One thing that most of us do a lot is watch movies. Other than shopping and hanging out with friends, watching movies is perhaps one of the most common social activities we do with our friends.
A Singapore based company is leveraging on that. Many of you may have heard of it: Popcorn, an app which allows you to easily browse for the movie showtimes in all major Singapore cinema chains. You can also book your movie tickets through the app, which was launched back in 2012.
Fast forward two years later, Popcorn has managed to exceed more than 1 million downloads on smartphones. When it was first launched, a publication focusing on new apps called iMerlion gave it a glowing review, saying that Popcorn “blows away the competition”, and is the “only app you will need”.
Whole New Desktop Experience
Of course, these are old stories.
What caught our attention was that the team recently relaunched a whole new online site, aiming to bring the mobile experience back to desktop. While everyone else is moving from desktop to mobile, Popcorn is replicating its success and experience in mobile onto desktop.
“Popcorn has managed to exceed more than 1,000,000 downloads on mobile since our launch in late 2012, but we didn’t have any meaningful online presence other than a basic “one-page-download-our-app” website,” founder of Popcorn Lee Ken Ming told Vulcan Post.
When you arrive at the desktop view of Popcorn, similar to its mobile app, the first feature you see is the prominent search bar, allowing you to choose which movie you want to watch, as well as the cinema you want to visit. If you are undecided, you can also visit the “In Cinemas” tab to check out what are all the movies you can watch along with their respective showtimes across all cinemas.
Preserving The Mobile Experience
The idea isn’t new: a few other sites are also aggregating the showtimes of various cinemas into one portal, giving cinema-goers an added convenience of not needing to visit all the different cinema websites to check all the available showtimes. The biggest site doing this currently is Insing Movies, which is under the SingTel digital media group.
But that didn’t worry Popcorn as it is replicating its mobile experience online. If there’s one thing which the team learnt from its widely downloaded mobile app, it would be that users love the browsing experience on the mobile platform. The results? Barely two months since launching the website, site visits has more than quadrupled as compared to last month.
“We wanted to preserve the same user experience our users have come to love about Popcorn – convenient, quick and easy-to-use. While mobile internet adoption has overtaken desktop, we want to continue expanding our footprint to be where users are spending their time online. Traffic-wise, the site is barely two months old but site visits has more than quadrupled this month compared to the last and the trend is very positive despite the existing competition,” shared Ken Ming.
Competing Against InSing
We couldn’t help but also asked the Popcorn team more about the competition, specifically inSing Movies, which is under the SingTel Digital Media arm. While InSing has a strong online presence due to higher resources, Ken Ming told us that they are “still number one on mobile”.
“They also have the HungryGoWhere web traffic to help boost the overall search ranking of the insing.com domain, so it will definitely be a challenge to claim the top spot on Google,” shared Ken Ming.
While InSing has a high web traffic, Ken Ming hinted that InSing seem to have “adopted a spitting-image” of Popcorn mobile app’s signature search feature (which was launched in version 1.0) with its latest InSing movie iOS update, and noted that they are “definitely amused and flattered at the homage”.
What about DVDs?
Another interesting observation about the newly launched Popcorn website is that there is a section dedicated to DVD rentals. Clicking on it redirects you to an external site Hollywoodclicks, a DVD renting website which has been around since 2004. Claimed to be Singapore’s largest online DVD rental store, Hollywoodclicks has a library of over 17,000 DVD titles. For as little as S$24.61 a month, customers can rent as many DVDs as they want. The DVD renting feature is also available on the Popcorn mobile app, where users can rent movies through the app.
When asked about this, Ken Ming declined to reveal more on his plans.
Popcorn seems to have a big master plan in mind: to help Singaporeans discover and enjoy the best movies, be it in cinemas through Popcorn, or at the comfort of their house through DVD rentals on Hollywoodclicks.