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MoviePass seeks to set new course with business model revamp

MoviePass has revealed a new pricing model and management restructure as it seeks to bounce back from a troubled year.

The movie subscription firm sought to disrupt the ticketing market by unveiling a strategy in August 2017 that allowed customers to see a movie a day in cinemas, including new releases, on an annual basis for a fee of $10 (£7.90/€8.76) per month.

However, with subscriber figures hitting three million within months, MoviePass has since been trying to restructure this model as it attempts to break even on the tickets it’s selling. MoviePass has now announced that from January 1, it will implement a strategy offering three plans, each of which provide access to three films per month, or up to 36 per year.

The basic plan, Select, will cost $9.95 to $14.95 based on where subscribers live. Members won’t be able to access 3D screenings and the selection of films will be limited to certain titles on certain days.

The next price point, All Access, will cost $14.95 to $19.95 and hold no restrictions on film selection with the exception of 3D screenings. The upper tier Red Carpet plan, costing $19.95 to $24.95, will include one Imax, 3-D or other large-format screening per month.

MoviePass has attracted a wave of negative press in recent months, with parent company, Helios & Matheson, reporting $6.2m cash in hand and around $23.3m on deposit held by credit-card processors in its most recent quarterly results. Losses of $137.2m were also disclosed, along with the warning that it may struggle to maintain operations and be unable to secure further financing.

The company has admitted its shortcomings and that it needs to prove it’s on the road to recovery. “We have a lot to prove to all our constituents,” Mitch Lowe, MoviePass’s chairman and chief executive, told the Variety website ahead of the pricing announcement.

“We don’t just have to prove ourselves to our members, we also have to prove ourselves to the investment community, our employees, and our partners. We believe we’re doing everything that we possibly can to deliver a great service and we’re in the process of fixing all the things that went wrong.”

Lowe admitted that its customer base has shrunk from the high of circa three million, with head of marketing Rodes Ponzer adding: “Expectations weren’t met. The creative memes and the consumer vitriol, we understand it. We told customers it was unlimited and we didn’t meet their expectations. Now we’re going to set their expectations properly.”

In addition, the New York Times newspaper reported that Lowe will hand over day-to-day operations of the company to Khalid Itum, currently an executive vice-president. Lowe, a former Netflix executive, will retain his title and instead focus on long-term strategy.