Entertainment

MoviePass: 10 USD/month to watch movies in theater

  • Last Updated:
  • Dec 12th, 2017 4:14 pm
[OP]
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MoviePass: 10 USD/month to watch movies in theater

A startup wants to shake the slumping movie theater industry by offering a pass to watch a movie every day for 10 USD/month (ok, will likely be more in Canada).
As movie theaters struggle with tepid sales, Mitch Lowe has an extreme proposal for how to get more people into seats: Let them come to all the showings they want for about the price of a single ticket each month.

Lowe, an early Netflix Inc. executive who now runs a startup called MoviePass, plans to drop the price of the company’s movie ticket subscriptions on Tuesday to $9.95. The fee will let customers get in to one showing every day at any theater in the U.S. that accepts debit cards. MoviePass will pay theaters the full price of each ticket used by subscribers, excluding 3D or Imax screens.

MoviePass could lose a lot of money subsidizing people’s movie habits. So the company also raised cash on Tuesday by selling a majority stake to Helios and Matheson Analytics Inc., a small, publicly traded data firm in New York. The companies declined to comment on terms of the financing but said MoviePass intends to hold an initial public offering by March. Helios and Metheson shares rose 5.7 percent to $2.95 at the close Tuesday in New York.

Ted Farnsworth, chief executive officer at Helios and Matheson, said the goal is to amass a large base of customers and collect data on viewing behaviors. That information could then be used to eventually target advertisements or other marketing materials to subscribers. “It’s no different than Facebook or Google,” Farnsworth said. “The more we understand our fans, the more we can target them.”
Nice concept but even with data mining this seems a bit too good to be true. I feel there will be strings attached if it ever takes off. Will they allow to subscribe for a single month (May?) when many Blockbusters are out? Should this become popular, you can't easily scale unlike Netflix so you will end up with full movie theaters. Maybe allow pass holders to view movies a week or two after release.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles ... l-you-want
31 replies
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Aug 5, 2006
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I would be all over this if it launched in Canada. It will kill Cineplex's own ticket sales so it will be a dicey proposition for theatre companies even though they will have full theatres and sell more concessions. Less and less movies are enough of a draw to get people going to theatres these days though so a club program like this may be their salvation.
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I can't imagine how they could monetize this enough to offset the costs. If you watched 2 movies a month and moviepass is paying 10 bucks per movie to the theatres they would need to make 10 bucks a month off of your data just to break even (not even including any other business costs for them). Doesn't seem like a service that would be able to mine all that much data off of you either compared to something like facebook.
[OP]
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After a bit more digging the service already existed for a few years but at $50 USD/month. Yesterday they were offering a 30-days free trial then $10/month (US only) but the trial is no longer on the site which btw is crashing due to high demand https://www.moviepass.com/

AMC is not too happy and plans to take legal actions if they can't opt out.
LEAWOOD, Kan.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--AMC Theatres® announced today its concern that an announcement by a small fringe player in the reselling of movie tickets is not in the best interest of moviegoers, movie theatres and movie studios. Accordingly, AMC is consulting with its attorneys to determine if or how AMC can prevent a subscription program offered by MoviePass from being used at AMC Theatres in the United States. AMC is the largest movie theatre operator in the United States.

MoviePass announced a change to its “subscription model” that would allow consumers to see up to 365 movies a year for a monthly fee of $9.95. MoviePass envisions paying AMC its full ticket price without discount. The AMC average ticket price for watching a movie at AMC Theatres in the most recent financial quarter was $9.33. From what we can tell, by definition and absent some other form of other compensation, MoviePass will be losing money on every subscriber seeing two movies or more in a month.

Bloomberg today called it a “crazy plan.” AMC noted that it is not yet known how to turn lead into gold. AMC believes that holding out to consumers that first run movies can be watched in theatres at great quantities for a monthly price of $9.95 isn’t doing moviegoers any favors. In AMC’s view, 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. AMC also believes that promising essentially unlimited first-run movie content at a price below $10 per month over time will not provide sufficient revenue to operate quality theatres nor will it produce enough income to provide film makers with sufficient incentive to make great new movies. Therefore, AMC will not be able to offer discounts to MoviePass in the future, which seems to be among their aims.

While AMC is not opposed to subscription programs generally, the one envisioned by MoviePass is not one AMC can embrace. We are actively working now to determine whether it may be feasible to opt out and not participate in this shaky and unsustainable program.
http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/2 ... e%E2%80%9D
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Jul 9, 2017
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Something like this already exists in the Netherlands and it is Pathe Unlimited. I guess here it would be called Cineplex unlimited and it means you can go to any Pathe cinema in the country. You have 2 tiers for subscription prices. 19euro for regular non3d screenings and pathe unlimited gold for 26euro for every type of screening possible (i.e IMAX 3d, 3d, etc.)

If you go to the cinema regularly it is definitely worth it. Just watching 2 movies you get your money's worth already
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I don't get. They don't own the movie theatres so they have to pay full price for the tickets customers buy? They must be banking that there's not enough quality movies to have people keep going, but I'm guessing the people that would buy these would be the type that keep going.

