MoviePass returns and pins hopes on Web3 and ads
MoviePass, the disastrous subscription cinema service which collapsed under the weight of its popularity, is returning for a second bite at the cherry under new management.
Co-founder Stacey Spikes is spearheading the return after purchasing the scorched remains of the business, a pointed return after being turfed out of his own company in 2018 over irreconcilable differences on strategy.
MoviePass's meteoric rise is eclipsed only by its stratospheric fall precipitated by the arrival of analytics firm Helios and Matheson, which acquired a majority stake in 2017. Infamously the firm slashed subscription rates to a ruinous $10 per month in the hope it could flog subscriber data, ensuring its costs vastly exceeded its income, presaging an inevitable collapse by September 2019.
Spikes is determined to reanimate the business with a 'co-op' model that will see members own a stake in the service. Opening with a grovelling apology Spikes conceded that "A lot of people lost money, a lot of people lost trust", from the failed service but pledges that this time things will be different by embracing web 3.0 which holds potential for decentralizi the internet by embracing blockchain technology and token-based economics.
Set for its grand relaunch this summer the new and improved MoviePass will tear up the problematic single-user card system in favour of tradeable credits that can be carried through from month to month. A far more flexible model will also permit members to trade their credits to bring along a friend.
Whether this is enough for Spikes to attain a 30% market share of the movie-going public by 2030, his stated goal, is dubious but Spikes has some history in this area via his PreShow business, which permits gamers to trade ad-views for in-game currency. Preaching to an audience of press and investors at his launch event Spikes said: "We believe, if done properly, the theatrical subscription can play an instrumental role in lifting moviegoing attendance to new heights."
In the meantime, many unanswered questions remain, not least how MoviePass can compete with the subscription services offered by theatres directly and when or if they are likely to agree to participate in the latest incarnation of the service having been burned already.