Western Union Goes to the Movies with Major RIO 2 Film Partnership

The Western Union Company announced a film partnership deal with 20th Century Fox for its animated feature RIO 2. Western Union saw the partnership with RIO 2 which has a roster of beloved characters, a stellar cast, a rich and vibrant soundtrack, and is a sequel to the original smash hit film, as an opportunity to create a unique partnership between two iconic brands centering on a common theme in a fresh and creative venue. The partnership expands consumer reach for both companies with a collaborative global marketing campaign. The collaborative global marketing campaign with 20th Century Fox includes TV advertising, print, point of sale, online, out-of-home, and social media, with a consumer scratch and win game in the US.

SVS & AMC

TN-based Stored Value Systems identified itself yesterday as the supplier of the new “AMC Entertainment Card.” Stored Value Systems Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Comdata Corporation, announced the launch of the AMC Entertainment Card; an electronic cash card to be used as replacements for the theatre chain’s paper gift certificates. AMC becomes the first major motion picture theatre operator to nationally adopt a cash card component as a paperless alternative to traditional gift certificates. AMC operates 242 theatres with 3,500 screens. The debut of the AMC Entertainment Card coincides with the start of the busiest season for gift certificate sales. About half of all gift certificate sales occur between October and late December. Movie gift certificates also are highly popular for graduations, birthdays, and Father’s Day and Mother’s Day.

AMC Gift Card

MO-based AMC Entertainment is rolling out a stored-value gift card. The new “AMC Entertainment Card” is available now at AMC Theatres throughout the U.S. and will soon be available at more than 1,400 supermarkets around the country. Participating supermarkets offering the card beginning November 15 include selected Safeway stores throughout the U.S., as well as select Dominick’s stores in Chicago, Vons and Pavillions stores in Southern California, Randalls and Tom Thumb stores in Texas, and Genuardi’s stores in Philadelphia. The card currently is offered in $15, $25, and $50 increments. AMC operates 242 theatres with 3,500 screens in the USA, Canada, France, Hong Kong, Japan, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

Home Print Movie Tix

AOL Moviefone Inc., the nation’s largest movie listing guide and ticketing service, Monday announced plans to launch a new program that enables consumers who purchase tickets over Moviefone.com to print their own bar-coded movie tickets at home and avoid lines at the theater. A prototype of the new service is on display this week at AOL Moviefone’s booth at the annual ShoWest movie industry convention in Las Vegas, Nevada. The program is set to launch early this summer in partnership with United Artists Theatres and will roll out to other AOL Moviefone theater-chain partners over the course of the year.

Under this new program, moviegoers who purchase their tickets on Moviefone.com will have the option of printing out a bar-coded ticket on their home computer printer. These electronic tickets will eliminate the need for moviegoers to bring a credit card to the theater to retrieve their tickets from automated ticket machines in the theater lobby. Now, they can simply present their home-printed ticket, which will be scanned by theater personnel for quick admission. Consumers who do not have printers or prefer the former method will still be able to pick up tickets at automated machines in theater lobbies, just as in the past. The new home-printing option will also be made available to users of Moviefone’s popular 777-FILM telephone service simultaneously.

“We are committed to making moviegoing more convenient and fun for the millions of moviegoers who use our services online, on the phone, or through any of the new devices on which Moviefone is available.” said Andrew Jarecki, Chief Executive Officer of AOL Moviefone. “Letting moviegoers print tickets at home saves them time and gives them the confidence of arriving at the theater with tickets in hand.”

“This initiative is another example of how our partnership with AOL and Moviefone is helping United Artists to provide the best, most innovative services to moviegoers,” said Kurt Hall, CEO of United Artists Theatre Company. “We look forward to offering our patrons the convenience of being able to print United Artists movie tickets at home.”

In order to create and fulfill these bar-coded electronic tickets, AOL Moviefone will use its existing ticketing interface with the theaters to create seamless, real-time access to the theater’s ticket inventory and to communicate the consumer’s purchase back to the theater’s box office. AOL Moviefone will also be working with preferred partner Radiant Systems to create additional back-end technology that will be distributed to participating circuits.

About AOL Moviefone

AOL Moviefone, a wholly owned subsidiary of America Online, Inc. (NYSE: AOL), is the leading offline and online movie listing, information, and ticketing service. Through its AOL Moviefone telephone service (e.g. 777-FILM) and its online service Moviefone.com, the company provides millions of moviegoers each week with a complete, free directory of movies, showtimes, theater locations, the ability to purchase tickets, and other content of interest to moviegoers. AOL Moviefone is a part of the AOL Interactive Properties Group.

MovieFone Expansion

AOL MovieFone and American Express invaded Houston this week with the launch of a moviegoer frequency program backed by both film distributors and theater chains. First launched in New York City last March, moviegoers in the Houston area will earn a complimentary ticket for every ten purchased through MovieFone with an AmEx Card. The MovieFone program was launched last month in Washington, DC (See CF Library 1/5/00) The Houston program will be available at all Loews Cineplex Entertainment and Angelika theaters which already offer advance tickets through AOL MovieFone and comprise over 70 screens in the Houston area. Participating studios include Columbia Pictures, TriStar Pictures, Universal Pictures, Disney, 20th Century Fox, Warner Brothers, Dreamworks, MGM/UA, New Line Cinema, Miramax, and Paramount Pictures.

