That headline may give the folks at the NBCUniversal-owned movie ticketing company a heart attack. Their release this morning crows that Fandango had the “Best Year In Company History,” just like its release last year called 2012 its “Best Year In Company History,” and the year before was its “Best Year Ever At The Movies.” But it’s hard to say what these conclusions mean because Fandango releases different data each year to make its case — and doesn’t disclose the most revealing number: how many tickets it sold. This year it wants to boast about mobile growth. (Who doesn’t?) But the year-over-year figures suffer from what movie studios euphemistically like to call “difficult comparisons.” Fandango benefited last year when it signed on AMC Entertainment, the No. 2 exhibitor, as well as online services Yahoo, AOL, and MSN. (This year it added IMDB.) Fandango offered no caveats last year when it took credit for the 57% “surge in annual ticket sales” vs 2011. It doesn’t offer an equivalent figure for 2013, which likely would be much lower. The company does say that mobile ticket sales were up 57% vs. 2012. That’s an impressive figure, but represents a slowdown from last year’s 171% growth, and the 73% increase in 2011. Smart phone and tablet users accounted for more than 40% of 2013 sales, up from 30% in 2012. President Paul Yanover says this year’s “incredible surge in mobile ticketing” is “attributable to the innovative products and new video-enhanced experiences we launched across mobile devices and connected platforms in 2013.” Fandango also reports a 15% rise in monthly visitors to its online and mobile destinations, a deceleration from 34% growth in 2012. The company offers additional data for 2013: Its app was downloaded 39M times, up 25.8% vs. last year. Some 47% of its tickets were sold after the opening weekend, which it says up from 41% last year. That suggests the service is not just for fanboys and girls afraid of missing a film that might be sold out. Fandango adds that it serves 22,000 screens, equal to 75% of U.S. total that sell tickets in advance.
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