As if it were on cue, MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe reacted to AMC’s subscription plan announcement this week by making his own in an interview with Business Insider.
By the end of the summer, they plan on introducing:
- Bring-a-friend option. The app will allow you to add another ticket for a friend “somewhere near the retail price of the ticket,” and will also let you choose a seat for them at theaters that have reserve seating.
- Premium option to watch 3-D or IMAX. If you want to see a premium movie, the app will charge you an extra undecided fee of between $2-$6.
That’s not all though. Sometime in July, MoviePass will implement what’s sure to be one of it’s more controversial changes yet:
- Surge pricing for certain “in demand” movies during certain times of the weekend. This will only affect subscribers who pay month to month. If you paid for a year up front, the surge pricing won’t affect you. Essentially, to see a new blockbuster movie during opening weekend, it will cost an extra fee of at least $2 extra a ticket.
This news is definitely a little frustrating. MoviePass’ biggest issue right now (besides a nonexistent customer service department and losing millions of dollars a month), is their “flavor of the month” changes to their base subscription model.
Part of this is inevitable; they are essentially the pioneers of implementing subscription plans for movies. There has to be some level of a “trial and error” mentality to see what works. However, MoviePass has made so many changes…and retracted so many changes in the last year, that it feels like there isn’t a lot of honesty or even a solid business plan coming from the top at times.
Some are saying the AMC plan and future ones like it are going to be a “MoviePass killer.” While that’s certainly possible, I don’t think so. Despite everything, I do think the “extra fee” route is going to seem more attractive to customers in the long term. Here’s why I say that. I personally don’t see a ton of “premium movies.” I enjoy the novelty of 3-D, but it rarely seems worth the extra ticket price. That being said, I would much rather have a plan that charges an extra fee when you see a premium movie as opposed to one that charges a higher base rate per month. I don’t want to feel like I’m paying more for a feature I’m not really using.
Same thing with this upcoming surge pricing. If I had to pick between an extra fee during certain hours or a higher priced base plan, I’m going to choose the extra fee. Again, at least with the extra fee there’s a little more flexibility, and you’re not going to be paying a higher price per month. Plus, given their track record, who knows if the surge pricing will be here to stay or if it’s just another “flavor of the month.”
Without a doubt, MoviePass is a little more than shady when it comes to customer service and the reasons behind their frequent changes. However, they still are the best value overall. With every change I ask myself, “Is anyone else offering a better value overall?” As long as the answer is still “no,” I’m going to stick with MoviePass.
It will be very interesting to see what AMC does with their plan 6 months in; if it stays the same or if they alter the terms….and then what the reaction is from MoviePass.
Thanks for reading my thoughts, but what are yours? Please feel free to take time to let me know below!