Today’s NYTimes asks a good question. Since the Web has helped make concert ticket lines all but obsolete, why are people still waiting around the block to buy movie tickets?
The answer is as simple as a one dollar bill.
The reason people are still not inclined to buy their movie tickets over the web is because we don’t want to pay the $1 surcharge, especially when there’s no customer incentive to do so.
With concert tickets, the sooner you buy, the better your seats. But with movie tickets, since there’s not assigned seating (except in select theaters like The Arclight in Los Angeles) there’s also no incentive to buy tickets early, on-line. Since movie seats are on a first come first serve basis, the early bird gets the seat. And if you’re early enough to get a good seat, then you’re early enough to buy the ticket.
However, there is incentive for theater owners. On-line ticketing would benefit theaters in two obvious ways:
1. As with airlines where customers can go on-line and buy tickets, theaters could cut down on staff by allowing customers to pre-buy movie tickets on-line. If customers buy tickets on-line and print them at a kiosk in the theater, fewer staff are needed behind the counters selling tickets.
2. The time customers waste waiting in long lines to buy the tickets at the theater could be better spent cruising the snack bar. More people would purchase beverages and snacks before the show if they didn’t feel rushed upon entering the theater. The customer’s average snack bill would also increase since customers would have more time before the show to wait for higher priced, longer to prepare items such as hotdogs, which you have to dress with condiments, nachos, which can seem messy and overwhelming to the time pressed customer, or high-end coffee drinks such as lattes or cappuccinos.
With the on-line ticketing option, theaters would be giving customers an added value
of convenience, and the option to custimize the movie going expierence to suit our busy schedules. And if we can buy the tickets when and where it is convenient for us, we will surely buy more tickets.
The lost dollar surcharge fee for on-line tickets would more than pay for itself.