MoviePass creator credits service's birth to Apple iPhone & mobile apps

Posted:
in iPhone edited February 2018
In a promotional interview published on the iOS App Store, the one of the creators of MoviePass -- a subscription service that lets people see a 2D movie every day -- suggested that the Apple iPhone and mobile apps in general were instrumental in getting it off the ground.




"The idea was almost too early," said Stacy Spikes in reference to an earlier attempt at the all-you-can-eat model with the Urbanworld Film Festival in the 1990s. "We didn't have iPhones and apps to figure out payment and interfacing. If it weren't for that development, MoviePass would never have happened."

iPhone users can sign up for the service through the MoviePass app, after which they'll be sent a card in the mail. At that point the app becomes a tool for finding theaters and showtimes -- once a showtime is selected, the card is activated for use at kiosks, and in some cases people can simply reserve their ticket online.

MoviePass has actually been around since 2011, but only surged in popularity late last year after fees were lowered to $9.95 per month. At the moment, that rate is just $7.95 per month for first-time subscribers willing to pay for a full year.

The service has been controversial, with some theaters refusing to accept it, and MoviePass itself pulling out of some AMC theaters. Part of its income is derived from data collection by majority stakeholder Helios and Matheson Analytics, and it has yet to make a profit regardless -- though it should be able to do so when it hits 4 million subscribers, possibly later this year.

Despite problems MoviePass could be a potential lifeline for theater chains, which have struggled to keep up attendance and profits in an era of online streaming and high-quality home theaters.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 15
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,859member
    So far it's been a great service. Some will comment that they'll sell your generalize viewing habits data. Big fucking deal. It's not like movie theaters don't know my viewing habits already. I paid less than $80 for an annual pass last year and it's more than paid for itself.

    I know a lot of people with MoviePass, and it seems that many people with it, 1) are going to the movies more, and 2) more likely to get concessions since the movie "feels" free of charge. I'm slightly on the former, but not at all on the latter, but that's probably because I gave up soda in the past few months. Regardless of what I do, I do think there's an argument for MoviePass to get discount costs from the theater and even a small take of the concessions (as they've rumored to be pushing AMC to do) if the theater is benefiting from their existence. That said, I can potentially see a small drop in ticket price but I can't see taking a piece of the concessions ever happening.
    jbdragon
  • Reply 2 of 15
    tmaytmay Posts: 3,762member
    Soli said:
    So far it's been a great service. Some will comment that they'll sell your generalize viewing habits data. Big fucking deal. It's not like movie theaters don't know my viewing habits already. I paid less than $80 for an annual pass last year and it's more than paid for itself.

    I know a lot of people with MoviePass, and it seems that many people with it, 1) are going to the movies more, and 2) more likely to get concessions since the movie "feels" free of charge. I'm slightly on the former, but not at all on the latter, but that's probably because I gave up soda in the past few months. Regardless of what I do, I do think there's an argument for MoviePass to get discount costs from the theater and even a small take of the concessions (as they've rumored to be pushing AMC to do) if the theater is benefiting from their existence. That said, I can potentially see a small drop in ticket price but I can't see taking a piece of the concessions ever happening.
    The issue, I suspect, is that theaters benefit little from ticket sales at a film's first release, with the studios getting all or most of the initial take. How do theaters compensate studios when the tickets are discounted MoviePass? Are the theaters losing money and making it up on snacks and soda?
  • Reply 3 of 15
    Soli said:
    So far it's been a great service. Some will comment that they'll sell your generalize viewing habits data. Big fucking deal. It's not like movie theaters don't know my viewing habits already. I paid less than $80 for an annual pass last year and it's more than paid for itself.

