The year has not been nice for MoviePass, and MoviePass has, in turn, been rude to its subscribers. Its increasingly…
The year has not been nice for MoviePass, and MoviePass has, in turn, been rude to its subscribers. Its increasingly uncertain financial parent company Helios and Matheson lost $ 137.2 million last quarter, has become increasingly hard restrictions for its service, from draconian anti-fraud fraud, to increasing pricing, limiting available movies and showtimes so hard that there is a Good one can feel like hunting Bigfoot. In the beginning, MoviePass was tricked as being too good to be true. Its critics were correct.
After several test months and a review of its business, the company believes it has a solution: a series of new plans and prices that more accurately reflect the cost of doing business. From January, MoviePass will roll out a new pricing program that will let you pay as little as $ 1
0 or as much as $ 25 per month for three movie tickets, depending on where you live and how many restrictions you can handle.  If people register, MoviePass will finally have a business model that is within screaming distance for survival. But
depends on how much golf is found between what’s good for MoviePass and what movie lovers really want. Much has changed over the last 16 months – not much of it in MoviePass favor.
It was not meant to be like this. When the $ 10 unlimited plan was launched in August 2017, detailed MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe set a path to success. MoviePass would lose money on subscribers in the beginning, surely but would eventually get enough leverage that theaters and studios would have no choice but to collaborate, divide concession revenue and throw marketing dollars on a self-appointed savior of a flag industry. Some of it happened. But nowhere near enough fast to surpass the money that MoviePass put on fire.
“The real challenge was how fast we grew and the size and scale. It brought challenges that we not only predicted,” says Lowe. “The growth of one million subscribers in four months and adding another million subscribers six weeks later, the amount of capital required, the attention of our technology team that could build the scale to handle all of this took all our attention.”
” By the end of the day, I think what many people have lost sight of is that MoviePass is a technical company. Tech companies test and iterate, test and iterate. We almost did it wrong. “
MoviePass CEO Khalid Itum  It also created the first wave of customer complaints, as MoviePass also struggled to send debit cards that support the service to subscribers at something on time. But the popularity also raised other issues. In March MoviePass began to require some users to take pictures of their ticket stubs and upload them to the app. In July it added surge pricing, an addition of up to $ 6 per ticket for popular exhibitions. Later that same month, Helios and Matheson ran out of cash during the opening ceremony of Mission: Impossible-Fallout which led to a system break. In September, MoviePass automatically registered members whose plans had previously expired or canceled, requiring them to opt out of a subscription that they never asked for.
This is the short list of complaints. From Wednesday, MoviePass has 2,493 complaints against the one filed with the Better Business Bureau, where it has an F-rating. Helios and Matheson have encountered several complaints and a security fraud campaign by the New York Attorney General . The company and its customers have been caught in an unpleasant ouroboros: the more money it lost, the more restrictions it made on their plans. Helios and Matheson’s latest report for the third quarter cited a “significant decline” in MoviePass subscribers. Those left are now watching less than one movie per month on average, compared to 2.23 movies per month as late as March. Fewer customers who use your service less often cause alarms; In the MoviePass case, the lights are on.
“By the end of the day, I think many people have lost sight of the fact that MoviePass is a technical company. Tech companies test and iterate, test and iterate.” We made almost an error, “said MoviePass vice president Khalid Itum, who oversees much of The company’s daily business. MoviePass may, in turn, have lost the fact that it is also a consumer service company and that these tests and iterations may feel quite like jerking around.
So yes, a new start seems in order.
A little more detailed about the new plans: The lowest level, called Select, looks like the current iteration of MoviePass, limiting what subscribers can see, a policy company started in July in an attempt to reduce losses. This weekend meant that only four of the top 20 movies at the cash office were available, with no more than two titles available on a particular day .
In fact, Select may turn out to be a worse deal than it currently has. People in small markets still pay $ 10, but medium-sized markets pay $ 13 a month and major markets will see a recurring cost of $ 15. Lowe and Itum refused to say if current subscribers would be grandfather at their current $ 10 rate, regardless of geography. Nor would they say what percentage of existing MoviePass customers currently fit into each level.
