There’s been a lot of hoop-la surrounding MoviePass recently. If you’re unfamiliar with the name, it’s a subscription service that offers users multiple movie tickets per month for a set fee.
While the idea sounds okay in theory, the problem is that MoviePass can’t seem to determine a few key factors, such as pricing, the number of movies you’re allowed to watch, the types of movies you’re allowed to watch, how you’re supposed to purchase those movies, etc.
Fortunately, AMC recently released their own competitive service known as AMC Stubs A-List. Many critics think this could be what MoviePass wanted to be for film fans. So, what’s wrong with MoviePass exactly, and how can AMC fix those issues?
The problem with MoviePass
MoviePass users have a lot of issues with the service – and for good reason. Some of those issues are outlined below, but they all seem to boil down to one thing: a terrible business model.
Movie theater resistance
MoviePass may have been doomed from the beginning.
In the early days of MoviePass (around 2011), the service offered printable vouchers to users. These vouchers were taken to the movie theater to exchange for actual tickets.
Of course, most users would assume that most movie theaters were onboard with this plan. Otherwise, how could the service possibly work? Turns out, it sometimes didn’t. Many theaters, including AMC, actually weren’t happy to work with MoviePass and refused to redeem the vouchers for MoviePass members.
Another – possibly even bigger – issue was with the pricing structure.
It seems MoviePass executives couldn’t agree on a pricing structure, either. They’ve experimented with several different price points over the years, ranging from $6.95 per month to roughly $100 for unlimited tickets.
Unfortunately, once you tell customers a certain price, they tend to balk when you raise that price substantially without notice. MoviePass discovered that truth the hard way.
As of today, the current pricing is $9.95 per month, per the MoviePass site. However, if the past is an indication of the future, that could change at any moment.
Unlimited – or not?
Of course, consumers may be willing to pay a higher price if movie tickets are unlimited. However, it’s hard for anyone to justify paying a premium for unlimited movies because MoviePass makes no guarantee that movies are, in fact, unlimited.
At times, the service has included unlimited tickets for any movie at certain theaters. However, the company has changed this offering in the past, offering only select movies (which generally excluded most new releases and 3D films), tiered pricing based on a certain number of movies each month, and other combinations of services.
At one point, the service even included a trial subscription to iHeartRadio AllAccess. As you may guess, these changes left customers confused and frustrated, prompting many to cancel their subscriptions.
You may also assume by now that MoviePass made all these changes due to cash flow issues – and you’re right. The service has consistently lost money, and they’ve nearly folded as a result.
Just this year, they borrowed millions just to stay afloat – and changed their pricing model and offerings again as a result.
How does AMC Stubs A-List compare?
By now, you may be wondering how MoviePass managed to stay in business for this long. No one knows for sure, but the most pervasive theory is simple: People really want it to work.
A subscription service for movie tickets sounds like an ideal setup, both for the entertainment industry and for consumers. It’s just the execution that’s been terrible so far.
That’s why AMC Stubs A-List may actually work. It’s too early to say for sure, but it looks like their business model is head and shoulders above MoviePass’s. Here are a few examples:
- The service is offered by AMC, which already owns over 600 theaters in the United States. Obviously, users won’t need to worry that theaters won’t accept AMC Stubs A-List tickets in this situation.
- So far, the pricing is set at $19.95 per month for up to three movies per week. The website doesn’t mention any other restrictions, and even offers a 12-month pricing guarantee and 3-month commitment period.
- They’ve added some perks to sweeten the deal. Users can book reservations through their app and even get discounts on soda and popcorn.
Based on their current offerings, it looks like AMC was paying close attention to customer response to MoviePass over the years, possibly even biding their time to release their own competitive service. Or maybe they just seized an opportunity.
Either way, it looks like Stubs A-List is everything consumers had hoped for with MoviePass, so maybe things will work out for film fans after all.
Meta description: The many issues with MoviePass have left film fans annoyed and confused. Thankfully, AMC Stubs A-List is stepping up with their own plan, which may make all the difference for subscription movie ticketing services.