UPDATE: MoviePass has made another change just as this post went live, reversing the movie viewing reduction. MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe says the company is “absolutely committed” to keeping it around. Good news, but still… a wild ride as always. Read on!
Are you a fellow MoviePass user like I am? For a big movie-goer like myself, it started out as the almost too-good-to-be-true movie deal: see up to 30 movies per month (once per day with no repeats) for a low monthly fee. Like, really low: about $9.95 per month depending on the plan. I see about 6-8 movies per month on average, so for me, this is a solid deal. But recent changes are making me nervous about its future. And I’m not alone.
We all knew MoviePass probably wasn’t going to remain quite as much of a deal forever, which I totally get. They’re currently losing money, with plans to fill in the gaps back into black with promotion deals and potentially capitalizing on aggregate data for marketing purposes. But it looks like consumers are taking a hit to the service as well in a number of ways.
All of these changes indicate real issues with both the current business model and trust in their user base.
New subscribers will only be able to watch four movies per month (Update as of 5/2/2018: this policy has been reversed) which, granted, is still probably an average number for most people.
But when the service change gets grandfathered into my account, I’ll be relatively losing out. Additionally, they’ve followed through on the rumored change to disallow repeat viewings of movies. There’s more. MoviePass is now asking new subscribers to pay for their first three months up front. There have been problems with theaters dropping out, then getting back on. Most recently, we all just got notified that we’ll need to upload a photo of our movie stub to the app to be able to use the service in an effort to prevent fraud within the service. All of these changes indicate real issues with both the current business model and trust in their user base.
MoviePass is trying to offset the changes by offering a free membership to IHeartRadio’s music service, which is of mild use for some of us I suppose. But it’s not a direct tie to movie lovers, so it feels like a weird fit. Ultimately, it all just equals some bad news that makes me worried for the service I currently really dig.
Will I be sticking with it for now? Yep.
For me it’s still a solid deal. Even at my eventual four movies per month, it will still be a pretty good deal considering tickets in my urban area are sky-high in general. But I definitely hope that MoviePass finds alternate ways to increase revenue by harnessing the power of anonymous usage data and partnerships with movie studios and theater companies. It would be a real bummer, though totally not surprising, if a formerly really good service folds or becomes worth dumping.
Are you using MoviePass? What are your thoughts?