    I know a lot of people with MoviePass, and it seems that many people with it, 1) are going to the movies more, and 2) more likely to get concessions since the movie "feels" free of charge. I'm slightly on the former, but not at all on the latter, but that's probably because I gave up soda in the past few months. Regardless of what I do, I do think there's an argument for MoviePass to get discount costs from the theater and even a small take of the concessions (as they've rumored to be pushing AMC to do) if the theater is benefiting from their existence. That said, I can potentially see a small drop in ticket price but I can't see taking a piece of the concessions ever happening.
    All I can see is them going out of business. Seems like Moviepass wants to drive up their subscription numbers enough so that if the service goes away it will tank the theater chains and try to use that as leverage for a deal. It may well cause them to tank, but supporting something that cheapens the cost of the experience that much would do even more to hurt them IMHO. Enjoy it while you can either way.
  • Reply 4 of 15
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,569member
    This companies stock sucks, the market drives it up and down all over the place since they can not figure how they will make money and if people will continue to go to actual movie theaters.
  • Reply 5 of 15
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,859member
    maestro64 said:
    This companies stock sucks, the market drives it up and down all over the place since they can not figure how they will make money and if people will continue to go to actual movie theaters.
    You know that was the biggest, bullshit scare when the TV was first invented, right? Would you say that movies dropped off after it was invented? What makes you think that no one will continue to watch movies in a theater in near future? I, personally, see no future where a functioning society will not want to see movies in the theater. While I could wait to see The Avengers: Infinity War at home, the cinema offers many benefits that won't soon be replicated well enough.
  • Reply 6 of 15
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 2,120member
    tmay said:
    Soli said:
    So far it's been a great service. Some will comment that they'll sell your generalize viewing habits data. Big fucking deal. It's not like movie theaters don't know my viewing habits already. I paid less than $80 for an annual pass last year and it's more than paid for itself.

    I know a lot of people with MoviePass, and it seems that many people with it, 1) are going to the movies more, and 2) more likely to get concessions since the movie "feels" free of charge. I'm slightly on the former, but not at all on the latter, but that's probably because I gave up soda in the past few months. Regardless of what I do, I do think there's an argument for MoviePass to get discount costs from the theater and even a small take of the concessions (as they've rumored to be pushing AMC to do) if the theater is benefiting from their existence. That said, I can potentially see a small drop in ticket price but I can't see taking a piece of the concessions ever happening.
    The issue, I suspect, is that theaters benefit little from ticket sales at a film's first release, with the studios getting all or most of the initial take. How do theaters compensate studios when the tickets are discounted MoviePass? Are the theaters losing money and making it up on snacks and soda?


    Actually Theaters benefit very little in movie ticket sales. MoviePass pays the FULL PRICE of the tickets!!! There is no discount, other than the Discount price the theater normally does on tickets. It's really strange how some theaters have a issue with Moviepass?!?!?! They still get the full ticket price, and it's getting people into the theater, where they can buy food and drinks at crazy high prices which is where they actually make most of their money. It defy's logic. A person who wants to go to the movies ALL THE TIME!!!!

    It's how is MoviePass able to make enough money? The $9.95 a month cost now is generally not enough enough to pay for 1 movie ticket, let alone a bunch in 1 month. They are paying the full prices of the tickets!!! I know when I first signed up, it was $35 a month, and it wasn't that long ago when it had moved up to $45 a month for me. Which is still not a bad deal when you go and see a bunch of movies every month. Then they had some cheaper plans but limited the movies you could see per month. Now they're doing the whole $9.95 a month for Unlimited.

