Fandango, the online movie-ticket selling subsidiary of Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA), has beaten the competition in its effort to strike a deal with Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) Movies. The partnership will put Fandango’s service in front of the entertainment portal’s 30 million users in the United States.
The service, which allows users to conduct a show-time searches and purchase tickets in advance, reaches 20,000 screens in the U.S., though that number has expanded thanks to ticket-sales agreements Fandango recently struck with theater chains AMC Theatres and Regency Theatres. Fandango users can purchase tickets online and either print a hardcopy version of the ticket to present at the theater or download a digital ticket through a mobile application. Fandango reports that 40% of its users employ the mobile app method, with more than 22 million app downloads logged across the platforms that support the service.
The partnership with Yahoo Movies will integrate Fandango’s services into a site geared toward entertainment information that includes movie trailers and celebrity interviews. It’s an arrangement that seems designed to increase Yahoo Movies’ visibility as much as it might raise Fandango’s profile.
Yahoo has increased its attention to digital media services in recent months, a subtle acknowledgement that it is putting behind it difficulties in its search engine war with Google (NASDAQ:GOOG). Cozying up to Fandango, which has a number of agreements in place, including one that allows customers to pay using their PayPal (NASDAQ:EBAY) account, shows that the company is serious about its desire to evolve.
The deal comes at a high point for Fandango. According to a company press release, the service saw record sales in the first two months of this year. Sales will likely increase as the summer blockbuster season draws near. The highly anticipated release of “The Hunger Games” this week has set new advance-purchase records. Two-thousand showings had sold out before midweek and 92% of general daily ticket sales were for this particular movie. Based on a popular young adult book series, “The Hunger Games” is poised to follow in the footsteps of the Harry Potter and Twilight franchises as a multi-week (or multi-month) chart topper.
Fandango’s primary competition has been MovieTickets, which, after the deal with Fandango was announced, filed suit against AMC, a MovieTickets founding shareholder. MovieTickets says an existing contract with AMC entitles it to exclusive rights to sell tickets to movies presented at AMC theaters. The suit is claiming breach of contract. If the suit is decided in MovieTickets’ favor, though, the result shouldn’t have a great impact on Fandango. AMC and Regency combined added only 3,000 screens to its offerings and it wouldn’t be difficult to make up for that marginal loss.