Flixster's "Movies" aims to connect film fans

Fri Aug 28, 2009 2:36pm EDT
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By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Film website Flixster launched a new version of its iPhone application "Movies" this week, highlighting how technology and the Web are bringing Hollywood directly to fans and bypassing traditional information outlets like newspapers.

The transition has wreaked havoc on the newspaper industry which has seen advertising pages plummet as movie studios shift their marketing efforts to the Web, but for social networking websites like Flixster, the change is boosting their users.

"Movies" allows users of Apple Inc's iPhone to read about films and stars, buy tickets, and write their own reviews to share with others who in turn influence word-of-mouth publicity, or "buzz," for movies.

"For the first time, we have a tool that goes directly to a consumer," said Jason E. Squire, a professor at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts.

"Nothing is more challenging to an advertiser," he said.

Flixster, the social network behind the free-to-consumers "Movies" application, said it has seen an 83 percent increase in users over the last six months, and recently crossed the 6 million mark.

The application is linked to Flixster's website, and Flixster claims to have 20 percent of all U.S. iPhone owners using the "Movies" application.

"People say word-of-mouth is the single biggest determinant of whether to see a movie, and a lot of that word-of-mouth is now happening online through sites like ours," said Joe Greenstein, co-founder and chief executive of Flixster.   Continued...

<p>A man tries out the new iPhone 3GS on the first day it is being sold in Spain at the company's store in downtown Madrid June 19, 2009. REUTERS/Susana Vera</p>