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With Surge Pricing MoviePass Is No Longer an Awesome Service

movie theater
MoviePass started out with a great idea, and a lousy business model. How and when did they go from an amazing concept to being the worst service around?

moviepassIs it just me, or is MoviePass actually getting worse?  I mean, it’s not just me.  How MoviePass made it into July is honestly amazing.  The company lost $40 million in the month of May and will continue to experience these kinds of losses on a monthly basis unless something changes.  From the very beginning, MoviePass has been projecting that it would eventually turn a profit, but that hasn’t happened yet, and probably won’t. How is MoviePass declining, exactly?

June Changes

In late June, we reported that MoviePass had included an option for you to bring a friend along with you.  What’s interesting about this is that you would still have to pay the full price of the ticket.  It was just allowing you and your friend to be able to sit together.  Rather than each person having to buy their ticket and not getting to sit together.  While I think this is an ok feature, it doesn’t really do anything to enhance their model.In June, MoviePass also introduced Peak Pricing.  Which means – for some showtimes where there is a high demand, you will have to pay more.  Basically, MoviePass is trying to get you to go to the movies on days when other people aren’t.  Which makes the ticket cheaper.  And thus, giving MoviePass a break because they don’t have to pay extra for the ticket.Another interesting upgrade option is around 3D movies.  No matter what plan you’re on, you will still have the option of seeing RealD 3D, 2D IMAX, 3D and other Premium Large Format movies by paying an upgrade fee.watching a movie

AMC

But here’s what really might be killing MoviePass – AMC announced Stubs A-List, in an attempt to rival MoviePass.  Their service allows moviegoers the ability to see up to three movies a week for a flat rate of $19.95/month.  Which, is much more manageable.  Not only that, but AMC doesn’t necessarily have to reimburse anyone for the ticket. MoviePass is a third party company, who was making deals with the movie theaters themselves.  MoviePass would have to pay the cost of the ticket so being able to go to one movie a day, could cost MoviePass $300/person/month – or more.  If AMC is offering the service, they don’t have to negotiate with the theaters themselves, and likely don’t have to worry about reimbursing.  I’d also argue that by limiting the number of movies you can watch, people are going to be more deliberate about their choices.   And – if you see more than 2 movies per month, then your membership isn’t costing you any more.movie theaterThe whole idea of MoviePass has been an enormous cluster.  Theaters like AMC have been saying that this isn’t a good move from the get-go.  But MoviePass just kept making promises. Of course, promises that they couldn’t keep. As a result, they haven’t been able to deliver on their service.  Over the last couple of months, they’ve started making some big changes.  My guess is that this is a hail mary attempt to retain customers, who are likely canceling their subscriptions.  That said, this isn’t something that they were going to be able to sustain, and we knew that from the beginning.  It’s a great idea for consumers, but it’s not sustainable.  There’s no benefactor out there who’s willing to pick up the cost of your movie ticket if you simply pay a $10/fee.  Although, perhaps MoviePass was selling your data as a way to offset costs?  Whatever has transpired, MoviePass is not what it used to be.  In fact, it’s downright awful now.

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