Thursday, October 25, 2007

Buy Movie Tickets Using Your Phone

Short-code text messaging has been used on mobile phones for everything from getting your daily horoscope, to voting for your favourite TV reality show contestant. Now, Bell Mobility is bringing a more practical application to the short-code arena: ordering movie tickets!

Through a partnership with Cineplex, any Bell Mobility customer with a standard mobile phone with SMS and Internet browsing capability (excluding dedicated PDA/messaging "smart" phones that have full QWERTY keyboards - I'm not sure why) can order movie tickets through his phone. The plus is that no credit card is required, since the tickets are billed directly to the person's Bell Moblity account.

Here's how it works: just send the word "tickets" to the short-code "JUMP" (5867), and you'll receive a link to a web page where the purchase can be made. Once the purchase is completed, a barcoded virtual "ticket" is sent to your phone. Scan this barcode at the Cineplex kiosk, and out comes a paper ticket.

It's important to keep in mind that you will be paying added fees for this convenience. First, there's text messaging fees, unless you have an unlimited usage plan. Second, you'll be dinged mobile web browsing charges once you click that link to select the movie and time, and complete the purchase. And finally, Bell charges a "convenience fee" of $1.50 to complete each transaction.

Such a service is great if you want to purchase tickets in advance while you're on the road (if you're at home, you can just order them online using a PC!) It's especially useful for highly-anticipated new movie releases, where tickets might sell-out before you get a chance to head to the theatre. It also saves time once you've arrived (although, I would argue that purchasing movie tickets through the kiosk and a debit card really isn't that time-consuming a process to begin with).

This is all, of course, assuming that people still actually go to movie theatres! With the increased interest in home theatre, HDTV, and high-definition DVD formats, not to mention the unfortunate existence of bootlegged DVDs, I wouldn't be surprised if the movie theatre industry is suffering a similar blow to the one the traditional CD industry has been feeling over the last few years.

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