Movie Tickets Site Adds Century to Roster

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Fandango.com yesterday announced the addition of Century Theaters to its partnership program for its Print-At-Home tickets service.


Century Theaters' customers at its four locations in northern California and the Southwest will be able to print tickets from their computers, allowing them to sidestep the box office.


Theater attendants will scan a barcode on the tickets to verify them. The scanners will beep if the movie is rated R, alerting the attendant to identify the age of the ticket holder. Customers will pay a surcharge of at least 75 cents for the service, which also can entail picking up the tickets at the theaters.


John Singh, director of public relations at Fandango, Los Angeles, said one of his company's key customer demographics for the printing service is people 35 and older with children.


"We feel Print-At-Home is attractive to parents because you can drop your kids off at the theater with 'Bambi' tickets and be certain that they will only see 'Bambi,' " he said. "It's a more fail-safe measure than giving your child $20 as they get out of the car. You're not nearly as sure that they won't go see [horror film] 'Jeepers Creepers.' "


Posters, counter mats and business cards will be distributed at Century's theaters, mirroring Fandango's marketing tactics in its other six theater partners operating in markets like New York, Orlando, FL, Dallas, Salt Lake City and Tucson, AZ. The company recently completed a 30-second ad mentioning the service that will run before films at the theaters.


One of Fandango's chief competitors, MovieTickets.com, also offers online ticket printing. However, another rival, America Online's Moviefone, got poor results after testing the service in Denver last year.


"We found a lack of consumer demand so there is no rollout plan in the near future," said Jay Jay Nesheim, communications manager at AOL Moviefone, New York. "We probably will relaunch the service sometime down the road, but right now we have other, more important priorities."


Fandango claims to have sold about 1.5 million tickets with and without the printing service since the Web site's beta-test launch in August 2000. However, the privately held company would not divulge sales figures.


Singh said his firm has yet to advertise online because it is trying to keep marketing costs low to reach its goal of profitability by May 2002. His firm plans to launch a direct marketing campaign in the next six months, he said, but details are still being worked out.


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