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MoviePass Founders Say Subscription Service 'Would Never Have Happened' Without iPhones in New App Store Feature

MacRumors

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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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Apple today on the iOS App Store shared a new interview with the founders of MoviePass, touching on the service's origins and its integral ties to the iPhone and modern smartphone app development. MoviePass debuted in 2011, but grew in popularity last August when the company dropped its subscription price to $9.95/month, which lets customers see one standard 2D film every day in the theater

In Apple's new interview with Stacy Spikes and Hamet Watt -- the pair of entrepreneurs who founded MoviePass seven years ago -- the conversation eventually focuses on where the idea for MoviePass emerged. According to Spikes, the kernel of the idea that would become MoviePass originated from art-house theaters in New York City that let customers see unlimited movies for a flat donation fee.


He tried to install a similar model for his own Urbanworld Film Festival in the late 1990s, but admitted it was "too early," and that iPhones, apps, and the advances in development that emerged from this technology were all needed to address the technical roadblocks of such a service.
"The idea was almost too early," says Spikes. "We didn't have iPhones and apps to figure out payment and interfacing. If it weren't for that development, MoviePass would never have happened."
MoviePass works through the use of both the iPhone app and a paired debit card that is sent to subscribers through the mail after they sign up. If you want to see a movie, you travel to your local theater (MoviePass is supported at over 90 percent of theaters nationwide), select a 2D showtime, "check in," and at that time MoviePass transfers the exact cost of the showing to your MoviePass card. Then you can buy a ticket at the box office or a kiosk like any normal ticket purchase.

Although the service is growing, many reports in the months following its August price drop have questioned how long the company can keep up the $9.95/month subscription fee (currently $7.95/month paid annually), as well as its public conflict with theater chain AMC. What MoviePass lacks in profit it hopes to make up for in accrued user data, selling a majority stake of itself to data company Helios and Matheson Analytics, which sees "big potential in the type of information it can glean from MoviePass members," with "no plans to sell user data to outside parties."

As of January 2018, MoviePass had 1.5 million subscribers. According to CEO Mitch Lowe, MoviePass will hit three million subscribers by the end of April, and turn a profit once four million subscribers sign up for the service.

MoviePass updated its iOS app [Direct Link] to support the iPhone X this month, providing a revamped user interface with more emphasis on images from popular films, better navigation, and an updated screen for the check in process. If you want to read the full interview with the creators of MoviePass, you can find the discussion with Stacy Spikes and Hamet Watt at the top of the Today tab on the iOS 11 App Store on iPhone or iPad.

Article Link: MoviePass Founders Say Subscription Service 'Would Never Have Happened' Without iPhones in New App Store Feature
 

DotCom2

macrumors 601
Feb 22, 2009
4,745
3,254
I used my MoviePass for the first time this Monday. Painless.
Only thing I don't like is that if you go with your spouse, you have to pay separately with the pass card. Just a slight inconvenience but still. Also, I don't like that you can't get your tickets online ahead of the showtime and select your seats. You have to "check-in" at the theater but still, with these few probs it's still a GREAT DEAL! I got ours through Costco and it was even cheaper
 

earthTOmitchel

Contributing Editor
Staff member
Mar 6, 2015
388
582
Louisiana
I used my MoviePass for the first time this Monday. Painless.
Only thing I don't like is that if you go with your spouse, you have to pay separately with the pass card. Just a slight inconvenience but still. Also, I don't like that you can't get your tickets online ahead of the showtime and select your seats. You have to "check-in" at the theater but still, with these few probs it's still a GREAT DEAL! I got ours through Costco and it was even cheaper
Agreed, but as someone who always pays for their own ticket and rarely pre-orders, I've been loving it. February was my first month as well.

Not sure how I'll handle premiere showings, like for Infinity War. May have to just pay for a traditional ticket for pre-orders there.
 
