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?
Comments on MoviePass users: are the new service changes driving you away?
Wow, now that’s a deal. I never even knew about that. I just made a little research and it looks like Sinemia has a similar (albeit much less generous) deal in Canada (because of course MoviePass is not available here). Considering a regular movie ticket is 14 $ in my city, about the same price for 3 movies a month would still be a good deal. I’ll have to look into that.
Agreed, definitely still a great deal at four movies. Let us know about Sinemia if you find out! Fellow Canadians will want to know. 🙂
Given what’s happened with Facebook, I’m happy to see businesses going the route of making services sustainable rather than relying on selling data to shady actors as their business plan. (Although they’re definitely still doing something with the data they have.)
From your perspective, yeah, going from unlimited movies every month to 4 feels like a big downgrade. But I spend $12-16 for every movie I go see, so 4 for $10 is still a screaming deal. I had never heard of them before this article so I never knew about the old plan, but the new one seems more than reasonable to me. I’m still surprised that theaters are willing to sign up for that, given how much they’ve been struggling for years.
The anti-fraud measures make total sense–otherwise a group of four friends could just split the fee and go see one movie together every month. Moviepass makes more money when people don’t use the full allotment of movies per month, so that’s one thing the rules are going after. Being concerned that a company doesn’t trust their user base doesn’t make sense to me–every company has to work to prevent abuse, or they’ll go out of business. Even this website has moderators!
You’re right that it’s still a great deal, and now I’m hearing they’re going BACK to 30 a month. So win?
Theaters actually get full price for each ticket, which is why MoviePass is in the red. And agreed on all your other points!
I go like 4x per week sometimes! I’m not happy about the 4 per month limit, but it’s still too great of a deal to pass up. I’ll ride out it for as long as I can!
Fellow movie goer! Yay! Thankfully it looks like they’re switching it all back to unlimited. Whoo!
I’m still reeling over the 6-8 movies a month. I can’t make that number in a year.
It is a lot, but I’ve always been super into movies so I look at it like a hobby. Makes me feel less guilty