    I don't know how they can afford to do this? I think AMC wanted to do something similar. it cost ore and only worked on their theaters. So I think that's what the biggest issue they have with MoviePass. It's really just dumb. It's far from the first time these Entertainment company's doing dumb things. I've been to a number of different theaters and it works great. If you're a theater that blocks MoviePass, that's a theater I won't go to. The number of times I see someone with a MoviePass card in line keeps growing. A big plus for me getting it back when it was more expensive was that I could go at any time of the day and it didn't matter. Where as before when I was just buying tickets myself, I'd go to the first showing which has the cheapest ticket price.
    randominternetperson
  • Reply 7 of 15
    For this to work with a family of 4, I'd have to buy 4 separate subscriptions and have 4 separate MoviePass cards, right?  Could I still buy tickets at the kiosk without waiting in line to buy from the human?  I should probably give this a try.  I see every Marvel and Star Wars movie in the theater, so it would pay for itself with just those movies.
  • Reply 8 of 15
    tmaytmay Posts: 3,762member
    jbdragon said:
    tmay said:
    Soli said:
    So far it's been a great service. Some will comment that they'll sell your generalize viewing habits data. Big fucking deal. It's not like movie theaters don't know my viewing habits already. I paid less than $80 for an annual pass last year and it's more than paid for itself.

    I know a lot of people with MoviePass, and it seems that many people with it, 1) are going to the movies more, and 2) more likely to get concessions since the movie "feels" free of charge. I'm slightly on the former, but not at all on the latter, but that's probably because I gave up soda in the past few months. Regardless of what I do, I do think there's an argument for MoviePass to get discount costs from the theater and even a small take of the concessions (as they've rumored to be pushing AMC to do) if the theater is benefiting from their existence. That said, I can potentially see a small drop in ticket price but I can't see taking a piece of the concessions ever happening.
    The issue, I suspect, is that theaters benefit little from ticket sales at a film's first release, with the studios getting all or most of the initial take. How do theaters compensate studios when the tickets are discounted MoviePass? Are the theaters losing money and making it up on snacks and soda?


    Actually Theaters benefit very little in movie ticket sales. MoviePass pays the FULL PRICE of the tickets!!! There is no discount, other than the Discount price the theater normally does on tickets. It's really strange how some theaters have a issue with Moviepass?!?!?! They still get the full ticket price, and it's getting people into the theater, where they can buy food and drinks at crazy high prices which is where they actually make most of their money. It defy's logic. A person who wants to go to the movies ALL THE TIME!!!!

    It's how is MoviePass able to make enough money? The $9.95 a month cost now is generally not enough enough to pay for 1 movie ticket, let alone a bunch in 1 month. They are paying the full prices of the tickets!!! I know when I first signed up, it was $35 a month, and it wasn't that long ago when it had moved up to $45 a month for me. Which is still not a bad deal when you go and see a bunch of movies every month. Then they had some cheaper plans but limited the movies you could see per month. Now they're doing the whole $9.95 a month for Unlimited.

    I don't know how they can afford to do this? I think AMC wanted to do something similar. it cost ore and only worked on their theaters. So I think that's what the biggest issue they have with MoviePass. It's really just dumb. It's far from the first time these Entertainment company's doing dumb things. I've been to a number of different theaters and it works great. If you're a theater that blocks MoviePass, that's a theater I won't go to. The number of times I see someone with a MoviePass card in line keeps growing. A big plus for me getting it back when it was more expensive was that I could go at any time of the day and it didn't matter. Where as before when I was just buying tickets myself, I'd go to the first showing which has the cheapest ticket price.
    If that's true about paying full price (or a typical discount equal to a matinee), I'm not seeing a successful business plan for MoviePass at $9.95 a month.

    Recall what happened a few years ago when Netflix changed it's streaming/dvd plan, ie, raised prices. MoviePass has put themselves in the position of establishing the high mark for pricing. What if they can't make money at that?

    A link;

    http://www.businessinsider.com/how-does-moviepass-make-money-2017-8
    edited February 2018
  • Reply 9 of 15
    Soli said:
    maestro64 said:
    This companies stock sucks, the market drives it up and down all over the place since they can not figure how they will make money and if people will continue to go to actual movie theaters.
    You know that was the biggest, bullshit scare when the TV was first invented, right? Would you say that movies dropped off after it was invented? What makes you think that no one will continue to watch movies in a theater in near future? I, personally, see no future where a functioning society will not want to see movies in the theater. While I could wait to see The Avengers: Infinity War at home, the cinema offers many benefits that won't soon be replicated well enough.
    While true, we gave up going to major chains like AMC due to the patrons - in my major metro the theaters are full of rude people talking or texting. It’s a buzz kill to have to ask them to stop. It’s either the smaller indie theater or enjoying it on my home theater instead. While not as immersive, it’s worth it to be stress-free. YMMV. 

