ADOTAS – Moviefone, like the Soup Nazi, will always hold a special place in Seinfeld fans’ hearts (Kramer posed as the “real” Moviefone guy until George inadvertently foiled him). But while Moviefone is still going strong, with roughly 40 million users a year, the service does seem a bit, well, ’90s. However, a new partnership with Apptera and AOL’s Moviefone will usher in a new, ad-supported and significantly more high-tech era for the slightly behind-the-times Moviefone.
Moviefone will now use Apptera’s voice and visual mobile advertising technology to manage and monetize its calls. Beginning this fall, callers to Moviefone will hear a new and improved speech based interface that still uses the famous “Mr. Moviefone” voice and is still accessible by dialing “777-FILM” from local area codes. But the interminable waits for listings (fueled by repetitive keypad entries) will be replaced with insta-info (fueled by simple voice requests).
Mobile advertising company Apptera is providing the technology for the services. The deal expands Apptera’s reach into the movie showtime and ticket-ordering industry, highlights the growth of Apptera’s MobileAd Xchange, which now reaches an estimated 100 million callers a year with ads based on their geography and buying preferences. The company targets the “trend-spreader” demographic of mobile, connected 18 to 34-year-old consumers, who love to share their passion for music and movies with their peers and social networks.
Moviefone’s new ad-supported system will deploy ads in three ways: there will be the initial short, general ad for, say, a soft drink when the caller first dials in; ads for different movies in the same category (e.g. if the caller requests information on one action movie, an ad will play offering to send the caller a text message with ticket-buying info embedded in it when a separate, competing action movie is released) and an ad with coupons for restaurants that are close to the movie theater the caller has picked, Randy Halderman, Apptera’s chief marketing officer, told ADOTAS.
“As one of the premiere online and offline destinations for film fans, Moviefone continues to experience tremendous growth among fans and advertisers while simultaneously developing and deepening our partnerships with movie studios to develop new and innovative programs to create awareness for upcoming releases,” said AOL senior vice president Mike Rich. “This new partnership with Apptera helps us further drive advertising revenue while improving our consumer experience on the phone.”
Apptera’s MobileAd Technology generates revenue for Free-411 services, social music services and movie ticketing applications. The services are provided in-call, at the exact moment a consumer is interacting with a business over the phone.