Starting Wednesday, Facebook U.S. mobile users who buy a movie ticket on the service will automatically have a discount applied to their order total. The discount will be equal to any convenience fees levied by Fandango and Atom Tickets, which Facebook will cover.
The move isn’t some kind of goodwill gesture toward users by the social-media giant, which has been roiled by the revelation that data on 50 million users was improperly obtained by a consulting firm that worked for Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign. The controversy has significantly dented Facebook’s stock and raised the prospect of new government regulatory action about user-data handling.
Rather, the special promo is an effort to get people in the habit of using Facebook to buy movie tickets, before it reinstates convenience-fee charges. Currently, the Facebook movie-ticket discount offer is available only to U.S. mobile users. It’s a limited-time promotion, but the company didn’t say how long the offer will be in effect.
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“We know people already use Facebook to find movies to see in theaters,” Swapna Joshi, Facebook’s product manager for movie ticketing, said in a statement. After on-boarding starting last year, “this is another way we’re working with each of them to make going to the movies fun and easy.”
To take advantage of the offer, Facebook users can browse for movies on the Facebook Movies dashboard (at facebook.com/movie_ticketing) or on a movie’s Facebook page. From there, they can look up and select showtimes and theaters directly on Facebook, then purchase tickets through Fandango or Atom (including seat selection for select theaters). The promotional discount is automatically applied at checkout.
All payments are processed by Fandango or Atom Tickets. According to Facebook, users will be randomly presented with either Fandango or Atom purchasing options if both services are available for the same theater.
Fandango has worked with Facebook for several years on ticketing features, including via the Fandango bot extension for Messenger. The new promotion “is the perfect opportunity to help get fans into theaters to see some of the most anticipated movies of the year,” said Mark Young, Fandango’s senior VP global strategy and business development.
For Atom Tickets, the Facebook partnership promises to help it gain awareness as it competes with category leader NBCUniversal-owned Fandango (which recently acquired MovieTickets.com). Atom Tickets is backed by Disney, 20th Century Fox, Lionsgate, and Fidelity.
“It’s been great working with Facebook to offer a more convenient and social moviegoing experience that only Atom Tickets can deliver,” Alex Rouse, head of product for Atom Tickets, said in a prepared statement. “We’re about connecting people with the movies they love and are excited by this opportunity to inspire more people to go to the movies.”