    But it is a fact the theaters are getting more desperate. Commercials, for one.  And lately, haven’t you seen those pathetic PSAs from the director thanking you for coming out to the movies? Healthy businesses don’t do that. 
    edited February 2018
  • Reply 10 of 15
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,859member
    tmay said:
    jbdragon said:
    tmay said:
    Soli said:
    So far it's been a great service. Some will comment that they'll sell your generalize viewing habits data. Big fucking deal. It's not like movie theaters don't know my viewing habits already. I paid less than $80 for an annual pass last year and it's more than paid for itself.

    I know a lot of people with MoviePass, and it seems that many people with it, 1) are going to the movies more, and 2) more likely to get concessions since the movie "feels" free of charge. I'm slightly on the former, but not at all on the latter, but that's probably because I gave up soda in the past few months. Regardless of what I do, I do think there's an argument for MoviePass to get discount costs from the theater and even a small take of the concessions (as they've rumored to be pushing AMC to do) if the theater is benefiting from their existence. That said, I can potentially see a small drop in ticket price but I can't see taking a piece of the concessions ever happening.
    The issue, I suspect, is that theaters benefit little from ticket sales at a film's first release, with the studios getting all or most of the initial take. How do theaters compensate studios when the tickets are discounted MoviePass? Are the theaters losing money and making it up on snacks and soda?


    Actually Theaters benefit very little in movie ticket sales. MoviePass pays the FULL PRICE of the tickets!!! There is no discount, other than the Discount price the theater normally does on tickets. It's really strange how some theaters have a issue with Moviepass?!?!?! They still get the full ticket price, and it's getting people into the theater, where they can buy food and drinks at crazy high prices which is where they actually make most of their money. It defy's logic. A person who wants to go to the movies ALL THE TIME!!!!

    It's how is MoviePass able to make enough money? The $9.95 a month cost now is generally not enough enough to pay for 1 movie ticket, let alone a bunch in 1 month. They are paying the full prices of the tickets!!! I know when I first signed up, it was $35 a month, and it wasn't that long ago when it had moved up to $45 a month for me. Which is still not a bad deal when you go and see a bunch of movies every month. Then they had some cheaper plans but limited the movies you could see per month. Now they're doing the whole $9.95 a month for Unlimited.

    I don't know how they can afford to do this? I think AMC wanted to do something similar. it cost ore and only worked on their theaters. So I think that's what the biggest issue they have with MoviePass. It's really just dumb. It's far from the first time these Entertainment company's doing dumb things. I've been to a number of different theaters and it works great. If you're a theater that blocks MoviePass, that's a theater I won't go to. The number of times I see someone with a MoviePass card in line keeps growing. A big plus for me getting it back when it was more expensive was that I could go at any time of the day and it didn't matter. Where as before when I was just buying tickets myself, I'd go to the first showing which has the cheapest ticket price.
    If that's true about paying full price (or a typical discount equal to a matinee), I'm not seeing a successful business plan for MoviePass at $9.95 a month.

    Recall what happened a few years ago when Netflix changed it's streaming/dvd plan, ie, raised prices. MoviePass has put themselves in the position of establishing the high mark for pricing. What if they can't make money at that?

    A link;

    http://www.businessinsider.com/how-does-moviepass-make-money-2017-8
    Longterm, this experiment will likely fizzle out, but it's hard to imagine that MoviePass users will have lost a penny on their service. I think it's highly likely we'll see the bigger theaters adopt an in-house option similar to MoviePass. They want use to use their theater, they'll want us to go to the movies, they can dictate (to a degree) how much a seat costs, and they will likely see that they can make more profit from increased concessions.