MovieFone Hits DC

AOL MovieFone and American Express invaded Washington D.C. this week with the launch of a moviegoer frequency program backed by both film distributors and theater chains. First launched in New York City last March, moviegoers in the D.C area will earn a complimentary ticket for every ten purchased through MovieFone with an AmEx Card. The program will be available at Loews Theatres and Cineplex Odeon Theatres. Participating studios include Columbia Pictures, TriStar Pictures, Universal Pictures, Disney, 20th Century Fox, Warner Brothers, Dreamworks, MGM/UA, New Line Cinema, Miramax, and Paramount Pictures.

MovieFone

MovieFone, Inc. and American Express introduced its moviegoer frequency program Friday in Phoenix. First launched in New York in March, the program will soon be introduced to other markets across the country. Moviegoers in the Phoenix area will now earn a complimentary ticket for every ten purchased over MovieFone’s interactive telephone service or its online sister service, moviefone.com, with an ‘American Express Card’. The new program marks the first time that major studios and theater chains have agreed to participate together in a program designed to promote moviegoing. Beginning this week, 30-second trailers promoting the program will be shown onscreen in Phoenix movie theaters. MovieFone will also advertise the program in local papers while AmEx will promote the service on local television and radio and through statement inserts.

Movie Loyalty

Movie listing and ticketing service, MovieFone, Inc.,and American Express yesterday launched the first industry-wide moviegoer frequency program backed by both film distributors and theater chains. Starting Monday, moviegoers in the New York metropolitan area will earn a complimentary ticket for every ten purchased over MovieFone (777-FILM) or its online service Movielink.com with an American Express Card. The program will expand to other markets later this year. Participating studios so far include: Columbia Pictures, TriStar Pictures, Disney, 20th Century Fox, Warner Brothers, Dreamworks, MGM/UA, New Line Cinema, Miramax, and Paramount Pictures.

MovieFone Voice Recognition

Callers to MovieFone, the nation’s largest movie guide and ticketing service, will soon be able to get movie listings and tickets faster and easier than ever by simply speaking into the phone. MovieFone, Inc. announced it will use speech recognition technology from Lucent Technologies to enhance its popular interactive service, known by familiar local phone numbers such as 777-FILM.

MovieFone is one of the largest interactive phone applications in the world, providing more than 100 million callers a year with a complete directory of movies, theaters, and showtimes, and the ability to buy tickets. Since MovieFone’s inception in 1989, callers have made selections using the buttons on their touch-tone key pad. The enhanced service, set to launch in New York in early 1999, enables moviegoers to select a movie by saying the title into the phone. Similarly, callers can enter other information like their zip code or credit card number by speaking into the phone. Callers who do not wish to speak their selections still have the option of entering them using their touch-tone keypad. The New York launch will be followed by a rollout to more of the 35 major cities MovieFone serves.

Letting moviegoers use their own voice to speak to MovieFone is a twist, since the well-known voice callers hear when they call MovieFone (e.g. “Hello and welcome to MovieFone…”) is a frequently imitated part of pop culture. The voice of Mr. MovieFone has been parodied on television shows from Saturday Night Live to The Simpsons to Late Night with David Letterman. In fact, in one of the most memorable episodes of Seinfeld, when Kramer’s phone number is changed to one that is just one digit away from 777-FILM, he is forced to spend the whole episode imitating Mr. MovieFone and providing unsuspecting callers with movie information.

According to Tom Jarecki, Sr. VP Operations for MovieFone, “Seinfeld’s Kramer said it best. When he couldn’t understand the selections callers were making with the buttons on their telephones, he asked, ‘Why don’t you just tell me the name of the movie you selected?’ Using Lucent’s speech recognition technology, MovieFone callers will soon be able to do just that.”

He continued, “MovieFone has always used innovative technology to make moviegoing more convenient for consumers. Lucent’s Speech Solutions will enable us to reinforce that principle by presenting a more fun and entertaining service for moviegoers while saving them time. Lucent’s long history in speech recognition gives us great confidence in the accuracy and reliability of the new system.” Designed by Bell Labs, the solution includes Lucent’s high-density speech recognition board and software to support advanced speech applications.

“Our goal is to make speech services ubiquitous by making them useful to the vast majority of consumers,” said Daniel Furman, president of Lucent Speech Solutions. “Working with MovieFone is an important step toward that goal.”

Lucent’s Speech Solution handles wide variations of voice pitches and accents, and its high capacity supports large vocabularies, easily recognizing specific movie titles. With the capability of recognizing spoken numerals, as well as different credit card types (Visa, MasterCard, and others), the speech technology also will be able to quickly process credit card transactions used to purchase theater tickets. The heart of the new technology is Lucent’s high-density speech recognition board, which provides an economical solution by supporting a large number of simultaneous conversations in a small space.

