MoviePass is ringing in the holidays with a new three-tier pricing plan starting in 2019. According to the announcement, MoviePass’s majority owner Helios and Matheson Analytics Inc. (NASDAQ: HMNY) has been testing the new pricing plans for months, and the options will be effective January 1. With each of the plans, MoviePass subscribers can view up to three movies a month with multiple movie-going options. Current subscribers can stay on their existing plan, or they can move over to one of the new plans.
The new plans are structured as follows:
- Starting at $9.95 a month, the SELECT plan allows subscribers to see up to three movies a month “at some point during their theatrical run.” Using an algorithm, MoviePass will decide what movies are available, and it will include only 2D movies and exclude Opening Weekends. As this product develops, MoviePass said more movies will become available. It will utilize a “showtime-driven, inventory model.”
- Starting at $14.95 a month, the ALL ACCESS plan allows subscribers to see any three movies of their choosing each month, including Opening Weekends. Only standard 2D movies are included in this plan.
- Starting at $19.95 a month, the RED CARPET plan allows for the most flexibility. Like the ALL ACCESS plan, subscribers can see any three movies of their choosing each month, including Opening Weekends. One of those three movies can be a movie in IMAX 2D, IMAX 3D or supported Premium Large Format screenings, including RealD 3D shows.
Pricing will be based on geographic zone, but MoviePass did not explain where the zones are located, either in the announcement or on its website. Pricing, by zone, is as follows:
In addition to the new pricing plans, MoviePass announced two limited holiday offers. Beginning December 6, users can purchase one ALL ACCESS subscription for 12 months at a discounted rate of $119.95, or two or more All ACCESS subscriptions for 12 months at $99.95 per subscription. As an alternative, movie goers can purchase a single RED CARPET subscription for 12 months for $149.95, or two or more RED CARPET subscriptions for 12 months at $139.95 per subscription. MoviePass did not specify the end of the promotions, but said they are available for a limited time only.
“Change is necessary. We won the hearts of millions of moviegoers, now we need to win back their confidence,” explains Mitch Lowe, CEO of MoviePass, in the December 6 announcement. “We realize that the past year brought our subscribers many modifications and even some surprises, some of which weren’t well-received; but we listened, we reassessed, and we believe we are primed to offer the American consumer the absolute best offering across America in 2019 and beyond.”
Khalid Itum, MoviePass’s new executive vice president, also commented on the changes.
“We are a tech company in the entertainment space and we love going to the movies – that’s where movies are best seen: on the big screen. We carefully listened to our community, learned, and are strongly committed to getting people back to the movies – the way they want to go. The new MoviePass is one that is customized for the consumer,” said Itum. “I believe our new plans demonstrate this commitment and will continue to build relationships with audiences across America.”
Itum was previously the vice president of business development at MoviePass. He was promoted to his current position on December 3. He will be responsible for day-to-day operations and developing and implementing the company’s strategic plan.
“Khalid has a proven track record and I believe he will serve our financial goals and increase our overall operating performance,” said Ted Farnsworth, CEO of Helios and Matheson, in a December 3 news release. “Khalid brings a remarkable enthusiasm and passion to the job each day and truly shares in the overall vision of MoviePass.”
“I’m eager to continue building MoviePass and am proud of how far we’ve come. The road hasn’t been easy – and the hyper growth has been challenging. However, we’ve taken a hard look over the past few weeks and months at what needs to happen in order to not just preserve what we’ve built, but to use it as a foundation upon which to build,” said Itum.
Itum said MoviePass has tried to stay out of the news for the last several months so the company could take time to examine its priorities and to align those with their vision for the future.
“I believe that the best marketing we can do, today and always, is to enhance our product and treat our subscriber as a member of something special: because that’s what MoviePass is to a great number of Americans already. It’s on us to regain their trust. I believe the future is bright for our company,” Itum added.
In November, AMC Theatres announced geographic-based pricing changes to its Stubs A-List movie subscription service, effective January 9, 2019. With its subscription, moviegoers can see up to three movies per week, including premium formats. The base price for a subscription is $19.95 a month; this price is available to members in 35 states. Starting January 9, members in 10 states and Washington, D.C. will see a $2 per month increase. Members in California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York will see a $4 per month increase. Members who sign up before January 9 will enjoy the $19.95 per month rate for 12 months – guaranteed. At the time of that announcement, AMC Theatres had 500,000 members in its new movie subscription service.
MoviePass has had a tough year with pricing changes, subscriber cancellations, disruptions to service due to running out of money, and plenty of bad press – most of it deserved. The company continues to revamp its plans and revise its pricing, making it difficult to keep track of what the current rates are. More importantly, however, the company has lost its subscribers’ trust with blackouts, abrupt changes and re-enrolling cancelled subscribers without their knowledge. Now, they’re changing their pricing again, but not offering transparency or rate guarantees.
This is where AMC Theatres excels. While they have updated their pricing, they gave subscribers two months’ notice and the opportunity to lock in current rates with a rate guarantee. Along with its price increases, AMC Theatres has also offered more features and perks to their memberships, where MoviePass continues to place restrictions on benefits. AMC Theatres has made it clear that transparency and clarity are important to them, announcing that any future rate or benefits changes would require 90 days’ advance notice to members.
“As a reputable operator, AMC has no desire to whipsaw its guests with frequent change, nor would it do so without providing guests reasonable advance notice,” AMC said in a November news release.