Fandango has been steadily growing as the go-to place for users to purchase movie tickets online and on their mobile phone. But now it also wants to boost its original content, to become a go-to place for movie fans to learn about upcoming movies as well as those in theaters or available on Blu-ray. To do so, it’s hired former Disney exec Paul Yanover.
Yanover, who previously served as EVP and managing director of Disney Online, will report to NBCU President of Digital Nick Lehman. Fandango EVP and GM Rick Butler will remain at the company and continue to run Fandango’s day-to-day operations. I spoke with Yanover earlier today, about what his plans are for Fandango, both as a place for users to purchase movie tickets and as a destination site for movie fans.
After Comcast acquired a majority stake in NBC Universal, Fandango was rolled into NBCU, along with most of Comcast’s cable and regional sports networks. Since then, the company has been operating under the NBCU umbrella — and growing fast. Fandango has been regularly reporting record sales of movie tickets both on its website and through its mobile apps, but it wants to be more than just a place where people buy tickets.
With that in mind, Yanover is taking over Fandango’s overall business strategy, as the company focuses on building a multiplatform original content strategy. While the company has been gradually expanding the number of exhibitors it supports and total number of screens that viewers can buy tickets for — it now has more than 20,000 screens across the U.S. — the company is also looking to become more of a destination site for movie fans.
Yanover wouldn’t break out what percentage of Fandango’s revenues come from its transactional ticket selling, and how much comes from its ads. But he did say that both the e-commerce and media sides of the business are incredibly important. With more than 41 million uniques monthly already, Fandango is building up an original content strategy to drive even more traffic.
As part of that initiative, Fandango also just hired away Entertainment Weekly’s Dave Karger. Yanover said he expects the longtime Oscar expert to become the public face of Fandango, and sees a lot of opportunity for synergies with other NBCU properties — that is, appearing on shows like Today, Access Hollywood, and on the E! entertainment network. That’s the sort of cross-promotion that can happen when you’re a small brand in a major media conglomerate, and it’ll be key to Fandango growing its user base over time.
After all, more original content means more eyeballs — and more eyeballs will mean more ad revenue and more users clicking through and buying more movie tickets.