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Friday, August 3, 2018

Movie Pass Troubles


Perhaps it's no surprise that it's come to this: MoviePass's unsustainable business model has proven to be unsustainable.  This model allows subscribers to see one movie a day, including new releases on opening day, for the low price of $10/month.

The conversations I've heard so far have had to do with how great it is that MoviePass has drawn more people to the theaters, and to see more than the newest, hottest blockbuster.  They're seeing movies that they don't even think they'll like all that much--because who cares, one extra movie is essentially free.

Also the discussion on Twitter seems to be that MoviePass has failed, it's gone under.  Which surprise me, because it hasn't.  They're certainly down: the share prices have dropped to something like 7 cents a share down from $12 earlier in the month.  And they had to suspend subscribers from seeing the new Mission Impossible movie--and borrow around $5 million in order to pay off the theaters.  But they're not out.  

One discussion that I haven't been hearing currently is around the "MoviePass EndGame", which I'd read about earlier this year.
  
Given that MoviePass's current business plan was untenable, their ultimate goal, people suspected, would be to, through predatory pricing, dominate a significant share of movie ticket sales, and then to demand that theaters give them kickbacks.  This endgame, the line of thinking went, would force smaller independent theaters out of business and only allow places like AMC and Cineplex to survive.  --That is, entire movie industry would be upended.

I wonder what MoviePass's behind-the-scenes plan really is.  And I whether it's an insidious plan, as described above.  

Or, as in the way they're coming out and speaking about themselves right now, if they're creating opportunities for more obscure movies to be seen, and breathing life into a declining movie market.

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