    Soli said:
    maestro64 said:
    This companies stock sucks, the market drives it up and down all over the place since they can not figure how they will make money and if people will continue to go to actual movie theaters.
    You know that was the biggest, bullshit scare when the TV was first invented, right? Would you say that movies dropped off after it was invented? What makes you think that no one will continue to watch movies in a theater in near future? I, personally, see no future where a functioning society will not want to see movies in the theater. While I could wait to see The Avengers: Infinity War at home, the cinema offers many benefits that won't soon be replicated well enough.
    While true, we gave up going to major chains like AMC due to the patrons - in my major metro the theaters are full of rude people talking or texting. It’s a buzz kill to have to ask them to stop. It’s either the smaller indie theater or enjoying it on my home theater instead. While not as immersive, it’s worth it to be stress-free. YMMV. 

    But it is a fact the theaters are getting more desperate. Commercials, for one.  And lately, haven’t you seen those pathetic PSAs from the director thanking you for coming out to the movies? Healthy businesses don’t do that. 
    I'm not a fan of an unruly crowd. They can easily ruin a movie experience. I get around that (typically) by going to the earliest shows, and having assigned seats means I see how crowded it is right before a show.
    edited February 2018
  • Reply 11 of 15
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,859member
    For this to work with a family of 4, I'd have to buy 4 separate subscriptions and have 4 separate MoviePass cards, right?  Could I still buy tickets at the kiosk without waiting in line to buy from the human?  I should probably give this a try.  I see every Marvel and Star Wars movie in the theater, so it would pay for itself with just those movies.
    It's a two-step process, per user. With their app you check-in, and then you use their card (which has an MC logo on it) to pay at the theater's kiosk, website, or register. You also need a different device in which to check-in (once you're within 100 yards of the theater) as each card is tied to a different account. These multi-purchase limitations are features I've requested be address as it's definitely not ideal if you're buying tickets for a family at every showing.
    edited February 2018
  • Reply 12 of 15
    Been using MoviePass since I heard it on the news when they lower it to $10. It took 1 1/2 months to get my card (I hear now it takes like 1 week) and have been enjoying it ever since. Also upgraded my AMC rewards to premiere and been racking up the rewards.

    Most AMC Box Office booth people will not accept your rewards card if you go up to them with your MoviePass card. Some AMC booth attendants are even shady about it by activating your rewards when you don't want them too. I have had that happen to me 3 times, so I just gave up on using the people to buy my tickets and I go to a Kiosk. This also happened to another friend that is local (in D.C. area) and another friend several times in Arizona.
  • Reply 13 of 15
    randominternetperson said:
    For this to work with a family of 4, I'd have to buy 4 separate subscriptions and have 4 separate MoviePass cards, right?  Could I still buy tickets at the kiosk without waiting in line to buy from the human?  I should probably give this a try.  I see every Marvel and Star Wars movie in the theater, so it would pay for itself with just those movies.
    Some more things to add to what Soli wrote. The Movies cannot be IMAX, Dolby Cinema, or 3D (briefly mentioned above as 2D movie service), so basically non-special screening. I'm just mentioning that because Dolby Cinema is technically 2D, but has HDR projectors, Dolby Atmos sound, and recliners.

    Like I wrote above, it is actually better to use a Kiosk if you are going to AMC. 

    I think MoviePass also has a 2 per household limit, but they might have removed that...
  • Reply 14 of 15
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,859member
    I think MoviePass also has a 2 per household limit, but they might have removed that…
    I know that was mentioned for the Annual Plan, but I'm not sure what the deal is today.

  • Reply 15 of 15
    Soli said:
    I think MoviePass also has a 2 per household limit, but they might have removed that…
    I know that was mentioned for the Annual Plan, but I'm not sure what the deal is today.

    Yeah, if the is still in effect, then it definitely won't work for him as he needs 4.
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