MoviePass has begun the new month by back-pedaling on an April policy change that rankled some of its two million-plus subscribers. Since April 13, members just joining the discount-movie-ticket app have only been allowed to see four movies each month, a far cry from the one-movie-per-day selling point long-touted. One week ago, CEO Mitch Lowe told The Hollywood Reporter that he was unsure whether daily MoviePass usage would ever be available again to fresh recruits. Yet in a more recent interview with Variety, Lowe announced that the movie-per-day model has returned.
The app attempted to downplay that it was reducing the number of films new subscribers could see by getting them excited about a new promotion: Those who signed up in late April also received a free, three-month trail of iHeartRadio All-Access. However, the fine print revealed that subscribers who neglect to cancel the the radio membership will then be charged $9.99 for it each month, meaning customers will pay more than double for their $9.95/month MoviePass.
“Any time we’ve done a promotional package, we’ve taken the monthly plan off our site,” Lowe told Variety. “It’s marketing 101. We wanted to focus everybody on this partnership promotion. If people knew the [movie-per-day] plan was coming back, they might not be interested in the iHeartRadio deal.” The iHeartRadio incentive has been scrapped from MoviePass’ homepage.
However, MoviePass — which loses money on the ticket transactions of its most enthusiastic users — will uphold a second April addition to its service agreement: No member can use their subscription for repeat viewings of the same film, as many would have wanted to do for “Avengers: Infinity War” and upcoming “Deadpool 2.” Lowe told Variety that the measure was intended to prevent fraud and scalping (“A small percentage of people are abusing the system”).
Helios and Matheson Analytics, MoviePass’ data firm parent company, lost $150.8 million in 2017, which included the cost of purchasing the seven-year-old service in August. At the time, MoviePass had fewer than 20,000 subscribers. Then its monthly price fell below $10 for the first time, and millennials couldn’t turn over their credit card numbers fast enough. About three months ago, Lowe confirmed to IndieWire that more than 50 percent of its members are 35 or under, while 28 percent reside in either New York City, Los Angeles, or San Francisco.