With ticket prices exponentially increasing, a new start-up is hoping to take advantage of the hugely successfully Netflix-based subscription model, but for the theater experience. MoviePass will be kicking off in beta form this week around the San Francisco Bay Area, and charging customers $50 a month to see an unlimited number of movies in the theater.
Mashable has a profile and interview with co-founder Stacy Spikes, revealing more details about the service. The new company is currently in negotiations with major online ticketing services (think Fandango and MovieTickets), so you would be able to use their services at any of the kiosks at your local theaters. A subscriber can use a “geo-aware HTML5 web app” to buy their desired tickets at the respective site. Once you arrive at the theater the MoviePass app gives you a code to redeem at the kiosk and counter. There are a few snags though, as Mashable notes:
- Users are limited to seeing one movie per day. We understand this limitation, but it’s a bummer for those of us who like to see multiple movies on a rainy Saturday.
- Users can only see a movie one time. If you want to re-watch Transformers 3 or another summer blockbuster, you’ll need to pay for your ticket.
- Tickets are non-transferrable.
- Tickets must be purchased the day of the show.
- 3D and IMAX tickets will cost an additional $3. The user will just pay the difference in ticket price between 2D and 3D but can still purchase and pick up tickets the same way as with a regular 2D film.
The company plans to launch into more markets by August before going nationwide this fall. It is also noted that more expensive markets like New York and Los Angeles, may be more than $50 per month. Likening it to Netflix, once they build up a user base Spikes says they could lower rates (with many users not taking advantage of seeing films every weekend).
When it comes to the idea, it is enticing. If I were an average moviegoer and didn’t see most films at screenings, I would definitely be interested in this model. The only snag is not being able to see more than one film a day and not being able to repeat any films. There is also the downside of many arthouse, independent theaters not having MovieTickets or Fandango kiosks.
Doing the math, the average ticket costs between $10-15 dollars, so if you go to the movies at least 4-5 times a month, this service could be a of great use. I think theater exhibitors and the industry need to be looking at new ways to revitalize the cinema experience (and not just through 3D) and this is one way that I think could be beneficial.
Do you think MoviePass could have a broad reach, or is it only for diehard filmgoers? Would you use the service?
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