Site Review: Online Movie Ticketing Sites

I regularly buy movie tickets online. Bangaloreans have many choices but primarily the ones that come to my mind are – Fame Cinemas, PVR Cinemas and INOX. It must be noted that these three movie theater chains are big guys. Spending few lacs of Rupees to improve their portal will not even cause a dent in their balance sheets. What few of them lack is the will.

INOX

Look and feel is terrible. Text is just not readable.

They surely have an understanding of what the user may want but not sure why they haven’t executed it well.

INOX Locator

The above image is from “INOX Locator” page. All cities have been grouped together except Bangalore. Why? Click on “Bangalore – Magrath Road” and you will see the schedule,

Bangalore INOX Schedule

Bangalore INOX Schedule

They have their thinking right. They clearly say “Show appearing in white are available for online booking”, unfortunately they have a very small quota for internet booking. Also observe the spelling of Telugu (Telegu). Clearly this has been implemented in Delhi who have no idea about South Indian languages. The URL of Bangalore schedules page is http://www.inoxmovies.com/inox/wcms/en/home/our-cinema/banglore.html – a long and unfriendly URL, nothing wrong, nobody is going to remember the URL as they will only click on their portal and reach that page but observe the spelling of Bangalore (banglore.html). No harm but it would be nice for them to pay attention to these small details.

PVR Cinemas

I have used the Bangalore part of their portal.  Look and feel is bad.

What does “Select Cinema” mean for a common man? For me, Cinema and Movie are the same. I get the impression “Select Cinema” means I need to select the movie I am interested in. Wrong. It is a drop down for selecting the theater. There is a need for this drop down but not for every city. For e.g. if you are from NCR you get to choose PVR theaters from “different locations” in NCR. Makes sense. But for Bangalore it just doesn’t make sense. They have just ONE PVR location (Forum mall) which has three “types” of theaters – Classic, Europa, Gold. For Bangaloreans this flow is very unfriendly. I want to see Ghajini and I don’t know in which type of theater at Forum Mall (Classic, Europa or Gold) Ghajini is being shown. So I have to first select Classic and check if Ghajini is being shown, if not, check for Europa. Isn’t this meaningless?

People usually know which movie they want to see. So the first menu should be the movie name (Select Movie) and then you should have “Select Cinema”.

“Show Time” doesn’t load properly in Firefox. Works fine in IE. Also for few combinations of cinema, movie, date the “Show Time” menu is empty. How can that be?

The items in “Select Movie” is confusing. They need to be sorted by some logic – language and/or movie name.  Possibly they have some logic but I couldn’t figure it out. Best is to have the latest movie at the top. It is reasonably “safe” to assume majority of their customers would want to buy tickets for Ghajini, push that name up instead of burying it somewhere in the long list of menu (this suggestion is applicable to all movie ticket booking sites)

Coming to “Select Class”, if there is just one choice for the user to select why can’t the backend “pre-select” that option? For Classic, Ghajini, Dec 26, 3:20 PM option the ONLY item in “Select Class” is “Normal (Rs 300)”” – why even bother to ask the user to click on “Select Class”, choose Rs 300 (which I don’t find it Normal, I think the rates are Abnormal these days)?

Fame Cinemas

Undoubtedly Fame is the best. All seats from all their theaters are available on the net. Other theaters reserve only few rows for the internet (which may not be a bad thing but they should increase the quota for internet users).

They seem to have invested time in the product but then it is not rocket science. Others have put in effort in making something simple complicated. Few points about Fame,

  • They promptly send a newsletter every week (very professionally done). No spam. Nothing. Good job.
  • They had double charged my credit card. I sent an email, within an hour it was resolved. No sweat. But this could have been avoided if their backend had detected the double charge on its own. Interaction with their backoffice was pleasant.
  • Until recently they were not sending the booking confirmation by SMS, one had to write it down and take it to the theaters. Very unfriendly. Now they seem to have implemented SMS notification which they should have done from day one because they charge Rs 15 per ticket as service charge (for internet booking). Their service charge is very high.

Suggestion For All Theater Portals

  • When users send feedback mails, please respond. You are what you are because of us.
  • When portals like oneindia.in write to you asking for the schedule feed, give it. It is in your benefit to share the schedule.
  • If a drop down menu has just one option, pre-select it. If a drop down menu doesn’t have any items fire your programmer (or preferably the manager).
  • Have a loyalty program.
  • Give a discount for buying tickets online. We are reducing your overheads.
  • FIX the machines in your theaters which issue the tickets for those who bought it on the internet. None of your machines work.

Comments

  1. not just online movie ticketing sites. all indian sites, with a few exceptions, suck big time when it comes to look and feel, usability and navigability, content and application. in general, given a problem, indians can solve it. however we are total morons when it comes to innovation and presentation. money is not really an issue here. one can just copy design from elsewhere or use a template from open source web design: oswd.org

    sites that truly stand out as world class are the matrimonial sites, and it is pretty obvious why. competition is there and the web presence is their bread and butter.

  2. Bhadramurti K says:

    I don’t think all Indian sites suck. Some of the online movie and air ticketing sites are really good. They are as good as anything out there in the world.

    One of my friends works for a site called http://www.nomorequeue.com. It is a new site but the look and feel is intuitive

    Bhadra

Leave a Reply