Fandango Mobile

 Fandango Image Fandango ( has launched a mobile web site. As every moviegoer in the US knows, Fandango is a web business selling movie tickets. They are best known for the goofy ads featuring a frumpy couple played by hand puppets made from paper bags that participating theatres show before every movie. To use the web version of Fandango, you pay by credit card and print out your ticket. The site also lets you search for movie theatre show times, read reviews and purchase tickets online. The mobile edition manages to include all of these features.

Fandango's mobile ticketing is a little primitive but workable and compatible with all mobile web capable phones. You first have to set up an account giving Fandango your credit card information - this can be done on the mobile site or from your PC browser. When you want to purchase a ticket, you log into mobile Fandango, select the theatre, feature and showtime parameters and purchase the ticket. At the theatre you give the ticket seller your credit card to verify your identity and get your tickets. The mobile is essentially making a reservation. Fandango is primarily useful for getting a into hot new movie that sells out it's showings without having to wait in line for an hour.

There is a "convenience charge" of $1.25, added to the ticket price which will limit adoption I'm afraid. According to Internet Retailer, Fandango has plans to eventually be able to display a bar-code on the phone screen which would be scanned at the theatre and alleviate the need to hand over your credit card. I think that's just an intermediate step. In the near future phones will include smart Near Field Communications (NFC) technology. After purchasing the ticket on the phone, an NFC enabled turnstile will admit you after verifying with the phone that you have a ticket. As this sort of service becomes ubiquitous the "convenience charge" will disappear, becoming a part of the required cost of doing business for theatres and retailers just as the costs associated with credit cards are today.

For now the best features of Fandango Mobile are the extensive theatre and showtime listings and the reviews. For most films, Fandango offers three full length reviews by critics from The Washington Post, Variety and USA Today.

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