Thursday, May 19, 2022

MoviePass is officially coming back: We hope it stays

Two years after the wildly popular subscription service MoviePass had crashed and burned, its co-founder Stacy Spikes seems to be determined to bring it back. Spikes says MoviePass will make its return this summer.

MoviePass is officially coming back: We hope it stays
MoviePass is officially coming back: We hope it stays

This was an American subscription-based movie ticketing service, it was majority-owned by Helios & Matheson Analytics. This service allowed its users to purchase up to three movie tickets per month for a monthly fee. 

A history of MoviePass

On November 10th, 2021, the co-founder Stacy Spikes was approved ownership of MoviePass by a New York bankruptcy court judge. Spikes who was fired from the company in 2018, after it was acquired by HMNY has been open that the company won’t be repeating the mistakes of the past. A new website for the company will include mailing-list signup for updates on when the new version launches.

MoviePass has recently been bought by Spikes after his unceremonious ouster from the company in 2018. The company held its launch event today at the Walter Reade Theater Lincoln Center in NYC. Spikes wasted absolutely no time and addressed the Helios and Matheson Analytics-shaped elephant in the room. The firm was infamous for being the parent company of MoviePass that managed to blow the entire thing shortly after the firm bought the startup. Who became famous for offering unlimited movie tickets for a monthly fee.

“Few people lost money and few people lost trust,” Spikes said. He claimed he was among those who were hurt by the company’s mismanagement. During the opening moments of this event, Spikes oscillated between addressing the disappointment of being pushed out of his company and joking about MoviePass’ loyal consumers. Along with its power users, who Spikes cracked are the reason the company went out of business. Then finally, the process of snapping the company back after its parent company went bankrupt in 2020.

“We are looking at this from a different sight,” Spikes said regarding the relaunch. He added that he now plans to run the business like a “co-op.” Spikes added that MoviePass users will have the ability to be able to hold partial ownership of the company, with the most premium tier inclusive of a lifetime subscription.

The event was at times a little bizarre, with muted clapping being heard when Spikes paused to make sure his jokes, as well as proposals, were landing with the live attendees. Spikes sounded at times like he was delivering an enthusiastic Ted Talk on theatrical releases, rather than a product launch. He kept hyping the relaunch under his new vision, as he says it will be “powered by web3 technology.”

“Moviegoing isn’t going anywhere; cinema isn’t going anywhere,” Spikes added.

The company’s original engineering team seems to be returning for the business’s relaunch, as per Spikes, the service will be launching this summer. Under this new model, MoviePass will run on tradable credits that roll over month to month. Subscribers will be able to use their credits to bring along a friend, a different approach from the single-user card system that MoviePass used previously, which could’ve led to annoyance among non-cardholders.

MoviePass 2.0 will work on a tiered system, says Spikes. Spikes shared images of a beta version of the new app along with the credit-based system, which will vary depending on things such as peak movie-going hours. MoviePass’ ambitions for subscribers are ambitious. Spikes wants to claim 30 percent of the moviegoer market by 2030, this is MoviePass’ “moonshot” goal.

Unsurprisingly, MoviePass will incorporate aspects of Spikes’ existing business PreShow, a technology that allows gamers to trade ad views for in-game currency. This type of movie-going was previously teased by Spikes to Insider. The way PreShow works are that you have to actually view the ad, the company tracks whether your attention is trained on your phone. After users “complete the PreShow,” they will be awarded credits that can then be used to buy tickets through the MoviePass platform.

Spikes told attendees that MoviePass’ most loyal fans will be “deputized” to beta users. They will be able to use the experience for their first year for free. Sometime during the summer, these users will be contacted regarding the beta programming.

Spike has fired the company he helped cofound by Helios and Matheson Analytics executives Ted Farnsworth and Mitch Lowe in 2018. This reportedly happened for raising concerns about the service’s unsustainable $10-per-month payment structure (which was meant to be temporary, as per Spikes). Shortly thereafter, the service started imploding, it was hemorrhaging money, the service underwent abrupt changes. The app sometimes didn’t work at all (which was afterward reported to be intentional). The service was eventually shut down in 2019, followed by Helios and Matheson Analytics filing for bankruptcy the following year.

Last winter, Spikes bought back the company, then announced plans to relaunch the service. Spoke with Insider’s Jason Guerrasio (he covered the MoviePass saga extensively.) Spikes said that the decision to buy back the brand he helped form “was encouraged thanks to the continued interest from the movie-going community.”

Spikes also added, “We believe, if executed properly, a theatrical subscription can play an instrumental role in lifting movie-going attendance to newer heights.”

Spikes seemed to shrug off the existing subscriptions launched by individual theater chains. Instead, suggesting that MoviePass would offer more options along with more flexibility than a single exhibitor could. Since MoviePass folded, numerous theaters have launched their own power user subscription models that be in direct competition with MoviePass. MoviePass will also have to convince these exhibitors to sign on, this is something they were initially sensitive about in a pre-pandemic market.

A lot has changed for movie theaters since MoviePass was shut down in 2019. This also means a lot will have to change for MoviePass, as well, if it wants this second run to meet a better ending.

If you liked this article (or if it helped at all), leave a comment below or share it with friends, so they can also know MoviePass is officially coming back.

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