The imminent collapse of Moviepass

Bush did USS Maine

Coal fires don't sink steel hulls
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Moviepass is a subscription service for movie theater tickets. The user subscribes to Moviepass, orders tickets through the app, Moviepass pay for the ticket, and user goes to the theater. In August of last year, they went to a flat fee of $10 a month, allowing users to purchase one movie ticket per day. This has gone about as well as you might expect.

On Friday, the data analytics company that is the parent of Moviepass received a $5 million dollar loan after running out of money. Over the weekend, more and more users became frustrated as they were unable to access the latest movies, such as Mission Impossible Fallout. Yesterday, users received an email regarding modifications to the service's business, such as reducing availability of new titles, limiting what showtimes users would be able to purchase tickets for, and a lack of access to customer service. While the email mentioned Moviepass was striving for transparency, it failed to mention what the media was soon to report, that the price would increase to $15/month within 30 days.

People are mad.
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While a lot of posts on Reddit and Twitter are "of course this business model wasn't sustainable lol", there is a subset that are angry. Let's sit back and enjoy the collapse of this service, and the whining of entitled children we run across along the way. For anyone interested in following the drama, two large subreddits are r/MoviePassClub and r/moviepass.

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G

GS 281

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Yeah, this business model is done. Someone could probably do this well, and it probably will be done well, but these guys went about it in the totally wrong way.
 

RadicalCentrist

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A shame. I ended up receiving a 3 month trial earlier this year as a gift and saw around 11~ movies with it. I wondered how the absolute fuck they made money off this, since they had dropped the price (at that time) to $7.50 a month when that was easily the cost of a single ticket, let alone 3-4 times a month. Of course, it turned out their mandatory mobile app data mined like a motherfucker to make up the costs, but still. Not a sustainable business model.

Incidentally holy Christ is modern Hollywood awful. Most of films were only enjoyable since they added booze and recliners to the theaters.
 

UnKillShredDur

Tonight I dine on turtle soup... In California.
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I never subscribed to Movie pass, but my parents do. Even worse (for the business model), I used my father's account to see a movie and nobody at the theater questioned it.
 

Bush did USS Maine

Coal fires don't sink steel hulls
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Looks like they were able to pay back the loan, in full. Currently the stock for the parent company of Moviepass is sitting at twenty six cents a share.

E: My parents are (were? haven't talked to them since this started unfolding) subscribed to Moviepass, my dad was talking to me about it fairly often. They certainly got a lot of value out of it at the time. Should have hopped on board when he first started mentioning it, but oh well *sigh*
 

neverendingmidi

it just goes on and on and on and on...
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I don’t understand how they planned on making any money, not profit, but any money at all? I mean the only people who are going to sign up for this are those who want to go to a lot of movies cheaply.

A theater near me has something like this, buy a package and you can see something like five movies for $12, but it only applies to movies on Sunday (I’m guessing their slowest day), and I bet they make up the money with concessions. So I can see it for a theater chain, but an app that’s a middleman like Fandango? I don’t get it.
 

DuckSucker

NIbblin' bits since 2006
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Yeah they should have gone, "We'll do what you can do yourself by just going to the theater and buying a ticket at the door, but you can use moviepass to skip any line for the cost of the ticket, BUT if you sign up for our $20/month plan you get 40% off of every ticket you purchase!" That probably wouldnt have been great but Im retarded and came up with a plan that's better than letting people pay for one movie ticket then make you buy 31 tickets for them.
 

Bush did USS Maine

Coal fires don't sink steel hulls
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I don’t understand how they planned on making any money, not profit, but any money at all? I mean the only people who are going to sign up for this are those who want to go to a lot of movies cheaply.

My understanding is there were a few different ideas. First of all the obvious data analytics, that's what the parent company of Moviepass does. They'd get data on who's going to what movies when, then sell that to theaters and marketing companies, as well as studios probably. They also wanted to get large enough to negotiate with theater chains for discounted prices. Moviepass goers were spending more on average for concessions, so Moviepass was hoping when they got enough subscribers they could bargain with theater chains for lower tickets, or essentially remove the theater chain from their service to force them to come around when they were losing money. I'm sure they were also hoping for the gym membership model as well, where people purchase the service then never use it and never cancel. My other speculation is they assumed they would lose money during summer blockbuster season, but make up for it in the slower parts of the year (January - March, September to right around the holidays), when the movies are so garbage people wouldn't care to see them even at $10 a month.

End of the day, it's just your basic app/tech startup story. Lose loads of money to gain users, hope you can come up with some way to monetize it along the way.
 

Trash Eater

Keeper of the Ali Baba sword
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I don’t understand how they planned on making any money, not profit, but any money at all? I mean the only people who are going to sign up for this are those who want to go to a lot of movies cheaply.

