×

Studios Eye Pinterest to Sell Movie Tickets

The photo site is already a movie marketer’s dream. Ticket transactions are natural next step

Retailers are buzzing over Pinterest’s ability to boost sales for their businesses. But Hollywood’s remained mostly silent about its potential to fill movie theater seats. For now.

As studios step up their social media activity, movie marketers are considering ways to turn posters or the promotional stills of their films that appear on online pinboards into ticket sales.

Nearly every major distributor in Hollywood is experimenting internally with ways to court Pinterest’s core users: white college-educated women between the ages of 18-49 who live in rural areas and make $75,000 a year. It’s a demo that’s become tougher to attract, with summer tentpoles consisting of mostly of genre-heavy fare aimed at younger men.

SEE ALSO: Pinterest Sticks Active Pins into Flicks

 

While actual transactions can’t take place on Pinterest yet, clicking a photo of some products sends users to a retailer’s site where the sale can be completed.

An estimated 32% of online shoppers have purchased products they’ve seen on Pinterest, according to market researcher Bizrate Insights. And that should increase as Pinterest develops methods to enable transactions on its platform.

Pinterest has spent the past year focused on building its user base and technical infrastructure for the site to work on most mobile devices. Building revenue wasn’t the primary goal until recently, and few execs at the San Francisco-based company were even interested in brokering revenue-generating deals, those close to the company say.

While a rep for Pinterest noted movies are a popular part of the service, he declined to comment on the company’s plans. “We’re always thinking about how we can make it easier for people to take action on the things they discover on Pinterest, including movies, but we don’t have anything specific to announce at this time,” the rep said.

But as Pinterest preps “p-commerce” offerings, studios are taking notice.

They’ve tested the digital waters in the past, with Disney turning to Facebook to sell tickets to “Toy Story 3,” Lionsgate discounting tickets to “The Lincoln Lawyer” on Groupon, and Paramount including an option to buy them on websites for its films like “Pain & Gain.”

They haven’t turned to Pinterest yet for several reasons:

  • Most social media for movies is handled by marketing teams tasked with promoting films, not distributing them. Generating sales isn’t part of their job description.
  • Since studios can’t sell movie tickets themselves, they must broker additional deals through Fandango and MovieTickets.com to handle digital transactions.
  • Involving the ticket sellers may not be enough incentive to invest studio manpower in building ticket sales on Pinterest. Studio marketing assets would drive traffic and the bottom line of the ticket merchants who split convenience fees with exhibitors. It wouldn’t be until the box office is collected that a studio would see any revenue.
  • Marketers don’t want to turn off moviegoers with a hard sales pitch.

“It’s not easy to sell products on social networks for many reasons, but the main one is that ads — or marketing offers to buy stuff — often interrupt the user experience and feel invasive,” says Phil Contrino, chief analyst with Boxoffice.com.

Yet now that Pinterest has amassed a following of 28 million active monthly users in the U.S. over the past three years, marketers are paying closer attention to the service, which in terms of usage is only third behind Facebook and Twitter.

Brands outside Hollywood already have taken notice, with their Pinterest boards heavy on imagery of food, fashion, travel destinations, weddings and home decor. The most-followed boards on the site are run by L.L. Bean, Jetsetter, Nordstrom, Everyday Health and home improvement chain Lowes, according to social media benchmarking firm Unmetric.

Some retailers, like Etsy, Sephora and Wayfair, have seen traffic to their sites from Pinterest grow by as much as 65% for specific products like art, makeup and home goods.

The same could prove true for films, whether they’re playing in theaters or when they hit homevideo platforms.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Lindsay Lindenbaum on 'Tomboy,' Female Drummers,

    How 'Tomboy' Filmmaker Used SXSW Cancellation to Fine-Tune Her Film

    “Tomboy” filmmaker Lindsay Lindenbaum spent five years following four female drummers trying to make it in a male-dominated world. Lindenbaum profiles Bobbye Hall, a drummer who started at Motown Records in the late ’60s and later toured with Bob Dylan. Samantha Maloney, whose obsession with MTV’s “Headbangers Ball” as a teenager led her to fall [...]

  • Wonder Woman 1984

    Will the Coronavirus Pandemic Wipe Out All of Summer Blockbuster Season?

    Say goodbye to blockbuster season — at least for this year. After would-be summer hits from Disney, Warner Bros., and Universal already vacated their release dates, Sony Pictures announced Monday that its comic book adventure “Morbius,” “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” and virtually all of its upcoming tentpoles were being moved into the fall or beyond. It was [...]

  • Dodgers Stadium Empty

    Movie Theaters and Concerts Could See Major Attendance Drop Post-Pandemic (Study)

    After a month of increasing anxiety and self-isolation due to the coronavirus pandemic, audiences in the U.S. are largely not eager to return to public events once the crisis subsides, according to a new study. In a survey of 1,000 consumers in the U.S., 44% of respondents said they would attend fewer large public events, [...]

  • 'Dolphin Reef' Review: A Dazzling Look

    'Dolphin Reef' on Disney Plus: Film Review

    Out of the vast universe of nature documentaries, I don’t think I’m alone in finding films about life under the sea to occupy a special place. The very fact that they exist, of course, is amazing — though when you watch one, part of the wonder is that you’re not thinking about how aquamarine filmmakers [...]

  • CONJURING DAD – In Disney and

    What's Coming to Disney Plus in April 2020

    Disney Plus will continue to expand its library next month, adding older films as well as new episodes of its original programming. Less than a month after its release on March 6, Pixar’s “Onward” is making an early jump to Disney’s streaming platform amid the coronavirus pandemic. With the vast majority of theaters now closed [...]

  • Black AF Netflix

    Everything Coming to Netflix in April

    As everyone continues to self-quarantine and practice social distancing due to the coronavirus pandemic, there’s no better “at-home” activity than catching up on all the new films and shows streaming on Netflix this April. A number of new series are set to premiere on the streaming platform, including “Never Have I Ever,” “#BlackAf,” “OuterBanks,” “The [...]

  • Steven Spielberg AFI Movie Club

    Steven Spielberg Launches AFI's New Movie Club With 'The Wizard of Oz'

    As the coronavirus pandemic continues to escalate and Americans face more time in quarantine, “There’s no place like home” resonates in an entirely different way, with the power to save millions – not just Dorothy. Aiming to encourage social distancing, the American Film Institute announced the launch of the AFI Movie Club with the help [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content