AOL (NYSE: AOL) has been looking for new ways to change the perception of its Moviefone site from a ticket ordering service to something of a hybrid commerce and content site. It’s hoping that its new iPad app will do that and offer something of an extension of its video content strategy as well.
The Moviefone app is meant to capitalize on AOL’s success with video, which is a major part of the company’s content strategy. This past week, comScore ranked AOL second among sites with the most video views, ahead of Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO), Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT), Facebook and Hulu.
The iPad app offers a prominent screen to view Moviefone’s the original series’ Unscripted and Six Second Reviews will be featured in the new Moviefone App for iPad. The app’s launch sponsor is New York City’s Tribeca Film Festival and the app will feature special peeks at some of the movies being presented.
The debut of the Moviefone iPad app comes after some bad publicity following the dismissal of AOL freelancers who wrote for the site. That resulted in more fallout when the editor was fired for e-mailing the ex-Moviefone writers and letting them know they could now contribute for free. (For additional background, check out a blog post about the episode from one of those canned freelancers, Eric Snider.)
Part of the problem in changing the perception of Moviefone is that visitors are used to going to it for a few related functions: checking movie times, buying tickets and maybe looking at some trailers.
The Moviefone app is designed to encourage other activity that may lead users to consider the site in different ways. Among the usual movie news and theater info, users can stream videos to their Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) TV (again, not too many consumers have that, but those without the over-the-top device might be inspired to plug their iPad into your TV and watch it that way.).
There’s also the typical Facebook, Twitter sharing functions, but iPad use might spur users to post items from the app to their social network, offering Moviefone a bit more promotion versus rivals like Fandango,
which has no differences between its iPhone and iPad apps, IMDb and Flixster/RottenTomatoes. Release