Sometimes it takes a couple of attempts before you get off the ground. But maybe the third time around will be the charm.
I’m referring to Urbanworld Foundation founder StacySpikes and his MoviePass film subscription service, which Tambay first reported about back in June 2011 HERE.
As Tambay said back then the “service, for film fans, will let subscribers watch unlimited movies in theaters using their smartphones as tickets. The all-you-can-watch service, announced Monday with a private beta starting in the San Francisco Bay Area just in time for the Fourth of July blockbuster weekend, is looking to shake up the theater business in much the same way Netflix has changed the DVD-rental game. MoviePass will launch with an “unlimited pass” service allowing subscribers to go to as many films as they can stand for $50 a month. If they want to see a 3-D or Imax film, they will pay a $3 surcharge”.
However, things didn’t work out as planned. The initial test started in San Francisco and almost 19,000 people signed up for the service. However theater chains weren’t so keen on the idea since the service used a third party supplier for people to buy tickets instead of buying tickets from the theaters themselves. As a result, the test failed. Spikes puts it more kindly, saying that “there was just a simple misunderstanding” between the MoviePass service and the theaters.
A few months later, Spikes tried again, this time using a system that required buyers to print out vouchers. However, some users did not like the system, and theaters found the vouchers slow to procress.
But a few months ago, this past fall, Spikes, with the backing of $4.7 million from investors, introduced a third version of MoviePass, which he claims is “foolproof”.
This time, the price has been reduced from $50 a month to $29 to $34 a month, depending on the location, and uses a Smartphone app and a special debit card.
The process works when a moviegoer enters a movie theater, using the MoviePass app, which lists the films available in that area. After the person makes their selections, the MoviePass debit gets unlocked for 30 minutes, and loaded with the funds to buy the ticket.
So far the new system seems to be working.
According to Spikes: “People are currently coming in today on our waiting list at a speed of about 20 to 30 new potential customers every minute.”