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TheSuperE

macrumors regular
Sep 11, 2014
112
108
Portland, OR
I used my MoviePass for the first time this Monday. Painless.
Only thing I don't like is that if you go with your spouse, you have to pay separately with the pass card. Just a slight inconvenience but still. Also, I don't like that you can't get your tickets online ahead of the showtime and select your seats. You have to "check-in" at the theater but still, with these few probs it's still a GREAT DEAL! I got ours through Costco and it was even cheaper

Ah but you can. GO a tad earlier than you typically would. My MoviePass CC is saved in my Alamo draft house app. Do this:

1) Open MoviePass and "Check into your movie"
2) Open the Theater App find your movie and choose your seat.
3) Pay with your MoviePass account.
4) Go to Kiosk or if they allow digital tickets...
5) Just walk in.

Hope that helps.
 
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Pman17

macrumors 6502
Mar 12, 2011
303
205
Galveston, TX
I used my MoviePass for the first time this Monday. Painless.
Only thing I don't like is that if you go with your spouse, you have to pay separately with the pass card. Just a slight inconvenience but still. Also, I don't like that you can't get your tickets online ahead of the showtime and select your seats. You have to "check-in" at the theater but still, with these few probs it's still a GREAT DEAL! I got ours through Costco and it was even cheaper

I've been using mine since they dropped the price. I haven't actually been saving much with my theater since their ticket prices are cheaper than $9.99, but when there is a second movie worth going to in the month, it helps. Normally there has been one good movie a month for me. When I go to the big city, I do save like $2 if I were to go to one movie. Taking advantage this month. Saw Black Panther last week, today gonna see that claymation cave man movie to get my monies worth.
For online tickets, it's a hassle but I go to the theater way before the showing and get a ticket. In fact, if you go to Studio Movie Grill hours in advance, you check in on the app, then Movie Pass will give you a confirmation number, you enter that number into the SMG pay tablet, pick your seat, and Viola! Ticket prints out without swiping the Movie Pass Card.
I hope they add Apple Pay in the future.

I recommend listening to this podcast on MoviePass. Funny how they are messing with the giant AMC to gain leverage.
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast...-true-is-it/id1080467174?i=1000401743462&mt=2
 
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brucerb

macrumors newbie
Aug 13, 2013
26
1
Ordered two cards through Costco, one never showed up. Cannot get a response from MoviePass. Maybe if they focus on responding to customer problems instead of giving fluff interviews, they might have a chance of success.
 

lolkthxbai

macrumors 65816
May 7, 2011
1,364
417
Ah but you can. GO a tad earlier than you typically would. My MoviePass CC is saved in my Alamo draft house all. do this:

1) Open MoviePass and "Check into your movie"
2) Open the Theater App find your movie and choose your seat.
3) Pay with your MoviePass account.
4) Go to Kiosk or if they allow digital tickets...
5) Just walk in.

Hope that helps.
there have been reports from users that this works but has led to their accounts to being suspended
 

TheSuperE

macrumors regular
Sep 11, 2014
112
108
Portland, OR
there have been reports from users that this works but has led to their accounts to being suspended

Must be a large theater issues like AMC or whatever, Alamo seems to work just fine that way. Weird, since its doing the same thing, I guess AMC for example gets extra benefits by doing that...
 

HighStrungLoner

macrumors newbie
Jul 26, 2011
7
5
Portland, Maine
If only they didn't charge me for an entire year a full week before I received my card and now, after three weeks of promises, have yet to issue a refund. Their Customer Service is nearly nonexistent. Their phone support says they're too busy to connect and their Twitter @MoviePass_CS never answers. Good luck if you ever have a problem, folks.
 

subjonas

macrumors 68030
Feb 10, 2014
2,893
2,623
I’ve been using the crud out of my moviepass. Watching so many more movies now. Most worthwhile subscription I have next to Netflix.
 