The chosen choice is unlikely to improve much. MoviePass plans to eventually base its availability on what Itum calls an “inventory driven model”, where cinemas can dictate MoviePass showtimes based on which places they most need to fill. In other words, the places no one wants.
Itum argues that the plan should still appeal to people who value more than choice. And in a vacuum it can. But MoviePass is now facing rivals like Sinemia, a similar service that currently offers three tickets per month to 2-D movies, without any stock restrictions, for $ 9 a month. For $ 20 a month, the AMC Stubs A-List gives you three movies per week including IMAX and 3-D views. And rare movie players can find the $ 9 Cinemark Movie Club subscription more appealing. It’s only a 2-D movie per month, but does not come with any other restrictions, contains 20 percent of concessions and lets you roll over unused tickets from one month to the next.
The other new MoviePass plans fortunately you see what movie you want. The three-movie “All Access” plan has a geographic pricing of $ 15, $ 18 and $ 20, while the “Red Carpet” plan brings you to an IMAX or 3-D movie for one of the three views, at $ 20, $ 22, or $ 25. All plans are month to month. If you live somewhere near an AMC, it’s hard to make a case for them, especially if you live in an expensive big market.
“I’m just thinking about theater chains that launch their subscriptions, the economy only works so much better for them,” Leo Kulp, media analyst with RBC Capital said. “Every time MoviePass or Sinemia buy a ticket, they pay full shipping. They do not receive any conflicting concessions or online ticket revenue. Exhibitors pay half the ticket price and can benefit from concessions and other additional fees that third parties can not just. “
The best new MoviePass deal comes in the form of gift subscriptions. For a limited time, a year of All Access costs $ 120 or $ 100 if you buy two or more, while one year with Red Carpet costs $ 150 or $ 140 if you buy multiples, they are the same price regardless of where the recipient lives.
However, they assume that MoviePass will be about a year from now. Helios and Matheson’s Q3 filing says there is no extra capital available “Major doubts about the company’s ability to continue as a running activity through November 15, 2019.”
But Lowe and Itum argue that the slower cash burn has made the situation is not so unreasonable, albeit at the expense of paying customers, and that the new plans will keep it on its way.
“As we roll out these new plans, it builds on a model that is much more sustainable and has a lot up,” says Lowe. “It will be so big, probably not. But it will be fresh and strong.”
Lowe says that MoviePass created many enemies when it made its Kool-Aid Man entry on stage. Exhibitors hated that it devalued the film-based experience. Studios balked, says Itum on MoviePass “try to cut their winnings.”
The new MoviePass offers an olive branch to the companies that the company so severely bothered. The barbers at the gate have not only abandoned their siege, they are now building trade routes instead. However, it gives fewer concessions to real film guests, many of which at best had a rocky year of service.
“It appears that the trademark MoviePass is tarnished,” says Kulp. “I do not think it’s impossible to repair.”
“The best marketing we can do is to fix the product and deliver on our promises.”
If you do, you may need a gut refurbishment. It’s unclear what form might take, or how some of MoviePass’s business interests-it bought MovieFone in April and has taken action in several original movies via MoviePass Ventures-can fit. Helios and Matheson have also looked to spin MoviePass off as a separate device if it’s going to happen, and what impact it may have is still uncertain.
“I think our mission really creates more empathy and that Americans will go back to the movie again,” says Itum. “But as we did this extensive business review, not only thinking about the economy and business model, pricing and cost structure, but also what did we do that could have been empathetic? Where are we now and how will we regain trust? We apologize, or apologize, and I realized that the best marketing we can do is fix the product and deliver on our promises. “
If MoviePass succeeds, it will be playing soon enough. If so, you’ll look decent enough if you reliably go to the movies a few times a month and do not want to lock into AMC theaters.
But it seems worth waiting to see if MoviePass has been improved for movie guests as much as it has for studios and theater chains. MoviePass’s success resulted in a handful of imitators that offer profitable options. They may not be perfect, but they have not added their subscribers through quite so many plot twists.