Ticketmaster to Offer Wireless Sales

FRAMINGHAM (04/04/2000) - Ticketmaster Online-CitySearch Inc. plans to start offering cellular telephone users the ability to buy theater and movie tickets by phone this May, making it the first company to provide such a service to wireless phone users, company officials said.

The Pasadena, California-based ticket agency already offers its services - which include online entertainment and restaurant guides in major cities across the U.S. - to users of Palm Inc.'s personal digital assistants. Ticketmaster has decided to offer its content on wireless devices with the "highest density of users," according to Paul LaFontaine, vice president of corporate development.

Ticketmaster has tapped Redwood City, California-based Phone.com as its partner to help translate its content for cell phone service "because they provide us with experience with user interfaces" as well as underlying Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) phone technology, said LaFontaine. Ticketmaster will use Phone.com's WAP software developer's kit to translate its wired Web content for use on mobile phones manufactured by more than 25 companies.

Phone.com, which has agreements with more than 50 wireless carriers, including Sprint PCS, said it will "encourage" those operators to work with Ticketmaster in providing information crafted for local service areas.

Ticketmaster's LaFontaine said the company also has targeted the Microsoft Corp. PocketPC, scheduled to debut April 19, as another logical platform for its content. Ticketmaster would like to customize content for the PocketPC in order to take advantage of the device's features, such as easier user input and a larger screen than cell phones offer, LaFontaine said.

However, Ticketmaster will not introduce PocketPC service until it meets his user-density threshold, which LaFontaine described as "millions of devices."

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