Grab your popcorn! The future of movie-going is the blockbuster of this summer as startup MoviePass has announced a $10 monthly plan for all the movies you want to see in theaters. Movie-theater juggernaut AMC, however, isn’t having it.
First things first: MoviePass make a splash last month when it announced its monthly $9.95 plan to give subscribers access to all the cinema they can get in a month, with the restriction that subscribers can only watch one movie a day and must not repeat any movie in the same period. Some say the plan, which excludes IMAX and 3-D functions, is a much better deal than the $30 plan MoviePass already had in place for several months.
MoviePass has a six-year-old history of looking to “disrupt the movie industry in the same way that Netflix and Redbox have done in years past,” according to CEO Mitch Lowe. For the first time, they have introduced a service attractive enough to lure new subscribers into signing up, achieving a reach in the millions.
Here’s how the plan works. You pay your $10 monthly subscription and receive a debit card in which MoviePass deposits the whole ticket fee, so the movie theater gets paid fully for every MoviePass subscriber. This business model is only sustainable by large numbers, but the real business that MoviePass is pursuing here is data – big data.
The same day MoviePass announced its new pricing plan, it startup also revealed that it had sold a majority stake to Helios and Matheson Analytics Inc., a public traded data firm. Data is where the future of MoviePass lies, as it can provide valuable leads both to movie theaters and movie studios.
Lowe told Variety, “We know we have to prove the value we deliver and, at that point in time, where we’re delivering value to studios and theaters, we can work together with them in a constructive manner so that everybody makes more money.”
What Lowe sees in the future is a MoviePass that can provide subscribers with data not only on concessions within the theaters, but with information about restaurants, bars, ice cream shops, and parking lots near their favorite theaters. For example, they partnered in the past with AMC in a pilot program from which they claim MoviePass subscribers increased snack spending by 123 percent on average.
AMC said, however, that MoviePass’ new pricing scheme does more harm than good. While they don’t oppose subscription programs, they want one that doesn’t mess with ticket value.
“In AMC’s view, that price level is unsustainable and only sets up consumers for ultimate disappointment down the road if or when the product can no longer be fulfilled,” said the company in a statement just hours after the MoviePass announcement. The country’s largest chain of theaters also threatened legal action to stop the startup’s attempt to continue with its new strategy.
“AMC…believes that promising essentially unlimited first-run movie content at a price below $10 per month over time will not provide sufficient revenue to operate quality theatres nor will it produce enough income to provide film makers with sufficient incentive to make great new movies,” affirmed the theater chain.
Movie-goers can only wait and see what comes of this clash of business models because the credits are far from being rolled in this story.