TWIST IN ONLINE TIX

MovieLink sets studio alliance with Sony

MovieLink, the online component of MovieFone, has launched what it calls a “private label” version of its service, allowing World Wide Web users to purchase tickets to all a studio’s films via the Internet.

The first studio to announce such a partnership with MovieLink is Sony Pictures Entertainment. For instance, if a user at the studio’s sony.com site goes to the page for “The Mirror Has Two Faces,” he could jump easily to a MovieLink page that would give him showtimes for the film in his area, and allow him to order tickets.

Web users have been able to order tickets online through MovieLink since the service’s inception in July 1995.

According to MovieFone CEO Andrew Jarecki, all the major studios have linked some of their films to MovieLink. Sony, however, is now linking all its films to a special page jointly developed by the two companies.

Brand mania

“It makes sense for Sony to be building brand awareness in this way,” said Jarecki. “Through all Sony’s various products, the company has a very positive image in the eyes of consumers, and this is another way to build on that.”

MovieLink product manager Matt Blumberg said the pages, designed inhouse by MovieLink staffers, are intended to convey a sense of both companies’ branding.

“It’s very important for us to keep our brand associated with it, yet the studios want to make sure it’s an extension of their own sites,” he said.

Through its disney.com site, Disney is also providing a link to MovieLink, allowing Web users to purchase tickets to “101 Dalmatians.” Disney and MovieFone haven’t yet announced a formal partnership, however.

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