In the wake of some disturbing news regarding its handling of its users’ personal data, Facebook is forging forward with new business ideas that don’t involve selling off information. In this case, that means entering the world of theatrical ticket sales.
Starting Wednesday, according to Variety, Facebook will give up to a $2 discount when tickets are purchased through Fandango and Atom Tickets. That covers the service charge typically levied by the online distributors, which is a limited-time offer via a promotional deal between Facebook and the services aimed to get users comfortable extending their Facebook searches to Facebook purchases.
“We know people already use Facebook to find movies to see in theaters,” Facebook’s movie ticketing product manager Swapna Joshi said. Users can do this on the page of the movie they’d like to see or the Facebook Movies dashboard, which allows you to find showtimes and theaters through its interface, then purchase them through Fandango or Atom. Which is used comes down to availability, though it’s random if both are equally viable.
While Fandango has worked with Facebook for years, Atom’s involvement is new as the company forges ahead in the marketplace. These two account for a considerable amount of ticket sales when recording box office figures, so this partnership is nothing to ignore. In fact, as Black Panther broke all of Fandango’s records, the site accounted for more than 30 percent of all U.S. ticket sales on the film’s opening weekend.
With streaming services siphoning away their audiences, theaters are turning to new ways of finding customers — either through deals like MoviePass, or partnerships like this one that incentivise easy, online ticket purchases. Facebook, never one to miss an opportunity, is of course positioning itself as the middleman in this new industrial order. Whether it will stick or not is just another in a series of questions as the traditional film distribution model faces complications.