AOL Aligns With UA Theaters To Sell Tickets

America Online and United Artists Theatre Circuit announced an agreement today that will make expanded movie information and ticket sales available on all AOL brands, including AOL.COM, Netscape, CompuServe, ICQ, Digital City and Spinner.

United Artists will receive premier positioning on AOL through AOL MovieFone, a listing guide and ticketing service that the company acquired last May.

The service will target AOL’s 19 million members, as well as those who use other Web-based brands.

AOL will use its MovieFone service to upgrade United Artists’ existing Web site, www.uatc.com, with show times and real-time ticketing. AOL will also give the theater circuit a keyword, “United Artists,” for easy consumer click-through access to movie information and tickets.

Internet And Movies A Good Mix

Over the past several months, movie promotion on the Internet has proven to be successful for two summer blockbusters, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, and The Blair Witch Project. The Austin Powers movie utilized heavy advertising and promotion on AOL and other major Web sites.

The Blair Witch Web site drew a surprising number of visitors through minor advertising and significant viral (“word of mouse”) grassroots communication. The site also provided additional information about the story that sent moviegoers back for second and third theater viewings.

As a result of these two success stories, the movie industry is now pouring additional promotion dollars into the Internet.

AOL Reaches Moviegoers

United Artists entered the agreement with AOL as a way of reaching a large portion of their market. According to Media Metrix, AOL brands reach more than 80 percent of the online audience. One in every five moviegoers uses MovieFone each week, either on the phone or online.

“AOL and the AOL MovieFone brands are recognized by our customers,” said Kurt Hall, chief executive officer of United Artists Theatre Company.

Through its alliance with AOL, United Artists expects to yield significant revenue and savings through online and offline marketing. “Just having a Web site isn’t enough in the crowded Internet space,” said Hall. “Having our theaters and Web site promoted through a medium as powerful as AOL really sets us apart in the competitive theatre exhibition marketplace.”

Based in Englewood, Colorado, United Artists is a privately-held company that operates 300 theater locations in 24 states, with a total of 2069 screens.

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