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Monday, January 11, 2010

Fandango To Offer Paperless Ticketing Via The iPhone

Fandango's mobile iPhone app has been around since March, when it was first released, using it, an end user could find movies, find theaters, and buy tickets. Soon, the app may be able to produce scannable bar codes so users don't have to bother printing a ticket, either via a kiosk or a printer.

Fandango made the statements at CES 2010. Darren Cross of Fandango said, at a session on iPhone apps, “We’re testing it now. It’s not too far away. We’ll have it pretty soon.”

At the same time, Starbucks is trialing the same sort of thing in limited locations. Rather than using your Starbucks card, you use the mobile app and iPhone will display a barcode that you can use the same way you use your Starbucks Card to make purchases. Currently, the tests are happening in Seattle, WA, Cupertino, CA and Mountain View, CA.

Here's what the Fandango app can do currently:
Browse Movies:
  • In theaters
  • Coming Soon
  • Watch trailers
  • Read synopses, cast lists, run times and view fan ratings
Find Theaters:
  • Find theaters closest to you using iPhone and iPod touch’s core location feature
  • Add theaters to a “Favorites” list for faster searching
  • Discover theater amenities such as Print at Home ticketing and stadium seating
  • Connect with Google Maps to find driving directions
Purchase Tickets in a Flash:
  • Quick and easy ticketing available for more movie screens (16,000 and counting!) than on any other app
  • Securely store credit card information for faster purchasing
  • Buy up to 10 tickets at a time
  • Ability to review your purchase history

Fandango offers multiple versions of the app and it would make sense that Android might be next

This is all great, but casual observers can see that the United States is far behind other countries in such cell phone payment systems. Examples would include both Japan and South Korea, where mobile payment schemes are already in place, and gaining popularity. Of course, it's all a sort of chicken-and-egg type thing: Consumers don't want to rely on them, unless more places will take them. More places will take them, if there's more demand from consumers.

Still, baby steps, baby steps. When Fandango comes out with this, it'll definitely make ticket buying easier, and reduce the number of trees felled somewhat. Now if they can just do something about their "convenience fee" (yes, we know they need to make money).