Survey: Consumers Willing to Pay $22 Monthly to See Three Theatrical Movies Monthly

As theatrical ticket subscription pioneer MoviePass struggles to remain in business, a new survey reveals consumers are willing to pay more than twice the $9.95 fee MoviePass currently charges subscribers.

The survey conducted Oct. 11-14 among 2,201 adults from Morning Consult and commissioned by The Hollywood Reporter, found respondents would pay upwards of $22 monthly to watch three theatrical screenings monthly.

Respondents said they would also pay $25 to see three movies per week, and $33 for unlimited screenings.

MoviePass set the exhibition industry on its ear last year when it launched service offering subscribers daily access to a theatrical screening for less than $10 per month. With the service paying exhibitors such as AMC Theatres and Regal Cinema face value for each ticket consumed by subscribers, fiscal losses began to spiral out of control.

MoviePass now limits subs to three select screenings per month. Restrictions that resulted in AMC and Cinemark launching competing ticket subscriptions – the former priced at $19.95 enabling subs access to three screening weekly in any format, including Imax, Dolby Cinema and RealD 3D.

Three in 10 frequent moviegoers subscribe to AMC Stubs A-List, while 27% subscribe to MoviePass.

Notably, the survey revealed that just 6% of respondents are “very likely” to purchase a subscription service, while 23% could go either way. That left 71% of respondents who said they were either not very likely (32%) to purchase a subscription or had no interest (29%) in buying one. Another 10% didn’t know or had no opinion.

Millennials are the most likely to purchase a ticket subscription.

According to the survey, perks that would incentivize consumers to use a subscription service include: unused tickets rolling over to the next month (22%); ability to choose from a variety of plans/theaters (19%); the number of movies included (15%); and the ability to use subscription tickets to bring friends (25%).

 

Analyst Calls MoviePass’ $128.7 Million Oscar Box Office Contribution Claim Disingenuous

When upstart MoviePass recently announced it had contributed $128.7 million in box office for select Oscar-nominated films, it appeared to underscore both market demand and importance of a theatrical ticket subscription service.

Upon closer scrutiny, it was reported that the box office for Oscar nods Call Me By Your Name, Lady Bird, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, The Shape of Water, The Post, I, Tonya and The Square had combined ticket sales of $17 million.

MoviePass then clarified the Feb. 7 press release, saying the service accounted for $31.4 million in additional Oscar-nominated film ticket sales, bring the total impact to $48.5 million.

When combined with $110 million tickets bought through the service – MoviePass pays exhibitors for every ticket purchased – since August 2017, and another $80.2 million in tickets by friends of MoviePass subscribers, total contribution reached $128.7 million.

Wedbush Securities media analyst Michael Pachter said the revised $48.5 million tally seems reasonable. The analyst contends MoviePass should only count tickets purchased by subscribers, and perhaps its subscribers’ friends will join as well if compelled to do so.

“The $128.7 million figure seemed impossible,” Pachter wrote in a Feb. 12 note. “It is simply disingenuous.”

The analyst contends MoviePass, which just topped 2 million subs, is trying to secure concession revenue sharing agreements with major chains AMC Theatres, Cinemark and Regal Cinemas, including $3 ticket price cuts.

MoviePass recently blocked access to select high-priced theaters in Manhattan, N.Y. in order to cut down on costs.

Cinemark operates its own subscription service, Movie Club.

“[While] MoviePass is surely saving significantly by blocking attendance at AMC’s 10 highest-cost national locations, it’s just a matter of time before AMC and Regal launch their own subscription services,” Pachter wrote.

 

MoviePass Partners with ‘I Heart Media’

MoviePass, the subscription theatrical ticket service, has inked a media deal with iHeartMedia.

The agreement affords New York-based MoviePass an extensive marketing campaign across iHeartMedia’s multiplatform network, including radio, digital, social and live events.

With more than 1.5 million subscribers, $9.95 MoviePass eyes iHeartMedia helping target new subscribers, in addition to selling ads on its website and app.

“We expect that this relationship will be beneficial to movie exhibitors, because we hope to drive more traffic into theaters and to advertisers through our strong working intelligence on the preferences and behaviors of a substantial number of movie-goers,” Mitch Lowe, CEO of MoviePass, said in a statement.

Lowe said subscribers are going to twice as many movies as non-subs, including purchasing one in every 50 movie tickets sold in the U.S.

The service claims movie theater attendance for participating exhibitors has increased more than 400% since the launch. Data iHeartMedia believes it can sell.

“We have the capability to build significant brand awareness for MoviePass through our … reach of more than 270 million monthly listeners across … our multiplatform assets,” said Joe Robinson, president of iHeartMedia Ventures. “We see a unique opportunity with MoviePass, and its ability to understand and analyze audience trends and behavior which is a great asset for our advertisers, especially those looking to further engage with millions of moviegoers.”

Movie Ticketing Heads to the ‘Gym’

NEWS ANALYSIS — In an age of over-the-top video, two services have emerged selling movie tickets via monthly subscription – a business model predicated on user indifference toward actually going to the movies.

MoviePass, the New York-based service headed by Mitch Lowe, former CEO of Redbox, enables subs access to one theatrical movie per day for a flat $9.95 monthly fee.

The service – majority owned by Wall Street investment firm Helios and Matheson Analytics – ended 2017 with 1 million subs (after dropping the original $29.99 price). It recently partnered with Costco selling $89.99 annual passes. The promotion includes access to indie film service Fandor.com.

Cinemark, which operates nearly 6,000 screens in the United States and Latin America, last month launched Movie Club enabling members access to no more than two tickets monthly for a discounted $8.99 fee. The service allows users to roll over unused tickets and discounts on concessions – a significant perk and unavailable at MoviePass.

Both MoviePass and Movie Club are targeting consumers who attend movie theaters infrequently. Indeed, audiences between the ages of 18 and 24 attended an average of 6.5 movies over the course of the year – more than any other age group, according to the Motion Picture Association of America.

This data is key to the survival of both services, especially MoviePass, which pays theaters full price of any subscriber ticket admittance.

In a sense, MoviePass and Movie Club operate like a gym membership, marketing loss-leader pricing to a wide spectrum of consumers, hoping only a small percentage of members actually use the service as advertised.

For MoviePass to make a gross profit, on average each of its subs would have to visit the theater at most once a month. Two or more visits per month on average would drive significant losses for the company, at least until MoviePass is able to secure additional sources of revenue.

The platform has revenue-sharing agreements with select indie theaters, which comprise less than 6% of its tickets sold, according to Wedbush Securities’ Michael Pachter.

The analyst contends MoviePass would achieve less than 1% gross profit on 2 million subs and 20% rev/share with indies.

“[It] could surpass break-even gross profit if its subs on average see only one movie per month throughout the year,” Pachter wrote in a note. “If its members on average see more than one movie per month its losses will be substantially higher.”

By comparison, Pachter believes Movie Club’s exposure to Cinemark’s bottom line is more manageable.

“We expect the net impact to be positive, with the magnitude dependent upon the program’s ultimate penetration,” he wrote.