EdFringe 2012 smartphone apps go live

Jun 21 2012 | By More

Android and iPhone versions available to download free

By Thom Dibdin

Edinburgh Fringe official  iPhone app front page

The front page of the official Edinburgh Frigne iPhone app.

Tickets for the Edinburgh fringe have gone on sale through the Fringe Society’s newly-updated smartphone apps for Android and iPhone. It is the first time that tickets have been available to buy ahead of the fringe itself.

The launch of the updated apps comes just five days after the Edinburgh Festivals Listings API initiative went live for 2012. First out of the blocks, however, was the iFringe review aggregation app run by Fringe Guru, which was available to download less than 24 hours after the data went live.

Ross Wilson of Kotikan, the company which created the fringe society apps, told the Annals: “The apps have the same functionality this year but we have done a lot of work on the CMS to help the app stay up to date.  We have optimised the data transfer so it is up to 90% faster to update this year.”

A spokesman for the Fringe Society added: “Last year we sold thousands of tickets through the apps for the iPhone and Android from a standing start.

“One of the reasons behind the establishment of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society in 1958 was to provide a box office for the participants at the Fringe. That was for 19 shows. In 2012 we’re providing that box office for 2,695 shows. With these apps we’re making sure that it’s as easy and as convenient as possible for Fringe audiences to buy their tickets.”

Kotikan is more specific about the statistics for last year’s use. The company told the Annals that the 2011 apps were downloaded over 45,000 times with 9.5% of users buying tickets through the apps.

Over 20,000 tickets were sold via mobile in 2011, or a little over 1% of the estimated total tickets issued for the whole fringe. The major use of the app is as a fringe programme guide with complete listings available off line.

According to Kotikan: “The busiest day for the app was Saturday 13 August when it was launched 31,257 times. App users were clearly big comedy fans, the most viewed shows were: Dave Gorman’s Power Point Presentation, Sarah Millican’s Thoroughly Modern Millican and in third place: Ed Byrne in Crowd Pleaser.

“The 2012 apps provide an up-to-date version of the full Fringe listings and give you the chance to skip the box office queues by booking tickets for shows directly through the app. You can also use the app to organise your Fringe events with My Festival planner and share details with friends on Facebook and Twitter.”

Once the festival starts, the apps allow users to see what’s available at the Half Price Hut. A Nearby Now feature allows users to find shows which are starting nearby.

Collection points

Once a ticket has been bought through the app, the physical ticket can be picked up from one of four ticket collection points at the Fringe Box Office, the Virgin Money Half Price Hut, The University of Edinburgh Visitor Centre and the Glasgow Box Office at ScotRail’s Queen Street Station. The app gives details of when these are open.

The home page of FringeGuru's iFringe app

The home page of FringeGuru’s iFringe app

The iFringe app, run by Fringe Guru, aggregates reviews. In 2011 it carried, as well as reviews from its own site, reviews from Broadway Baby, Edinburgh Spotlight, Fest, Fringe Review, Hairline and ThreeWeeks, plus video trailers from Festival Previews and Ewan Spence’s audio podcast sponsored by The Stage. Last year iFringe had over 12,000 users, who read its reviews over 70,000 times. By the end of the fringe it was carrying 2720 reviews of 1482 shows.

Fringe Guru’s editorial director, Richard Stamp, told the Annals: “We’ve made a real effort over the last couple of years to differentiate ourselves from the official app, because there’s just no point in having two free apps doing the same thing.

“We’re here for discerning Fringe-goers who like to be spontaneous, but who want to unearth those unexpected highlights with the help of trustworthy reviews. And by bringing together reviews from several publications, we make sure we represent the diversity of opinion at the Fringe, too.”

It appears that the fringe society’s dedicated iPad app will not be updated. It received very poor user reviews and a fringe spokesman told the Annals: “Last year’s iPad app was really just a pdf of the programme and was a trial. What our statistics showed was the people on iPads and other tablets used the website or the iPhone app more than they used the iPad app.”

The Edinburgh Fringe official app for Android is available here: https://play.google.com.
The Edinburgh Fringe official app for iPone is available here: http://itunes.apple.com
The FringeGuru iFringe app for iPhone is available here: http://itunes.apple.com



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