I've had MoviePass since September, right after the company lowered the price of its subscription to one movie per day at too good a cost to be true of $ 10 per month. Since then, dozens of friends, colleagues and even random strangers with whom I have met in theaters have asked if it really is a good business, and if they should sign up. My answer has always been yes, because for the right kind of viewer, the service offers tremendous value.
I've always known that the free trip would not last forever. The company's business model, which makes MoviePass lose money on almost all sold tickets, seems too unsustainable. Two changes that the company started playing lately make it look like MoviePass is getting ready to gut the main value of the service. In other words, the moment MoviePass stops being worth it feels closer than ever.
Earlier this week we learned that for new subscribers, MoviePass no longer allows customers to watch one movie per day. In contrast, the $ 9.95 subscription will allow customers to buy only four tickets per month, and MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe will admit he does not know if the "unlimited" plan will ever come back. To help alleviate the blow, MoviePass is launching a three-month trial version of the iHeartRadio All Access subscription, although it is not entirely clear why a three-month trial of an audio service is supposed to be a substitute. Decent for movie tickets. The new plan also bills customers quarterly, so you have to pay for MoviePass in three-month chunks. That's a far cry from the annual plan that I changed in November of last year, when I paid $ 89.95 in advance, or just $ 7.50 per month, for a full year of the MoviePass unlimited access plan. That plan is no longer available.
The other change is a modification to the company's terms of service that prohibits MoviePass customers from purchasing tickets to "selected" movies more than once. We contacted MoviePass for more comments, but a support ticket explaining the change justified it by saying: "We hope this encourages you to watch new movies and enjoy something different." That is an even more unpleasant change, because the company does not offer guidance or transparency on which films will be affected. What has made MoviePass ideal for consumers is the ability to watch movies whenever they want, knowing that if their friends want to see something in the future, they can always go a second time. For blockbusters – films like Star Wars: The Last Jedi Black Panther or The Avengers: Infinity War – repeated views are a cornerstone of the experience of fans MoviePass used to enable that. Now, the service requests three months of subscription fees in advance, without guarantee that a certain movie will not be affected by its last unannounced change.
MoviePass has used this type of bait and change tactics before, usually as part of selective market tests as a way to see what its subscriber base is willing to support. We've seen the company play hard with AMC by blacklisting popular cinemas in major markets like New York City, and playing fast with math to inflate the amount of revenue it generates from ticket sales. Some of the moves have been ways to bring the main theater chains to the negotiating table, in the bet of MoviePass for a possible cut in the concessions or the sale of tickets.
We also saw the company reduce agreements with smaller studios to promote movies like I, Tonya and Death Wish while simultaneously forbidding MoviePass customers to buy tickets for competing films . That test seemed to be designed to show how MoviePass could direct audiences to the movies they were paid to promote. But as is the case with almost all MoviePass tactics, it is the company's paid subscribers who are left in the dark, since the basic value of their subscription is undermined or eliminated without any notification or explanation.
On the business side, all these tests seem designed to reduce costs, save cash and determine how little the company can offer while trying to discover a more sustainable business model. For a while, the working assumption was that MoviePass would monetize the viewing habits of its users, and Lowe said the big plan is to close deals with restaurants, bars and other services to create an all-in-one night that starts when a person leaves his home.
But Lowe's admission that MoviePass would track user's location data would trigger a controversy over privacy, and MoviePass has disabled the ability tracking the location of the mobile application. who says he never used. An independent auditor composed the issues earlier this month when he said he had "substantial doubts" about the ability of the parent company of MoviePass to stay in business in the face of continued service losses.
But those concerns are ultimately within baseball the average viewer. The only thing that matters to potential consumers is whether MoviePass as a service is worth the cost, and all the corner cuts, tests and secret changes have undermined the main service to the point where it's almost not worth it. In the last seven and a half months, I have seen 25 movies through MoviePass, with an average of about 3 movies per month. I have had some visions repeated here and there: the new Star Wars and Bladerunner 2049 to name a few, and fortunately I have not come across any of the above. questions. Not yet, at least.
But there was a moment last night when I went to see Avengers: Infinity War at my local AMC theater, and I could not find the place in the application. I jumped to the movie selection part of the application to see if it appeared there; Nothing yet. For a moment, I wondered if my theater was subject to another MoviePass blackout, for reasons that would never be honestly explained to me as a paying customer. [AfortunadamentecuandomeacerquéalmapafinalmenteencontréelteatroypudeusarelplandesuscripciónqueyahabíapagadounañoporadelantadoSinembargolaansiedaddeesemomentodesaberquelafacilidadylalibertadqueobtengodelservicioprobablementepodríaneliminarseencualquiermomentomehacereplantearloquelediréalagentesobreMoviePassEltiempodequeseademasiadobuenoparaserverdadyapasóAhoralapreguntaescuántotiemposobreviviráMoviePassensuestadoactualyquécambiostendránquesoportarsusclientesdespués?