Jul 2, 2024

Why you should care about online ticketing

Online ticketing has been rising in popularity among moviegoers for years. Even before the pandemic pushed every aspect of our lives further online, the percentage of movie tickets sold online was rapidly increasing.

It’s natural, as we embrace more and more forms of online shopping, from retail to events, that cinemas see the same trend. Moviegoers—like all consumers—are leaning further toward a preference of engaging online.

Between 2020 and today, the proportion of movie tickets purchased has shifted from the majority of purchases happening in-cinema to the majority being done online. In 2020, 43% of all tickets were purchased online, and by 2023 that rate rose to 67%.

Year-on-year, we’ve watched this proportion rise.

What’s driving ticketing online?

Modern audiences, and especially younger audiences, are not only accustomed to purchasing online now—they prefer it. Whether browsing from computers or scrolling on our phones, buying online became a mainstay thanks to its convenience, and remains so thanks to its familiarity.

While the pandemic obviously accelerated trends towards online engagement, the cinema industry was already seeing its effects before then.

The prevalence of buying tickets by mobile alone, according to this year’s UNIC annual report, already sat at 20% in 2019. But by 2023, it has almost doubled to 36%. With browsing on mobile becoming more frequent, it's more important than ever to ensure your website and ticketing are responsive—and so adapt to mobile devices—and optimized for conversion, so those casual browsers turn into purchasers.

While it’s correct that this trend is exemplified by younger moviegoers, Movio Research found that all moviegoer segments under the age of 44 chose to buy tickets online more often than in-cinema.

Why this matters for independent cinemas

It’s fair to say that online ticketing is here to stay. So, how can cinemas make the most of it, and why should they be invested in doing so?

There are a number of benefits that make focusing on your online ticketing worthwhile. But the simplest and clearest element it offers is this: Revenue.

Online ticketing solutions like V-Tix enable you to implement booking fees for your ticketing. Convenience fees like these have likewise become an everyday occurrence in our lives, but they can make a more significant impact for your bottom line than the surface might make it seem.

A dollar or two here and there may seem small when looking ticket-by-ticket, but they quickly add up to a significant supporting revenue stream. By directing your moviegoers to engage with your cinema online more frequently, by promoting bookings via social media or email, and increasing how many tickets you sell online, you can generate more revenue for every moviegoer who visits.

But the payoff of driving more ticketing online extends beyond that.

Online ticketing is greatly beneficial for forecasting. Every time a moviegoer purchases a ticket online and in-advance instead of as a walk-in, you gain a better picture of what attendance will look like—across individual sessions, or across days and weeks overall.

Better forecasting makes it easier to adapt, to know how much stock of concessions you may need, to know which screenings might see the highest attendance, which titles might need additional screening times if they prove particularly popular, or when a screening that’s under-performing might need an extra marketing push.

Engage your moviegoers the way they like. Convenience, familiarity, and surety of booking online are all big draws for moviegoers, and with better understanding and a supporting revenue stream, boosting your online ticketing is a win-win for you and your audience.

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