MoviePass is a cinema subscription service that lets you watch one movie per day @ $9.95 per month. Meaning, you could watch 30 movies in a month for a price of single movie ticket.
When you subscribe to a MoviePass, they will send you a MoviePass Debit card in 7 days.
You will need a smartphone to check-in at a theater (within 100 yards). The ticket money will be added to your debit card, and you can buy a movie ticket. This money will expire after 30 minutes.
You do the same every time you want to watch a movie with MoviePass.
I found $9.95 subscription too good to be true (and crazy) and decided to give it a try. I set up an online account and registered. My cards arrived a month back, and since then I have been to more than 8 movies.
So far I have not repented my decision.
So, whats the catch?
One thing is for sure, nobody except MoviePass is losing money. Subscribers are paying only $9.95; not a penny more. And Theaters are selling tickets for full prices.
So you ask, what’s the deal? How is MoviePass making money anyway?
I did some research and confirmed MoviePass indeed is losing money. But according to their CEO Mitch Lowe, MoviePass is an insurance program. Their Business model is to study the user behavior and sell relevant products in the future.
Google, Facebook, Mint follow similar business models.
MoviePass will make money once data analysis starts. They need enough data for this analysis.
Like Facebook which makes more money when you continue to use it more, by selling ads and your data.
What Google is to e-mail is MoviePass is to the cinema.
MoviePass is not in the business of selling movie tickets. Tickets are not their commodity. We (User’s) and our behavior (data) are their commodities.
They need more data to make money.
Hence the cheap $9.95 subscription is to collect more data, analyze, and used to suggest products in future.
Makes sense? Maybe!
AMC hates MoviePass and puts restrictions on exchanges. I will tell you later why AMC hates MoviePass.
Not every theater is allowing MoviePass yet.
Also, Advanced purchases are not possible as very few theaters allow the online sale. Luckily I have a movie theater in 2 miles from my house. So this is not a big deal for me.
There are problems in MoviePass app with the online check-in. You have to be within 100 yards of a movie theater to buy tickets. This can be a problem if the network near the theater is bad or too many people are around. I had to reboot my phone, or/and uninstall and install the MoviePass app again.
Why AMC hates MoviePass?
Online subscribers like Netflix have been on the nerves of major theater chains. They grew fast in the last decade. Thus, Cinemas have been seeing fewer people. Fewer people have been seeing cinemas (in theaters).
In the past 6 months, MoviePass has signed up 1.5 million subscribers and brought back more people than ever.
But, according to AMC “that price level is unsustainable and only sets up consumers for ultimate disappointment down the road if or when the product can no longer be fulfilled. We are actively working now to determine whether it may be feasible to opt out and not participate in this shaky and unsustainable program.”
AMC assumes if MoviePass fails, people will stop going to theaters.
If $9.95 becomes popular, MoviePass can start dictating the terms to AMC; like to lower prices.
AMC also assumes these low prices will not be enough to make good movies.
Only time will tell us if MoviePass will survive.
Until then we can wait and watch (more movies).
Nobody knows the future. As consumers, we can only hope for somebody like MoviePass to happen anytime. And hope they sweep away traditional businesses and industries for good.
Everyone has to keep up with changing times.
Change is permanent.