It would be an interesting thing for a theatre to try (and somewhat risky considering how much they have to pay to screen movies), but it seems insane for a middleman to offer?
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BongoBong wrote:
Aug 16th, 2017 2:41 am
I can't imagine how they could monetize this enough to offset the costs. If you watched 2 movies a month and moviepass is paying 10 bucks per movie to the theatres they would need to make 10 bucks a month off of your data just to break even (not even including any other business costs for them). Doesn't seem like a service that would be able to mine all that much data off of you either compared to something like facebook.
If there is a higher volume of movie watchers, they could negotiate cheaper prices with studios. Sort of like AYCE buffets...or Netflix. I'm still skeptical but always good to hear someone innovating and attempting to disrupt existing businesses.
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I wonder what data beyond the movie going experience they want to capture. Most people won't care but some won't be willing to sacrifice their privacy to find out.

If I were them and dropped the price, I would want to be collecting everything from email information, all forms of social media tracking, etc. Then resell knowledge they have obtained.
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thechampion116 wrote:
Aug 16th, 2017 2:02 pm
I wonder what data beyond the movie going experience they want to capture. Most people won't care but some won't be willing to sacrifice their privacy to find out.

If I were them and dropped the price, I would want to be collecting everything from email information, all forms of social media tracking, etc. Then resell knowledge they have obtained.
Yeah I don't know what they collect today. Theaters already have loyalty cards to track users. Netflix is a different beast because they can observe what and how you consume entertainment, every second of it on their platform. Seems like it is typical tech buzzwords here "we collect data like FB/Google and offer a service like Netflix" to make them appealing to VCs. In any case, I'm cheering for their success.
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I heard it only works for 2D movies, AMC just needs to invest in other tech, like basic 3D, ultra AVX, etc to wipe away 2D only screening.

VIP sections etc.
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Why is AMC worried, if indeed they are paying full retail? They should be thanking Moviepass
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Dec 4, 2016
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Stuff like this never comes to Canada. It already exists in France, the Netherlands, UK etc... I used to pay 20 euros a month for unlimited movies back when I lived in France. They know canadians are used to pay big premiums on everything from phone plans, to internet plans, movie tickets, groceries etc... Also competition is almost non-existent here. Monopoles everywhere. No need to offer better prices. People don't have a choice.
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The premise behind this is interesting, but unless they charge much more after the $10 trial ends, I don't see how this can be profitable... can someone explain how MoviePass profits from this (aside from selling marketing data)?

I read somewhere that they eventually want to expand it so that concessions and things can be purchased using the MoviePass as well, and those concessions show up in your monthly MoviePass bill. Still doesn't explain how this is profitable unless they get kickbacks from the theatres as well?

Also, the technology behind this is interesting. Basically, the MoviePass is really just a Mastercard that activates when you're in proximity to a theatre, and allows for one use per day or something (there's a bit more to it, but that's the gist). However, I don't know how they can stop people from card-sharing (say I split with 3 friends, each pays 1/4 of the cost, and each gets to hold on to the pass for a week or something)

I think the good thing about this program is that maybe it prompts theatres to actually create similar or better incentive programs of their own. Cineplex Scene has gotten progressively worse over the years, but if a product like MoviePass comes through, it might be what forces a theatre's hand.
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M1GOmigs wrote:
Aug 17th, 2017 12:09 pm
The premise behind this is interesting, but unless they charge much more after the $10 trial ends, I don't see how this can be profitable... can someone explain how MoviePass profits from this (aside from selling marketing data)?

I read somewhere that they eventually want to expand it so that concessions and things can be purchased using the MoviePass as well, and those concessions show up in your monthly MoviePass bill. Still doesn't explain how this is profitable unless they get kickbacks from the theatres as well?

Also, the technology behind this is interesting. Basically, the MoviePass is really just a Mastercard that activates when you're in proximity to a theatre, and allows for one use per day or something (there's a bit more to it, but that's the gist). However, I don't know how they can stop people from card-sharing (say I split with 3 friends, each pays 1/4 of the cost, and each gets to hold on to the pass for a week or something)

I think the good thing about this program is that maybe it prompts theatres to actually create similar or better incentive programs of their own. Cineplex Scene has gotten progressively worse over the years, but if a product like MoviePass comes through, it might be what forces a theatre's hand.
Yep, which is all the more reason consumers should support such initiatives.
Cineplex has been abusing its market for way too long.
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Yes, they have this in the UK, which I will sorely miss when I move back to Canada. The movie subscription pass is actually owned and managed by the cinema company themselves, which locks its subscribers to only patronise their cinemas. Plus, you get discounts on food and drinks, and one pass even gives you discounts on a few select restaurant chains as well. It costs about £17 a month to watch any movie at any cinema in the UK outside central London (£19 incl central London) whenever you want. Although you pay an additional charge if you watch on an imax or 3D (one movie pass waives the 3D charge if you have been a member for at least one year).

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