Mtel joins Major on cinema app roll-out

Mr Narute (left) and Mr Visarut at the launch of the Major Cineplex Super App.

Major Cineplex Group Plc, Thailand's leading cinema chain, has formed a joint venture with Mtel, a Hong Kong digital solutions company, to provide a digital solution platform for theatres and movie companies globally.

Founded last year, Major Cineplex and Mtel Hong Kong hold 70% and 30% stakes, respectively, in the new firm.

Mtel Thailand aims to reinvent the movie business and develop applications to enhance Major's business in Thailand, before shifting services overseas in the second half of this year.

Visarut Poolvaraluk, director of Major Cineplex Group Plc, said the company is ready to launch a new app, called Major Cineplex Super App, in the first quarter.

The app bills itself as the first in the cinema segment embedded with artificial intelligence in the form of a digital assistant.

With the app, the online ticket booking channel will account for some 80% of total ticket sales by 2021, Mr Visarut said.

The company sold total 34 million movie tickets last year, 71% of which were offered via ticket kiosks, 21% from box offices and 8% via mobile app.

Major aims to sell some 34.9 million movie tickets this year, with 20% sold via mobile app, 75% via kiosks and the rest at the box office.

Willy Wong, chief executive of Mtel, said the smart app is a joint development of Mtel and Major. The app integrates all services and movie experiences such as information search for films, ticket booking and entertainment activities.

Narute Jiensnong, chief marketing officer at Major Cineplex Group, said the company spent 10 million baht developing the app, with an additional 20 million to be spent later this year.

The new app with AI features will enable the company to better understand customer behaviour by offering better services to fit needs and lifestyles.

"We expect to increase the sales of online ticket bookings to 20% in 2019 and 50-80% by 2021, compared with 5-8% last year," Mr Narute said. "This app will help us sell other products and encourage customers to repurchase and see movies more often."

In addition to the local market, Major will offer the service to cinema chains worldwide.

"We are in discussions with three or four chains in Asia to offer them our services and expect to start in the next six months," Mr Narute said.

Major predicts 15 million downloads of the app this year.


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