A theater near me has something like this, buy a package and you can see something like five movies for $12, but it only applies to movies on Sunday (I’m guessing their slowest day), and I bet they make up the money with concessions. So I can see it for a theater chain, but an app that’s a middleman like Fandango? I don’t get it.
Selling data. Moviepass gets demographic info on its users and sells it to outside companies. As I recall, they actually got in some hot water for not disclosing that.

The data they collect is actually probably pretty valuable, though. Say you're Hulu and you want to expand your reach with Asian men aged 18-35. You could look at Moviepass' data, see that when Asian dudes had the choice of X, Y and Z movies at the theater, 90% bought tickets to X, so you should acquire the rights to stream X. There was probably money to be made there, but they clearly drastically overestimated the money they'd get from selling data, or underestimated the demand for movies when the cost is "free."

EDIT: Wow, ninja'd.
 

Lipitor

huh?
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Seems like a bunch of smart people got to ride a wave of cheap movies... I don't know what you're all upset about. I'm sure half the people who signed up knew this couldn't last, and rode the wave into the shore. Seems like a bunch of people saw a bunch of movies on someone else's dime.
 

Gordon Cole

Yep, he's dead
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I mean, I love movies and making businessmen lose millions of dollars, so I enjoyed it while it lasted. To put their financial decions into context, they set up their own movie distribution company, essentially meaning that they paid people to see their own movies.
 

The Iconoclast

Hippity Hoppity
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I saw a bunch of movies with my moviepass subscription, but I cut it after I found out that they randomly disallowed rewatching movies, and seeing the effect of surge pricing.

Recently they put out a statement where they talk about limiting popular movies and restricting showtimes.

https://moviepass.com/a-letter-to-the-moviepass-community/

I think the description on the front page is misleading, by the way.
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Good riddance.

I might start AMC Stubs A-List, but I don't go to the movies that often.
 

Polyboros

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It does seem like a plan designed to fail. The data pull back end profiting makes sense, but I don't think there is an unreasonable plan for this process.

20 bucks a month, one unrestricted ticket a week, one ticket a day for movies out for over X weeks.

You get your money's worth if you see two releases a week, I'd expect there would be a fair number that sees under that amount. Most subscription services make their money off of people not using their service and forgetting to unsubscribe. Or not going through the work of unsubscribing and resubscribing during breaks of no interest. I'd bet they'd could profit off of that.

And for the post certain time frame free daily ticket, the theaters I'm sure would be fine taking a much reduced ticket fee, if they are seeing an increase in concessions.
 

UnKillShredDur

Tonight I dine on turtle soup... In California.
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The sheer fact that there is literally no system in place to prevent people from sharing an account (I've proven that myself), made me suspect that this thing is destined to fail hard. Didn't know about the data-mining though... Glad they didn't get me.
 

Bush did USS Maine

Coal fires don't sink steel hulls
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NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--MoviePass™, the nation’s premier movie theater subscription service and a majority-owned subsidiary of Helios and Matheson Analytics Inc. (Nasdaq:HMNY) (“Helios”), today pushed back on comments by some in the theater industry who have predicted, and in some cases declared, its passing.

Exhibitors know that without MoviePass they will be able to continue to charge exorbitant prices for theater tickets and gouge customers with overpriced concessions. This is exactly the attitude the taxicab industry took when Uber entered their market.

Furthermore, any crowing about the uptick in box office receipts this summer season should include the fact that a significant percentage of that total is directly attributable to MoviePass subscribers.

Here’s just a sample:

  • MoviePass contributed nearly one-fourth of the domestic box office receipts for Lionsgate’s “Blindspotting” through the first Tuesday after its release.

  • MoviePass ticket purchases represented nearly 17 percent of Thursday night previews for Paramount’s “Book Club.”

  • For Warner Bros.’ “Tag,” which MoviePass promoted in-app, its purchases represented 13 percent of the film’s opening weekend domestic box office totals

  • MoviePass ticket purchases accounted for about 12 percent of the entire theatrical run for Magnolia Pictures’ runaway documentary hit “RGB.”

  • Overall, we believe as much as 6 percent of the industry’s total box office receipts can be traced to our loyal subscribers. It’s clear that because of MoviePass, more people are seeing more movies at fair prices. Instead of wishing us away, the industry, particularly the independent film producers, should be congratulating and supporting us. Absent MoviePass, exhibitors are fighting to preserve profits in a declining box office environment. That’s the doomed strategy.
Yes, we’re going through a rough patch not unlike what other disruptive enterprises experienced in their early days. Much of our issues can be attributed to the unprecedented growth in a business that just 12 months ago did not exist.

I think the point everyone on the outside is making is that the "6 percent of box office receipts" and "more movies at fair prices" is the whole reason Moviepass is failing. But I guess it could be price gouging too.

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Somar

I have amazing taste
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