Ticketmaster Online-CitySearch (TMCS) continued its aggressive move into electronic commerce Monday with the unveiling of a service that will allow users to purchase tickets using such mobile communication devices as telephones, personal digital assistants and pagers.
The new service, called “Local Intelligence,” is set to go live May 19th in 32 U.S. cities, giving cell phone users access to tickets, local news and information relating to events at more than 3,750 venues around the country.
The company plans to include a feature that will enable customers to create individual profiles at Citysearch.com, Ticketmaster.com and Match.com allowing them to receive details targeted to their preferences on their cell phones.
The new mobile service is part of a much larger initiative that TMCS outlined earlier this year when it announced the establishment of a new unit of the company to tailor services to wireless devices.
“We see the next phase of Internet growth to be wireless,” said Vice-President of TMCS Mobile Paul LaFontaine. “We see our content transactions as being useful applications in that growth.”
In the first quarter of 2000, Ticketmaster sold more than 20 percent of its tickets online, up 18 percent from the previous quarter. By the end of this year, the company anticipates selling 40 percent of its tickets on the Internet.
Wooing with Convenience
Ticketmaster is clearly counting on wooing customers with the convenience factor of purchasing tickets online. The company hopes consumers will be willing to sacrifice a modicum of privacy for the convenience of not having to stand in lines or take the time to deal with telephone sales.
Additionally, a Web site can offer more information faster, including seating charts and event listings by place and date.
The company is also using tracking methods to generate more sales among repeat customers. For example, if an online customer tries to buy seats for a sold out event, the Web site instantly suggests alternative events that fit in with preferences indicated in the user’s previous purchases.
Entertainers and other public figures are increasingly considering Ticketmaster’s site as a marketing venue. For example, the rock band Yes recently made use of the Ticketmaster database to send consumers a digital audio postcard. Seventy percent of users who clicked on the Yes banner ad at Ticketmaster’s Web site followed through and downloaded the group’s music.
Ticketmaster Online also formed a Mobile Alliance Partner Program to enable other Web properties and companies to work with Ticketmaster and CitySearch to develop further services for wireless phone users. The partners include AvantGo, Ericsson, NeoPoint, Nokia, OmniSky, Palm Computing, Phone.com and VoiceStream Wireless.