MobilRelay today launched Mobile Box Office, a service that enables moviegoers to use mobile phones as tickets.
It is the first service of its kind in the United States and it is available beginning January 18 for all shows at Emagine in Canton, Mich.
Anyone with a web-enabled (WAP - Wireless Application Protocol) mobile phone and a color screen may use Mobile Box Office to browse movie listing dates and times, select and pay for any movie. To use the service, moviegoers navigate to mbo.com on their mobile phones and follow prompts to browse and buy movie tickets.
After making a show selection and secure credit card transaction, moviegoers receive an electronic, bar-coded ticket on their mobile phones, which is scanned for entry at the theater.
"Mobile Box Office speaks to people who live the mobile lifestyle," said Tom Beals, founder of MobilRelay. "For them, Mobile Box Office is more convenient, since anyone can use their mobile phone at any time and from anywhere to browse and buy movie tickets."
According to the Motion Picture Industry Association, there were more than 47 million Internet-enabled mobile phones in the U.S. in 2004, a 96 percent increase from 2003. And 24 percent of respondents to a 2004 Claria Corporation survey said that they had bought movie tickets online.
"The timing is right for Mobile Box Office," said Beals. "We believe that we're building a bridge between the growth in Internet-enabled mobile phone use and consumers' rapidly growing use of the web for browsing movies and buying tickets."
"Mobile Box Office is ideal for our customers," said Paul Glantz, managing member of Emagine Entertainment. "They're progressive and convenience oriented, and Mobile Box Office is another way we can tune-in with them and their lifestyles and enhance their movie going experience."
Mobile Box Office works with and is optimized for all U.S. carriers and numerous mobile devices. MobilRelay has a patent pending on a process for distributing bar-coded messages to mobile devices. MBO technology incorporates Wireless Universal Resource File (WURFL), the largest open source movement for mobile device compatibility.
Supporting the launch of Mobile Box Office is in-theater advertising created by Detroit-based marketing veteran Gary Topolewski. During his career, Topolewski has served as chief creative officer of BBDO Detroit and Bozell Worldwide, chairman and chief creative officer of chemistri, and executive creative director of TBWA/Chiat Day in Los Angeles. He has developed advertising and marketing programs for Cadillac, Pontiac, Jeep, Chrysler, Sony Playstation, XMSatellite Radio and a number of Internet start- up companies. Topolewski won the Cannes Grand Prix Trophy in 1994 for his work on Jeep.
A 60-second trailer features a Mobile Box Office customer passing by other movie patrons waiting in line to purchase tickets at a theater with their mobile phones and asks the question: "What can you do with your phone?"
"It's great to be part of something so new and unique," said Topolewski, "to be on the ground floor with a product which promises to be the future."