After a shaky launch, the all-you-can-watch movie theater subscription service, MoviePass, is still trying to take off in a big way.
As on-demand services become more mainstream, it seems like there's little we can't do through a monthly subscription fee, from listening to music, to streaming TV shows and movies, to choosing an outfit. Now, after an earlier, botched attempt, MoviePass is trying to bring the idea of all-you-can-eat to the movies.
MoviePass, which opens up to 75,000 wait-listed users today, is an invite-only subscription-based service that lets you pay between $19.99 and $34.99 a month to watch up to one in-theater movie per day. MoviePass users can attend any theater nationally, as long as it accepts major credit cards. (Drive-ins and cash-only theaters are excluded.) Subscription prices are based on MoviePass's three zoning areas: Members who live by theaters that charge an average of $8 to $10 per ticket can subscribe to the $19.99 tier, while those in Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco, where tickets can run around $13 to $15 a pop, pay for the most expensive, $34.99 plan.
MoviePass resurrected itself in an attempt to end-run around the touchy theaters, this time with a new partner in Hollywood Movie Money, which offers promotional vouchers for a large network of affiliate theaters (including AMC's). Under the new partnership, MoviePass members could print out a voucher at home and bring it with them to the theater. Venture-backed MoviePass ate up the price difference between what it made in subscription fees and what regular tickets would cost to make sure the theaters got paid in full. But MoviePass confirms the Hollywood Movie Money partnership has since dissolved, and that the two services are no longer affiliated with one another.
So with no theater or ticket brokerage partners, how does MoviePass plan on surviving? Its newest workaround is a MoviePass-branded payment card that members will use like a regular credit card to purchase tickets at theater kiosks. Starting today, MoviePass members will use its new iOS app to select a theater, a movie, and a showtime. Once you're within 100 yards of the selected theater, you can check in within the app, which activates your MoviePass debit card using geolocation technology.
One big caveat of MoviePass's model is it doesn't let you opt out of your monthly subscription during off-peak months. Unlike Netflix viewership, theatrical attendance tends to heavily peak twice a year, during Oscars season and the summer blockbusters. But MoviePass doesn't offer the option to skip certain months--say, March, when decent releases trickle out.
"Today's consumers are much more used to subscription services than they are with pay-as-you-go," he says. "And people want to see things on the big screen, but there are still a lot of reasons to stay at home. We want to decrease those reasons."
What do you think? Would you pay a subscription service for the theater experience?[Source]