

Is it good that people assume this flexibility? Should ticket marketing harness this more effectively? Or would the box office benefit from changing the way people think about movies, and make them less flexible? And does online ticketing have a role in this?

Something like the little theater "Studio Galande" that I just visited in Paris, shows a different movie at every time slot and forces people to the shows at the times they specify. And the people came. And it got me excited about my show. And it helped me narrow down some of the choice I had to make in deciding which film to watch without eliminating my _choice_ of movies.

In any event, I find that the "last minute" nature of movie going is one of its most defining and enigmatic features. I also believe that understanding it fully is the key to the social dynamic supports the emotional connection to the movies. It's behind everything from why online ticketing doesn't currently work to why Multiplexes succeed over single screen palaces.


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