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MoviePass – Teaching us that if the price seems to good to be true, great service probably won’t last.

By August 8, 2018 Business

I’ve been a MoviePass member for about 6 months now. I honestly have loved the service — for the most part. I can take my kids to movies anytime I want (or at least until this morning I could) and I don’t have to shell out any money at the theater. My $10 a month membership (x3… me, and my two big kids) covered as many movies as we wanted to see (max 1 per day). We could go see 28-30 movies a month for just $10 a month per membership! And… it has been pretty sweet for several months.

MoviePass is struggling for money though. You see, even though you are only paying $10 a month for a membership, they are paying the theater the full price of the ticket each time you go see a movie. They have been banking on two things — 1.) That you won’t go to the movies. And… 2.) That their ability to sell user data to the movie studios would make up for the enormous expenditure of paying for the price for your tickets. Apparently, it’s not working.  Less than a few weeks ago, MoviePass literally ran out of money and could not process tickets for any of their clients for over 24 hours. They had to take a loan out to resume selling tickets.

Today, I got an email that said that they have revised their service. Now they limit me to 3 movies per membership per month. Still not a bad deal. Also today, our MoviePass apps weren’t working on any of our phones. We had to uninstall and re-install them to make them work. And a quick glance at Twitter showed that thousands of people are having trouble using MoviePass to buy tickets. This tells me that they are struggling and I doubt they will be around for much longer. I hope they survive. I hope they find a way to make things work. But, I’m doubtful.

This reminds me of the web design industry… When you find a deal too good to be true, don’t be shocked when the service you signed up for slowly becomes less of a value and more of a hassle shortly after you sign up. Like MoviePass, a great web designer has to have a sustainable business model to continue to provide exceptional service. If your web designer oversells an underpriced service, don’t be surprised if you can’t get them on the phone or even receive an email like this one sometime soon.