Movie ticket service MoviePass has announced a change to their subscription plan, introducing new tiered options with prices tied to the subscriber’s geographic location.
The current MoviePass subscription plan allows for three movies a month for ten dollars, although subscribers are limited in the choice of titles they can see by MoviePass, choosing from a short list that changes daily. The new tiered plans, which go into effect on January 1, look to expand that options that user have in using the card, but it will cost them more based on where they live.
According to the company’s press release, the new plans are as follows –
● SELECT (starting at $9.95/month): Subscribers will be able to see three movies per month at some point during their theatrical run through a programming model (announced the week prior), which at launch will exclude Opening Weekends. Title selection in this plan includes standard 2D movies only. As product enhancements take place, more titles will become available, including on Opening Weekends, and this plan will ultimately result in a showtime-driven, inventory model.
● ALL ACCESS (starting at $14.95/month): Subscribers will be able to see any three movies of their choice per month, at any time during their theatrical run, including Opening Weekend showtimes. Title selection in this plan includes standard 2D movies only.
● RED CARPET (starting at $19.95/month): Subscribers will be able to see any three movies of their choice per month, at any time during their theatrical run, including Opening Weekend showtimes. Subscribers of RED CARPET may choose to use one of their allotted three movies in IMAX 2D, IMAX 3D, or supported Premium Large Format (PLF) screenings, including RealD 3D showings at launch.
You’ll notice that those plans all have a “starting” price. That is because the pricing on the three tiers will vary based on where the user lives.
An added element of the new pricing structure is zoning by geographical area. It is designed to reflect the differences in the average ticket price in different areas of the country. The zoned pricing structure for each of the new plans is as follows:
The announcement did not contain any information as to what plan current subscribers will automatically be rolled over into or if they will have to choose one by a certain time. It also spell out if card holders can use their card if they travel out of their geographic area or not.
This change is just the latest that MoviePass has made to their service over the last several months in a way to stay financially afloat. And it is also a far cry from the services one movie per day every day of the month with no restrictions on titles which propelled the service to over three million subscribers
The current plan which restricts the potential number of films one can use their card for has been a sore point for many MoviePass subscribers. The daily list of potential films often centers on more indie films that have limited distribution, and therefore not always showing in a user’s locality, or Hollywood fare that has already been out for several weeks.
For myself, living in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton region of Pennsylvania, the restriction on film titles has often led to virtual no films eligible for use on days at a time. Taking a look at today’s available films, according to the MoviePass app, only one film, Boy Erased, is currently showing within an hour’s drive and it is only on one screen. The service has become less valuable to me as a movie goer, and therefore has received less use.
And that is probably the whole point though. In a report at Business Insider last month, it was stated that MoviePass usage among subscribers was down. Last March, the company reported that the average subscriber was using their MoviePass card to see about 2 movies (actually 2.23) per month. But by September, after the company had put a number of restrictions on their plan, that usage had dropped to barely 1 month a month (actually 0.77) per subscriber. And while these restrictions have actually slowed down subscriber usage of the card, it has also lost the company a reported tens of thousands of subscribers.
It remains to be seen if this new tiered subscription scheme will be enough to reverse the company’s fortunes. It may help, but the company still has to make good on its promise to find additional revenue streams that dovetail with their offer of discount movie tickets. It is a promise that they have had a hard time fulfilling so far.