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Moviefone adds PC prints to online tix

UA to accept tickets this spring

Looking to speed up its online ticketing services, AOL Moviefone will arm its users with the ability to print Web-purchased tickets using their home computers.

AOL Moviefone, pacting first with United Artists in the new ‘Net offering, will make the announcement today at exhibitor confab ShoWest in Las Vegas.

UA will accept the PC-produced tickets this spring, hoping to simplify the process for online ticket buyers who currently must slide credit cards through lobby machines before receiving their movie tickets.

“This will streamline operations at the theater,” AOL Moviefone CEO Andrew Jarecki said. “And it will be great for parents who want to buy tickets (over the Internet) for their kids but want to keep their card so they can go out to dinner for themselves.”

Jarecki also eyes the electronic ticket option as a way to hook more ‘Net users in general. He estimates that about 1 million people a week purchase tickets at the AOL Moviefone site, but 90% of the service’s 300 million annual users still dial by phone for info.

“Printing tickets at home saves time and gives moviegoers the confidence of arriving at the theater with tickets in hand,” Jarecki said.

The service extension, on display this week at AOL Moviefone’s ShoWest booth, also acts as a way to stay a step ahead of the newly declared competitors in the online ticketing arena, including theater chains Cinemark and AMC.

“Being on the offensive is always the best defense,” said Jarecki. “So our offense is just to keep innovating.”

At ShoWest on Wednesday, Jarecki will moderate a panel of senior studio execs, including Sony Pictures marketing prexy Robert Levin and Warner Bros. marketing topper Brad Ball, in a discussion about trends in interactive film promotion.

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