When Theaters Went Dark, Fandango Pivoted To Consumers Stuck At Home

A lot of people, probably most, think of Fandango as a movie ticket purveyor. That it is. But it also own Rotten Tomatoes and Vudu and provides tons of entertainment content.

Lori Pantel, its CMO (above, right), called it the "ultimate digital network for all things, movie and TV." Beyond the tickets, it offered movie clips, works with CPGs to offer tickets or streaming rentals as a reward or as part of a promotional package. It's the No. 1 movie trailer channel on YouTube. "We support the whole ecosystem of entertainment."

Before COVID-19 hit, the D2C brand's target was movie entertainment fans. As new movies came to theaters, it came to the home three or four months later. Fandango leveraged its relationships with its consumers with a "powerful CRM program, a balance of heart and commerce." At its core were customizable data and insights.

Then, in mid-March, one of Fandango's verticals went to zero. That's when all movie theaters closed. It dialed down its outreach immediately the first week and then came back with news about the theaters, providing content and editorial from Rotten Tomatoes' lists. Following that it created a ticketing platform in four days for its in-home offerings and rejiggered its app to highlight in-home films.

"We saw amazingly high engagement and strong click-through," said Pantel. "Consumers needed it."Next up, it worked with its theater partners to create forward-looking ticketing features like social distance seating maps, and with its studio partners to offer movies that couldn't be shown in the theaters to people locked up at home "Entertainment has always been a resource for giving us a break from reality," she said.

In hindsight, she said, what COVID has done for all marketers is expedite the conversation and given consumers more opportunity to experiment. "We will continue to message, mix our brands more," she said. "COVID has given our audience a chance to be introduced again to some of the Fandango properties. Our biggest hope is that we've been a resource. Our mission is to usher consumers to the most moving entertainment experiences."

Pantel was interview by MediaPost's Lisa Singer, event editorial manager, above left.

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