MoviePass frustrates customers with higher cost, fewer movies

MoviePass is frustrating customers with increased prices and fewer movies available during the first two weeks of their releases. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

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MoviePass is frustrating customers with increased prices and fewer movies available during the first two weeks of their releases. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

A popular movie subscription service is about to raise its price and limit customer viewing options in an effort to become more sustainable.

MoviePass announced Tuesday that it is accelerating its cost-reduction and subscription revenue measures to decrease losses by 60 percent.

The subsidiary of Helios and Matheson Analytics currently comes at a price tag of $9.95 each month for its more than 3 million subscribers, reaching about 6 percent of the nation’s total box office sales in the first half of 2018, according to a release. For that cost, subscribers used to be able to access one movie a day — any movie at any time.

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But soon the company will up the fee to $14.99 per month. It will also limit the availability of Blockbuster movies for subscribers during the first two weeks, unless the company makes them available via a promotion.

The company has also implemented measures to prevent abuse of the MoviePass service, including ticket verification where customers will submit a photo of their purchased ticket stub to the app.

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“This is a strategic move by the company to both limit cash burn and stay loyal to its mission to empower the smaller artistic film communities,” the release said.

The newest developments build on changes MoviePass started earlier this month, when it introduced peak pricing, a system that takes movie demand into account and charges subscribers a small fee if they wanted to see a popular movie at a busy theater during a common time.

Just this week MoviePass took out an emergency $6 million loan, with $5 million earmarked to pay its merchants and fulfillment processors who could stop processing payments from the MoviePass card. Last Thursday, MoviePass users complained that the app wasn’t working properly and theater admissions weren’t processed, according to the media reports.

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“Over the past year, we challenged an entrenched industry while maintaining the financially transparent records of a publicly traded company. We believe that the measures we began rolling out last week will immediately reduce cash burn by 60 percent and will continue to generate lower funding needs in the future,” said Ted Farnsworth, chairman and CEO of Helios.

Many customers are frustrated by the services recent changes, taking to social media to voice their concerns.

“Saw some great movies with @MoviePass too bad I had to cancel. Not worth it anymore but fun while it lasted,” one user said.

Several other users have said they cancelled their subscriptions in light of the recent news.

"Thanks for making it super easy for me to cancel when this billing month is over. Between making me wait two weeks to see most new movies, insanity with surge, pictures of stubs, and hiking the price up 5 bucks…you've made it not worth the hassle," another former subscriber said on Twitter.


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