Though the experience of going to the movie theater has, admittedly, declined in recent years, there are still a few good reasons to go. Sure, the tickets are expensive and the experience not that much better than can be had with a good quality home theater system, but there's still a value in first-run titles and the sheer mass of the output on the hardware therein. But going to the movies is a different experience than it was even just five years ago, as evidenced by MovieTickets.com's new mobile movie ticket that lets smartphone users get in on the strength of a mobile device rather than a paper stub.
The new system from MovieTickets.com removes paper from the process, using a process created by Bytemark known as V3, or visually verifiable virtual ticket, to essentially send a virtual ticket to a smartphone user after said smartphone user purchases a ticket online. Users then go to the ticket taker and show the virtual ticket in question, which comes with an array of security features specific to the film itself, including color changes and animated points including an animated watermark. Users never actually see the security features until the ticket taker works with same, and the security features can be changed as often as once per show. There's even a kind of “virtual tear” that allows for a ticket stub to be retained and can be referred to as needed to ensure the user is in the correct show.
The technology is set to get a pilot program launched before the end of the year, though Bytemark's V3 technology is already in play at several locations, including New York City's NY Waterway, Cap Metro in Austin, Texas, and Chicago, Illinois' own South Shore rail line. There's already something of a precedent for this system, though not so much as part of a movie theater line. MovieTickets.com's CEO, Joel Cohen, offered up some comment around the new tools, saying “Our new mobile ticket is a game changer. Not only will this make going to the movies more enjoyable for audiences, but it will also deliver enormous value to our exhibitor partners. This is another innovation that supports our commitment to providing customers with a convenient way of purchasing tickets with a streamlined process that demonstrates ease and security.”
The movie-going experience has changed quite a bit over the last few years. With new technologies stepping in like the D-BOX system to shake a seat in conjunction with the events seen on screen, and the increasingly large number of new features in general like alcohol service, day care service and even improved snack menus, the movie theater experience is making quite a few changes. I don't know how valuable exactly electronic ticket systems will be here—certainly it doesn't shake up the game near as much as a D-BOX would—but it's still sufficiently noteworthy, and one more sign that the movie theater has finally acknowledged that it won't be able to bank on an ephemeral “theater experience” to carry it forward any more.
While the MovieTickets.com technology may not save the theater experience by itself, it's certainly one more sign that the movie theater as we once knew is wholly different from the experience offered today. That's likely to prove a good thing in the long run, and give us all a better chance of enjoying the experience in the future.
Edited by Maurice Nagle
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