UK cinemas are to begin trialling the acceptance of digital ID verification using the Yoti smartphone app, as government looks to boost the tech’s acceptance
Cinemas in the UK are to begin accepting the use of digital IDs instead of a physical document for young cinema-goers under a new plan.
The UK Cinema Association, which represents more than 90 percent of cinemas including operators Cineworld, Odeon, Showcase Cinemas and Vue, is to begin accepting the Yoti digital ID app at selected sites.
The plan is aimed at making it easier for young customers to verify their age for restricted films, while also potentially reducing friction with cinema staff.
Younger customers are more likely not to have a physical ID with them, such as a driver’s licence or passport.
The free Yoti smartphone app allows the user to scan a physical photo ID such as a passport, then use the smartphone camera to verify their identity.
The app then creates a digital ID card that can be shown at the cinema ticket office and only reveals age information.
Participating cinemas will also accept the EasyID app from Yoti and the Post Office.
UK Cinema Association chief executive Phil Clapp said about 30 percent of cinemagoers are 15 to 24 years old and another 20 percent 9 to 14 years old.
“For many wanting to get into a 15 or even 18 certificate film, proving their age – without a passport or driving licence to hand – can be incredibly difficult and an understandable source of frustration should they be turned away from the cinema,” he said.
Yoti’s apps have been downloaded more than 11 million times globally and its digital identity verification software is used by the Jersey Government, the Scottish Improvement Service, the NHS, Virgin Atlantic and NSPCC.
The company says some 30,000 UK high street locations accept the digital ID apps.
“Young people expect to be able to do everything with their phone, and using it to prove their age will come naturally to them. It’s a win-win for both cinemas and young cinemagoers,” said Yoti chief executive and co-founder Robin Tombs.
London-based Yoti, founded in 2014, has relied on bootstrap funding from its founders until recently, but in February said it was taking on £8 million to £10m in outside funding from individual investors, with a larger Series B round of £40m-£60m for venture capital investors planned for later this year.
The UK government said in March it plans to propose legislation aimed at boosting the use of digital IDs by making them “as trusted and secure” as physical official documents, for instance requiring digital ID companies to gain a trustmark.