Fandango sells ‘Brightburn’ tickets through televised QR codes

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  • Movie-ticketing company Fandango is letting moviegoers buy tickets to “Brightburn,” the superhero horror film from Sony Pictures Entertainment, by pointing their smartphone cameras at the TV screen. Commercials for the movie have a QR code that, after a quick scan, automatically brings mobile users to the Fandango website to make a purchase, according to a company announcement.
  • The “Brightburn” campaign marks the first time web-based QR codes have been used to sell movie tickets, Fandango said in its announcement. The web-based code doesn’t require a separate app download, making ticket-buying easier for mobile users.
  • “Brightburn” opens at movie theaters nationwide today. Fandango’s website has more than 60 million unique visitors a month, according to comScore data cited by the company.


Fandango’s use of QR codes in the commercial for “Brightburn” aims to close the loop between seeing a TV spot and buying movie tickets. The company touts the simplicity of ticket-buying processes that rely on the embedded technology of smartphones and don’t require mobile users to search for and download a specialized QR code reader or separate app. Frictionless transactions are a key part of boosting consumer adoption of the technology.

QR codes have gone through cycles of gaining and losing popularity over the years, especially after makers of smartphones added near-field communications (NFC) chips to their devices, eliminating the need for special apps to scan via mobile cameras. QR codes appear to be making somewhat of a comeback as smartphone makers embed QR scanners into their mobile operating systems by default. Apple added native QR code scanning to its camera app in 2017. Last year’s iOS update let iPhone users add the QR scanner to the smartphone’s control center for easy accessibility. Several of Google’s apps, including Google Camera, Google Lens, Google Assistant and Chrome, also can scan QR codes.

QR codes may open a broader marketing channel for direct-to-consumer (DTC) transactions. Comcast’s NBCUniversal this month unveiled ShoppableTV that relies on QR codes to create “on-air shoppable moments” for viewers. NBC, NBC Sports, Telemundo, USA Network, Bravo, E! and CNBC Prime are among the company’s brands that are participating in the direct-sales effort. NBC tested the technology on its “Today” show and reported tens of thousands of smartphone scans within minutes and sales reaching six figures, suggesting that consumers are receptive to this type of process that bridges TV content with commerce through a smartphone.

The “Brightburn” campaign is Fandango’s latest mobile innovation. Fandango last year partnered with Google to let consumers buy movie tickets with voice commands using Google Assistant and added Google Pay as a digital payment option for movie ticket purchases on its online, mobile and social platforms.

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