It appears MoviePass has been slowly cutting down its offerings in an attempt to stop itself from bleeding even more money.
MoviePass, thought by many to be too good to be true, is a monthly subscription service that lets users watch any number of films in a month for a set fee. That used to be how things worked until the company slowly introduced restriction after restriction.
Most recently, MoviePass unveiled a bundle that includes access to iHeartRadio's premium features plus four movies per month, maximum. It's less value than MoviePass's all-you-can-watch tiers but an understandable move for a company steadily losing money.
Also, in its earlier days, the company limited to seeing films just once. It's doing that again. The reason, according to CEO Mitch Lowe, is to prevent fraud.
MoviePass Wants To Prevent Fraud
"When we took that policy down, we saw some people turning MoviePass into a cottage industry, standing in front of a theater selling their tickets to Star Wars, or whatever," he said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. He added that new features are currently in development, including movie plans for couples plus options for IMAX and 3D films.
In order to keep up with its growing subscribers, the company has had to change its model multiple times since its launch, but MoviePass is most popular for its a-movie-per-day option. However, that was replaced with the aforementioned iHeartRadio bundle. In the interview, Lowe said he doesn't know if that plan would ever return. Again, the move comes amid trying times: the an external auditor has expressed concern about the company's future, not to mention its whopping $150.8 million loss.
Is MoviePass Losing Its Appeal?
As The Verge notes, the company's original model basically meant it lost money over every ticket sold, which is to say it was running an unsustainable business, but precisely because it was too good to be true was why people kept clinging to its $10 a month watch-till-you-drop plans.
To be fair, the new change will only affect select movies, but MoviePass doesn't make clear which ones. Are independent films exempt? Will it only apply to big-budget films? At any rate, the company justifies it by saying:
"We hope this will encourage you to see new movies and enjoy something different!"
One can go on and on about how MoviePass is losing money and how this change will help it buy time as it tries to determine a more sustainable business model, but such concerns don't matter to the average consumer. The only thing they will think of is whether MoviePass is still worth the cost as a service — and the tumultuous changes, not to mention privacy concerns, are taking away what made it great in the first place, increasingly undermining the appeal.