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bommai

macrumors 6502a
May 23, 2003
625
257
Melbourne, FL
Ordered two cards through Costco, one never showed up. Cannot get a response from MoviePass. Maybe if they focus on responding to customer problems instead of giving fluff interviews, they might have a chance of success.

If you order through Costco, the email they send contains both vouchers. I ordered two of them twice and I got them within a few minutes.
 

CharlesShaw

macrumors 6502a
May 8, 2015
678
650
Perfect timing. I just signed up yesterday and am eager to get back in the big screen habit.

I’m trying to avoid spending so much free time and money sitting at home streaming TV, so after rediscovering OTA TV using a network tuner and the Channels app on ATV, I’ve canceled all services, including overpriced home internet and am just connecting my iPhone hotspot for OS updates, users guide info, etc.

It feels like 2005 again, looking forward to seeing movies in theaters! Back when binging on TV for me meant going to Blockbuster to rent the next DVD in the season.
 
Last edited:

Mlrollin91

macrumors G5
Nov 20, 2008
13,685
9,277
Ventura County
Ordered two cards through Costco, one never showed up. Cannot get a response from MoviePass. Maybe if they focus on responding to customer problems instead of giving fluff interviews, they might have a chance of success.
Their customer service is horrendous. I missed 3 movies and drove over 60 miles for nothing because their card would not work and CS would not get back to me. Been 6 weeks, still waiting for CS. Cancelled my account and disputed the charge with Chase as I never got to use it. They have an F- with the BBB because they have only responded to like 5% of complaints.
 

Westside guy

macrumors 603
Oct 15, 2003
5,715
2,879
The soggy side of the Pacific NW
Well, if the previous iteration was "in the late 1990s" then the whole idea of mobile app platform a la Palm Pilot had yet to really get going.

I guess I'm not convinced "the iPhone" - which did hugely impact many things - really deserves this particular plaudit.
 

RSmith2023

macrumors 6502
Sep 26, 2015
291
235
Atlanta, GA



Apple today on the iOS App Store shared a new interview with the founders of MoviePass, touching on the service's origins and its integral ties to the iPhone and modern smartphone app development. MoviePass debuted in 2011, but grew in popularity last August when the company dropped its subscription price to $9.95/month, which lets customers see one standard 2D film every day in the theater

In Apple's new interview with Stacy Spikes and Hamet Watt -- the pair of entrepreneurs who founded MoviePass seven years ago -- the conversation eventually focuses on where the idea for MoviePass emerged. According to Spikes, the kernel of the idea that would become MoviePass originated from art-house theaters in New York City that let customers see unlimited movies for a flat donation fee.


He tried to install a similar model for his own Urbanworld Film Festival in the late 1990s, but admitted it was "too early," and that iPhones, apps, and the advances in development that emerged from this technology were all needed to address the technical roadblocks of such a service.
MoviePass works through the use of both the iPhone app and a paired debit card that is sent to subscribers through the mail after they sign up. If you want to see a movie, you travel to your local theater (MoviePass is supported at over 90 percent of theaters nationwide), select a 2D showtime, "check in," and at that time MoviePass transfers the exact cost of the showing to your MoviePass card. Then you can buy a ticket at the box office or a kiosk like any normal ticket purchase.

Although the service is growing, many reports in the months following its August price drop have questioned how long the company can keep up the $9.95/month subscription fee (currently $7.95/month paid annually), as well as its public conflict with theater chain AMC. What MoviePass lacks in profit it hopes to make up for in accrued user data, selling a majority stake of itself to data company Helios and Matheson Analytics, which sees "big potential in the type of information it can glean from MoviePass members," with "no plans to sell user data to outside parties."

As of January 2018, MoviePass had 1.5 million subscribers. According to CEO Mitch Lowe, MoviePass will hit three million subscribers by the end of April, and turn a profit once four million subscribers sign up for the service.

