MoviePass is a subscription-based movie ticket service that was founded in 2011. A membership entitles a subscriber to one movie ticket to a standard 2D screening per day, for a flat monthly fee, even if it’s a new release on opening night.
Per Wikipedia, early on, the company had experimented with different pricing models that range from $20 per month to $99 per month. Then, in 2016 and facing backlash, it switched to charging between $40 and $50 per month for unlimited movie watching.
But now, the company has announced that the price for its service will be a radical $9.95 per month for up to one movie per day. Needless to say movie theater chains have been skeptical that MoviePass does not have a sustainable business model.
The company thinks that this change will grow the user base and allow it to capitalize on the analysis of viewing habits, in order to target advertising to its subscribers.
When you read about how the service works, it’s definitely hard to understand how it can make money. Subscribers receive a branded prepaid debit card, and when they use the app to select a ticket, the amount of money needed to purchase that ticket is loaded on the card. That means the company is paying full price for every ticket!
Anyhow, the result of whatever experiment in capitalism MoviePass is embarking upon is the rather incredible reality that for 10 bucks a month you can go to one movie per day, in just about any movie theater. The primary restriction is that it’s limited to standard screenings, you can’t use it to buy tickets for 3D or IMAX or other specialty formats.