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Fandango

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4/5 User rating

fandango.com

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It is true that the landscape of the film industry has been irrevocably altered over the last decade or two. With the rise of the internet came the rise of streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video – all of which have led to great changes in the ways that films are released, as well as the ways in which people choose to view movies.

Once upon a time, the only way to see a new movie was to physically leave your house and go to the movie theatre. It was a whole to do. If we look further back in history, the cinema was nothing short of a cultural staple, particularly in the United States, and people got dressed up to go to the movie theater and catch a comparatively rare glimpse at their favorite stars on the big screen.

Movie theaters since then have evolved, and as time marched on from the 1950s through to the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s, the cinema took on new and different forms of cultural importance. In the later years of the 20th century, for instance, visiting the cinema became less of an extravagant night out on the town and more of a commonplace activity.

Teenagers and young adults, for example, flocked to movie theaters for dates during these years. And can you blame them? What a better atmosphere to take a love interest? It’s dark, you can sit elbow to elbow with your date, making the potential for physical touch not only more likely but easier to execute under the cloak of darkness. Plus, it takes the burden off of the pressure to converse that would exist on a first date at, say, a restaurant. At a movie, you and your date are automatically entertained. Plus, it gives you something to naturally talk about after the fact.

Today, however, as we enter into the first few weeks of the 2020s, the movie theater is a far cry from what it once was. Instead of a regularly frequented spot for date nights, family outings, and friendly gatherings, the cinema has become something of a novelty … something that you do every once in a great while – perhaps to mix things up, maybe because you had other plans but they have been rained out; some people even tend to go merely for the nostalgia factor alone.

The reason for the large downtick in going to the movies is due to the fact that, for the most part, any movie that one could want to see is available on our computers, smartphones, and smart TVs. It is no longer necessary, in other words, to leave the house and spend, say $30 or $40 in order to see a single movie. Why do that, some people reason, when you can watch hundreds of movies for a fraction of the price. Just throw on Netflix, watch a brand-new original movie from the comfort of your couch, without paying a dime over the $10 per month that you already pay for the service. Right?

Well, not everybody agrees. And, surely, if only periodically, you find yourself craving a trip to the movie theater. It’s a unique and unrivaled experience, after all, when it comes to seeing a film in the highest quality possible. No matter how expensive or impressive your home entertainment center may be, chances are it pales in comparison to the top-notch projectors and speakers they’ll have at your local movie theater.

And so, the cinema, although slightly less popular these days than in the past, is far from dead. Luckily, though, we have sites and apps today such as Fandango that make purchasing tickets easier, quicker, and more convenient than ever before.

History

Fandango was founded at the very beginning of the 21st century, on April 27th, 2000. The service was immediately successful, and revenue streams grew steadily for several years. However, as movie theater chains caught on more and more to the internet age, they began offering their own ticket selling services through their websites. Alongside this came a new generation of moviegoers that began simply printing their own tickets at home. Fandango suffered a pretty big blow as a result – however, it was not enough to sink the company.

Fandango has managed to continue to thrive against all factors of adversity, in part because of smart acquisitions and corporate partnering strategies. In April of 2007, for example, Fandango was acquired by Comcast. In 2012, the company also announced a partnership with Yahoo! Movies, which would place Fandango in the position of the official online movie ticketer for registered Yahoo! users.

From there, Fandango had the funds to begin acquiring smaller companies for themselves. Between 2012 and today, Fandango has acquired Brazilian ticketing company, Ingresso; M-Go (which would later become Fandango Now); Flixster; and Rotten Tomatoes. It would appear as if Fandango’s refusal to give up has paid off for them in the long run.

Design

The Fandango website is flashy without being too distracting or cluttered. This is a very difficult balance to strike in web design. It catches the eye with bright oranges and blues set against a white background. But it doesn’t overwhelm. Carousel banners rapidly present slides of the featured content, including movie recommendations, exclusive interviews, and inside scoops on the ins and outs of Hollywood.

At the top of the page, you’ll find a scrollable horizontal window where you can browse all of the movies currently in theaters. It’s nice to be able to do this right from the home page, and it is the first thing that you see when you arrive on Fandango.com. Additionally, down the page a little further, you will find offers from Fandango partner companies. I don’t know about you, but I’ll take a coupon over an ad any day. Not that Fandango is completely replete of advertisements. However, they are for new and upcoming movies; so, at least the ads are useful in the context of the site!

Content

So, obviously, you can purchase movie tickets on Fandango. That’s kind of a given for a movie ticketing site. But what other services and features does Fandango offer? Well, for one thing, it is a great resource for keeping up to date with everything that is new and coming soon to theaters. So, if you so desired, you could easily use Fandango as a resource to be informed about new and upcoming films.

However, that is not all that Fandango does. There are also sections on the site dedicated to what’s new on streaming services, the top box office lists, trailers of upcoming films to get excited about, as well as tons of movie news and reviews. Plus, for consumers of film and media entertainment news, there are plenty of individual, specialized sections for your reading pleasure.

Stay in the loop of who’s winning what and who’s getting nominated for prestigious honors with Fandango’s Awards Watch. Or stay informed about what’s happening in the Indie film scene with Indie Movie Guide. Plus, fans of horror have their own news sections, as do families looking to see what is on the horizon for them and their kids. Fandango’s movie news section is actually like several niche film blogs rolled into one convenient location.

Desktop and Mobile Experience

As I said before, I quite enjoy how the site is designed overall. It is just as optimized whether you are viewing it through your desktop web browser or the one on your phone. Fandango, too, I am happy to report, has a sleek and useful app that is definitely worth checking out as well.

Rated 4.8 out of 5 stars on the Apple App Store (they boast over 1 million 5-star reviews), the Fandango app is the only movie ticketing app you’ll ever need. It is sleek and intuitive, allowing you to buy tickets and pick seats in a matter of just a few taps of the thumb.

Pricing and Plans

Fandango does not offer any paid subscriptions or plans. Everything on the site (other than the tickets themselves, of course) is 100% free to use. They even offer a service called Fandango VIP. This also comes with no extra fee and allows users to save money through rewards points, gain access to additional cross-promotional perks, receive no-stress refunds and ticket exchanges, and write movie reviews on the site. If you want to get the most out of Fandango, I don’t see why you wouldn’t take advantage of this free rewards program.

Suggestions that I have for Fandango

As far as a ticketing site is concerned, it doesn’t get much better than this. I suppose if I had to suggest anything to Fandango, seeing as the original content is king these days, it would probably behoove them to try their hand at producing some original content of their own, allowing users to stream it from their site. Even if they just did a short film or two, Fandango could generate exponentially more visitors (and, thus, potentially more ticket purchases) with some larger draw for people to visit the site.

Conclusion

All in all, Fandango is king when it comes to movie ticketing sites. One visit to Fandango.com and I guarantee that you will be excited to take your next trip to the movie theater. Enjoy!

Likes & Hates:
Flashy (but not excessive) site design
Easy and convenient way to buy movie tickets
Site and app function great
Rewards and perks
Would like to see more streaming on the site