MoviePass updated its iOS app [Direct Link] to support the iPhone X this month, providing a revamped user interface with more emphasis on images from popular films, better navigation, and an updated screen for the check in process. If you want to read the full interview with the creators of MoviePass, you can find the discussion with Stacy Spikes and Hamet Watt at the top of the Today tab on the iOS 11 App Store on iPhone or iPad.

Article Link: MoviePass Founders Say Subscription Service 'Would Never Have Happened' Without iPhones in New App Store Feature
I’m still not sold. I like to order in advance and select my seats and you can’t effectively do that with this service. (No way you can use this to see prime movies on release date as most of the good seats are gone by the time you can “check in” for your desired showing.

It’s still early though. Perhaps, if the service survives, it will mature.
 

now i see it

macrumors 603
Jan 2, 2002
5,827
11,962
Since this scheme doesn't make any money- the monetizing comes from deep data tracking analysis of its customers. Where you were, what date, at what time, what movie. Beyond creepy.
Your privacy is extremely valuable. That's why creepy companies like this (and Google) go to extreme lengths the take it away from you.
 

TimUSCA

macrumors 6502a
Mar 17, 2006
696
1,536
Aiken, SC
Since this scheme doesn't make any money- the monetizing comes from deep data tracking analysis of its customers. Where you were, what date, at what time, what movie. Beyond creepy.
Your privacy is extremely valuable. That's why creepy companies like this (and Google) go to extreme lengths the take it away from you.
Very different from what Google does. You movie viewing HABITS are tracks. Your name is not attached to any of it as far as MoviePass is concerned. It's literally no creepier than what Netflix is tracking.
 

earthTOmitchel

Contributing Editor
Staff member
Mar 6, 2015
388
582
Louisiana
Love MoviePass. I’ve seen more movies in two months than I have the past five years combined. I’m seeing movies I normally wouldn’t go out of my way to go and see. I recommend the service to everyone.
It really helps with those on-the-fence movies. Like I saw the third Maze Runner movie, which I would otherwise have skipped and watched on TNT in a year. But damn it was pretty awesome experience on a big screen.
 
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kazmac

macrumors G3
Mar 24, 2010
9,348
7,561
Any place but here or there....
I'll continue to skip. Fandango is still better for me and the lack of customer service & issues with AMC continue to be a sticking point.

If I see more than 3 movies a year, it's a lot.

As far as the iPhone, was it that pivotal to more subscriptions?
 

DotCom2

macrumors 601
Feb 22, 2009
4,745
3,254
Since this scheme doesn't make any money- the monetizing comes from deep data tracking analysis of its customers. Where you were, what date, at what time, what movie. Beyond creepy.
Your privacy is extremely valuable. That's why creepy companies like this (and Google) go to extreme lengths the take it away from you.
It isn't just this company and Google. It's EVERYTHING on the Internet! Even the post you just made is probably harvested and used for some analytical purpose. It just the ways things are now.
 

currentinterest

macrumors 6502
Aug 22, 2007
491
283
Worst customer service I have ever experienced. Cannot get through on the phone and no action except acknowledging receipt of complaint for online submission. I have had the card for two months and not able to use it because of the wrong card number showing up in the app for some reason. No one from MoviePass will help. Canceling means I will not get a full refund so I keep trying to get through.
 

gnrh11

macrumors newbie
Sep 9, 2015
4
1
I've just signed up and it makes going to the movies feel so much better not worrying if you are going to pay a lot and hate the film you just viewed. Just Feels like the future, the app for iOS has just been updated and is smooth. I'm just worried if I have a big family if I can afford to get them all a moviepass. For just 2 people it is a no brainer. Definitely worth the monthly $.
 

brucerb

macrumors newbie
Aug 13, 2013
26
1
If you order through Costco, the email they send contains both vouchers. I ordered two of them twice and I got them within a few minutes.

That wasn't the issue. Still need the physical card and never received the second one. Anyway, the nice thing about ordering through Costco is it's easy to get the money refunded for the card never received.
 
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