MoviePass charges Netflix prices and membership is skyrocketing
People want to binge watch on the big screen for Netflix prices.
MoviePass, a subscription-based service that lets you watch as many movies as you want in theaters, cut its subscription fee from $40 and $50 a month to just $9.95 in the past year — just a dollar more than Netflix — and thousands more people are signing up.
In just three weeks, membership spiked from 20,000 to 400,000, and the company had to triple its payroll to keep up with demand, according to the New York Post.
At the time of its launch six years ago, AMC blasted MoviePass as a “small fringe player” and “unsustainable.” However after increasing the number of subscribers over the years, the service, which launched in 2011 and ranked in an annual revenue of $9 million, is reportedly now on track to make $50 million this year with continued growth, according to Forbes. The service — which pays theaters like AMC, Entertainment, Regal Entertainment or Cinemark the full price of a ticket each time a subscriber sees a movie — makes money just like a gym would since people often sign up, but don’t go as much as they should.
Still, MoviePass could be a good deal if you go to the movies more than once a month, as the average price of seeing a movie in the US was $8.65 last year. And the MoviePass perks are significant: MoviePass is available at 91% of theaters nationwide, including chains like Regal and AMC along with smaller, indie theaters. And the only way a theater could theoretically block MoviePass was if it didn’t take MasterCard, the credit card the company uses to buy tickets. Conveniently enough, there are no blackout days, so you can see big blockbusters like “Star Wars” the day it comes out. The big exception to the service is you can’t see the same movie twice, and you can’t lend your MoivePass to a friend since it’s connected to your smartphone.
But many people may not go often enough to make it worth it. Only 14% of Americans say they see a movie once a month, while just 3% claim to see one once a week, according to Statista.com. Still, ex-Netflix exec, Mitch Lowe, now chief executive of MoviePass, thinks new subscribers will see a little more than one show per month, despite their limitless access. Subscribers were already turning up almost four times per month when they were paying $40 for the subscription. And in 2014, when MoviePass’s $35 to $45 packages rolled out as a test run at AMC theaters in Boston and Denver, the company found that viewers went to the movies 100% more thanks to the subscription service. (And an added perk for theaters: Popcorn sales went up too by a whopping 123%.)
MoviePass is targeted at bringing a younger crowd back to the movies. In 2016, audiences between the ages of 18 and 24 attended an average of 6.5 movies over the course of the year – more than any other age group, according to the Motion Picture Association of America. Netflix, on the other hand, has around the same demographic, attracting 81% of adults between the ages of 18 and 35.
To profit, Moviepass will aim to sell partnerships to restaurants and other businesses, and plans to launch a new app next year.
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