Photo: AP Subscription to movie service MoviePass gained massive popularity last year by offering something so simple and sensible that…
Subscription to movie service MoviePass gained massive popularity last year by offering something so simple and sensible that it was inevitable: one movie a day for $ 10 a month. But that plan did not work for MoviePass bank account, and it started bleeding money and customers. Now, hope to make a return by making things extra complicated.
The belaguered execs from MoviePass do a bit of a media blitz today with profiles in the Wired and New York Times. The big takeaway is that they want everyone to know that things are good, great! But they know they’ve made some mistakes and mistakes on the way. An error assessment was that they could lose a lot of money while convincing theaters and companies that MoviePass was a valuable tool that eventually became a profitable data-driven advertising business. They managed to pull off the losing money part- $ 137 million just last quarter- but the profit portion has remained worrying.
MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe told Wired that the company grew too fast, and paying full price for all these tickets was too expensive for its proof of concept phase. Over the past year, it has been astonished to customers because it made plans with changes such as excess prices, demanding pictures on ticket stakes and my personal favorite, simply turning off the business. According to Wired, Better Business Bureau has registered 2,493 official complaints against the company as well as complaints and a securities fraud probe. But listen, everything is good.
“I do not think today people trust the MoviePass brand,” says Khalid Itum, vice president of MoviePass, the New York Times. Itum takes the role of CEO of Lowe, but not the title. Lowe will focus on long-term planning while Itum manages the day-to-day operations. Based on a report from Business Insider in November, this arrangement has been in place for some time and has caused internal confusion with people who do not understand why Lowe has been absent.
“By the end of the day, I think many people have lost sight of the fact that MoviePass is a technology company,” said MoviePass vice president Khalid Itum. “Tech companies are testing and iterating, testing and iterating. We almost did it wrong.” A note from the tech playbook, which Itum is going to hire, kills its marketing costs. In the early days, companies like Google did not like spending money on traditional advertising on the commitment that good products attract users – a recently modified philosophy. Itum told the times that MoviePass will not gain confidence back by blowing money on marketing “but by fixing the product.”
The latest action for the product offers three subscription classes:
Select Schedule – $ 9.99: Three movies per month but your choices are limited to a menu selected by MoviePass that changes every day.
All Access Plan – $ 14.99: Three movies per month and you can see what standard 2D screen of any movie in your area.
Red Carpet Plan – $ 19.99: All three standard 2D movies per month plus an Imax or 3D screening per month.
These monthly plans will not be available until next year, but you can proceed and sign up for an annual subscription to the two more expensive options now.
For all Itum’s talk about being a technical company that only tries to construct the most satisfying experience for users, these changes are far from rocket science. Pricing is not very different from its rival Sinemia, but it has been complained of unexpected charges. MoviePass is still cheaper than buying old-fashioned tickets, but it’s only a value if it lives up to its promises and does not mix the sunbeds in a month.
Itum has the right to MoviePass biggest challenge now to restore users’ belief that they will not be pulled over. It will not be solved by any spiffy profiles. Oh, and the other big challenge is to make money. It must also figure it out.
[MoviePass, The New York Times, Wired]