Industry comment

Cinema ticketing on mobile – comment from Textlocal

Sandra Vogel
Written by Sandra Vogel

Our focus on cinema ticketing and mobile has generated a number of responses. This is what Textlocal Managing Director Jason Palgrave Jones MD told us. 

MobileIndustry: What are the barriers to serious uptake of cinema ticketing on mobiles?

Jason Palgrave Jones:  The major barriers for serious uptake of cinema ticketing on mobiles are unresponsive websites, lack of use of cinema apps and particularly the lack of effective offer and redemption strategies by cinema operators.

The idea that has had the biggest impact on cinema in recent years is Orange Wednesdays. The campaign used SMS brilliantly to get people into the cinemas, but that said, people still had to queue to get their ticket.

However, technology now exists that enables providers to issue tickets via SMS with redemption options linking to native apps like Passbook on iPhone which can be integrated at EPoS. This is widely used by airlines who use it to send boarding passes. Cinemas are in the large part trying to move customers away from counter purchasing, to buying online – but there is an opportunity to move this fully onto mobile for connected customers through the combination of apps, responsive websites and SMS ticketing and redemption.

MobileIndustry: Is it a marketing issue, a technology issue, an issue of the will of cinema chains to engage with mobiles as anything more than a medium for watching trailers, or something else?

Jason Palgrave Jones:  This isn’t a technology issue – it’s an issue of knowing how to combine technologies to deliver a seamless customer experience and finding a partner who can provide the infrastructure to deliver it.

But beyond that, it is possibly more of a service issue. Cinema customers want to be able to buy tickets in their own way, and will often be resentful of online or mobile, if for example, they would prefer to buy at the counter. As such there may be a perceived wariness of using the technology in case it alienates more traditional customers. Beyond this users heavily priorities what apps they download for all the services they use. SMS is direct and gets the mobile friendly information to them that they want.

MobileIndustry: What three steps do cinema chains need to take right now to encourage more use of mobile online devices for ticket purchases, ticket holding, cinema entry etc?

Jason Palgrave Jones:  Cinema chains should work to ensure that they have responsive websites, apps that are incentivised and promoted for download and an integrated SMS communications strategy that incorporates offers, ticketing, redemption and loyalty platform.

This combination will improve the customer experience as connected customers would appreciate the opportunity to receive a link to their cinema ticket via SMS. It would also reduce queues and most importantly, promote customer loyalty in using mobile platforms.

photo credit: El Productor: La verdad sobre un rol distorsionado via photopin (license)

About the author

Sandra Vogel

Sandra Vogel