Today’s announcement with MovieFone adds to Lucent’s large base of customers using network-based speech systems, processing millions of speech transactions each week. In addition to scalable speech engines that include both hardware and software components for Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) and Text-to-Speech (TTS), Lucent Speech Solutions include a full complement of speech applications. These applications, such as voice dialing, automated attendant, personal assistant, e-mail reading, and information access, all use 0natural language user interfaces.

MovieFone, Inc. is the leading media company focusing on the moviegoing audience. The Company’s primary products, the MovieFone interactive telephone service (e.g. 777-FILM) and [Movielink.com][1] on the web, comprise the largest movie listing guide and ticketing service in the country, providing millions of moviegoers each week with a complete, free directory of movies, showtimes, theater locations and the ability to purchase tickets in advance. The Company, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, has received over 300 million calls and logged over 35 million online users. The Company’s services cover more than 14,500 movie screens in 33 cities around the nation, which account for over 60% of the nation’s movie attendance. MovieFone, Inc. is a public company with offices in New York and Los Angeles.

Lucent Technologies, headquartered in Murray Hill, New Jersey, designs, builds and delivers a wide range of public and private networks, communications systems and software, data networking systems, business telephone systems and microelectronics components. Bell Laboratories is the research and development arm for the company. For more information on Lucent Technologies, visit and [www.lucent.com/ideas2/innovations/lsps][2] for Lucent Speech Solutions.

[1]: http://www.movielink.com
[2]: http://www.lucent.com/ideas2/innovations/lsps

AmEx Tix

American Express and MovieFone Inc., the nation’s largest movie listing guide and ticketing service, announced Wednesday a new long-term marketing partnership to promote telephone and Internet ticketing for movies. Under the new agreement, AmEx will become a national sponsor of MovieFone and its online sister service MovieLink.com, and the companies will work together on and jointly fund new marketing programs designed to reward moviegoers when they use the American Express Card to buy tickets through these services. MovieFone will promote AmEx to its over 110 million annual users, both on the MovieFone telephone service and on MovieLink.com.

Movie Tix Online

MovieFone, Inc. and Century Theatres today announced that Century will offer its users the ability to purchase movie tickets via Century’s web site ([http://www.centurytheatres.com][1]). The new feature for the California-based circuit is the result of a unique partnership with MovieLink (), the online sister service of 777-FILM. Millions of moviegoers have used MovieLink to find showtimes and purchase advance tickets since it launched in 1995. The new Century-MovieLink service, which debuts today alongside Century’s newly-redesigned web site, makes Century the first major exhibitor to offer its patrons the ability to purchase tickets directly through its own Web site.

Users who are on Century’s site have access to showtimes at all of Century’s theaters across five states. Now, users who have selected a theater and a movie have one-click access to a customized area on MovieLink which lets them purchase tickets for that movie and theater using a major credit card. This service is available for over 150 Century Theaters screens at locations throughout California. As with MovieFone and MovieLink, users who purchase tickets through Century’s Web site are guaranteed tickets for the specific movie and showtime they select. The movie tickets are waiting for the customers when they arrive at the theater, at either an automated ticket dispensing machine in the theater lobby or the box office.

Century’s partnership with MovieLink adds the important element of advance ticketing to Century’s site many months before the holiday moviegoing season. “It was important to us to offer our patrons the convenience of buying tickets in advance through our own Web site and through MovieLink,” said Nancy Klasky, Century’s Vice President of Marketing. “MovieLink has given us this practical option to offer to our patrons.”

This new feature relies on the extensive infrastructure already in place to sell tickets for customers of MovieFone and MovieLink. MovieLink has over two years of experience selling movie tickets online and uses state-of-the-art secure transaction technology, including Netscape’s SSL-compatible Commerce Server, third-party encryption, and a private communication and authorization network, to complete thousands of transactions each week. The Century ticketing service will feature the same security measures.

“We are delighted to pioneer this new service with Century Theatres,” said Matt Blumberg, MovieLink General Manager. “Offering our theater partners the opportunity to build on MovieLink’s technology infrastructure means they can offer their patrons a wide range of services without having to reinvent the wheel. These partnerships reinforce MovieLink’s mission to be the most useful online service for moviegoers and movie marketers alike.”

Century Theaters is a San Francisco based motion picture exhibitor with over 500 screens in 5 western states.

MovieLink is the online sister service of MovieFone, the nation’s largest movie guide and ticketing service. Millions of moviegoers each week in 30 major cities use MovieFone and MovieLink to find movie show times and theater locations, and buy tickets. Through MovieFone’s familiar local phone number (such as 777-FILM) and MovieLink online (http://www.movielink.com), the company’s services cover 12,000 screens which account for 60 percent of the nation’s movie attendance. MovieFone, Inc. (NASDAQ: MOFN) is a public company with offices in New York and Los Angeles.

[1]: http://www.centurytheaters.com