Movie Pass. The now 600,000 member large subscription service that has everyone scratching their heads. Well I've been using it for about a month now and figured Nonstiq would be a good place to express the many opinions I have about it.
Before you start, please be aware I’m not a journalist and most of my facts and data come from quick Google searches and some bits of info off Wikipedia. If you want to look further into the history and specifics of the Data surrounding Movie Pass, go ahead and do some Googling if you read or learn something here that you wanna check up on.
What is Movie Pass?
So how does a theater make money with this system? Well if you are a Movie pass subscriber you get a prepaid Debit Card in the Mail that is used to purchase your ticket. So you pay Movie Pass for their service, and they pay the theaters for your ticket. So not only are Movie Theaters not losing any money from a Movie Pass user, they are more than likely getting more people to buy tickets from people with this service.
I’ll explain in more detail how this works a bit later, but first a brief history about the service and its current state:
As you may well be aware though, on August 16th 2017, Movie Pass dropped their monthly price to $9.95 a month. Sounds too good to be true right? Yes and No.
This fee used to be roughly $50 a month, but in certain areas the fee was $99 a month. With the average ticket price in the US being around $9 a ticket, Movie Pass worked by betting that most of their users couldn't go out and see more than $50 worth of movies every month. As you can imagine they made a fair amount of money this way despite only having around 20,00 subscribers.
Obviously your first thought is a should be, “If a ticket price is nearly the cost of my subscription to Movie Pass, once I see two movies Movie Pass is losing money from me that point forward.”
You’re entirely right, they do lose money far more often now with this subscription price, especially since they’ve gained over 500,000 subscribers since the price change.
The next question is of course, how can Movie Pass afford to do this and is it sustainable? Well they didn’t do this price drop out of the blue. Just before their price drop, they were given $27 million dollars from Helios and Matheson as a price infusion to offset the cost of losing money with this cheaper subscription model.
Helios and Matheson Analytics are a large scale Data collecting company. Whom have clearly bet it all on the Data they will be collecting from Movie Pass users. And you definitely will want to read over what Data they will be collecting in the TOS. H&M have also thankfully been quite open about how they see the potential in what movies people see, who is seeing them, and when they see them. This Data, in their eyes, will be incredibly valuable to Movie Studios who will jump at the chance to finally have VERY accurate data about their film goers and what projects they should be focusing on.
Regardless of whether or not this company's big bet pays off in the long run, or if this service is destined to fail and run out of money, I think it’s still worth looking at how the system currently works and if it’s worth trying out.
So after you sign up for the service on their website, they send you a Debit card in the mail. So wait around for that, and once you have your card, it’s time to download the App. Once installed you can select your closet theater and scroll through the showings to find a film you want to see. Now you only get One ticket a day for one person, one showing, so make sure you are positive the movie you select is the one you want to see. Once you’ve chosen a film on the app, Movie Pass will send the price of a ticket for that showing to your Card, and you’ll have 30 minutes to go and actually buy the ticket.
And that's it! Once you do that you can’t use Movie Pass again until the next day. But after paying them $9.99, getting your card, installing the app, and using their card to buy a ticket, you still can do that 29 more days in a month! With no extra cost to you.
The service works really great, does exactly what it says it will do, and I haven’t had any issues yet with the app or the card.
So is Movie Pass something you should get?
Well it depends on a few things.
First and foremost you need to ask yourself if you are okay with letting Helios and Matheson both collect and sell your movie going history. If you’re not then obviously the service isn’t something your should be doing.
For those of us that are, it is definitely worth making sure that you live by or near one of the supported theaters of the service. Movie Pass claim they work in 91% of theaters throughout the US, so check their website to make sure you don’t live in the 9%. You can also do this by installing the app before even subscribing and checking out theaters near you.
Of course maybe if you do sign up for Movie Pass and you rarely go the theater, maybe having a movie pass will lead you to be willing to go to the theater more often to get the most out of your monthly fee. Which wil hopefully be good for more films like this year's Wind River or Ingrid Goes West.
You also should ask yourself if you are someone who would go to the Theater AT LEAST twice a month. Otherwise the service simply isn’t financially worth it. So if you only go to the movies for something Disney owns and don’t care about seeing films that don’t have action figures for them, it may not be for you.
I personally love this service so far, and while I’m concerned that their risky model will end up being too big a risk down the road, for now I am happy to take advantage of being able to see every movie that even slightly peaks my interest. And it's that influx of extra cash from Movie Pass users like me that will hopefully will show the Movie Studios how valuable this Data truly is. Maybe even help them create better films for us to see in the future. Only time will tell, but if you are thinking of diving into this unknown territory with me, I think it’s worth it for now.