Trends: Paperless Movie Tickets


Have QR codes replaced paper tickets at your neighbourhood cinema yet? They’re starting to gain traction here in Hong Kong. I tried it out last week when I went online to order movie tickets. The ticket buying procedure is the same as it always has been except at the end I was asked if I would like to have a QR code sent to my mobile device instead of swiping my credit card at the cinema and receiving traditional paper tickets on the spot. I bit and moments later an email arrived with a QR code attached. I saved the code to my phone.

When I arrived at the cinema a few days later, I went straight to the ticket collector. I showed him my code, which he quickly scanned. “House 3, seat J6”, he read out and I went inside. Now Hong Kong’s cinemas are, for the most part, multiplexes, and once I got to the concession stand I forgot where I was supposed to sit. I figured the cinema would have another scanner nearby for people like me but no such luck, so I went up to one of the ushers, showed him my code, and asked him how I could find out where my seat was. He quickly called down to the ticket collector who remembered that the foreigner was assigned to seat J6. Great, I thought, but what happens if many people download the QR code?

I think paperless tickets are a great idea but it needs a bit of tweaking if it’s going to work here. Two solutions are possible: (1) Cinema operators need to install QR code readers at the entrances to their screening rooms and/or provide their staff with handheld readers, or (2) They need to include seating (as well as film and room) information along with the QR code. The second solution is obviously much cheaper to implement than the first.

Let’s see how long it takes for them to figure this out.

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4 thoughts on “Trends: Paperless Movie Tickets

    1. Here in Hong Kong, assigned seating is the norm and has been that way forever. Even before there was the Internet, we would go to the box office and choose our seats.

      1. 2 exceptions, the HK film archive and the HK art center cinemas. A norm can be changedm though (and this one should be)

      2. You obviously live in HK… or you know it very well! 🙂 The difference with your exceptions is that neither of these venues is a commercial venue so they can get away with offering free seating. I don’t know that the public would want to go back to free seating at the commercial cinemas. I’m curious, though, why do you think free seating is better?

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