A TechCrunch article: So, Recode reported today that Twitter was tinkering around with the idea of expanding its 140 character limit to a number a bit higher….10,000 characters. But what,...
Courtesy of Vanity Fair:
In another bid to stave off potential collapse, MoviePass has announced that it will incorporate surge pricing into its service. Here’s how it works: before subscribers can watch certain titles at certain times and on certain highly trafficked days, they will now be asked to pay an additional $2 to $6 fee. Users will be alerted to the fee before purchasing their tickets, though MoviePass cannot yet predict exactly what time certain titles will be subject to peak pricing. Users will also be able to waive one peak fee a month.
The peak-pricing mode was rolled out to a group of subscribers on Thursday, and will roll out for the rest in the coming weeks, according to the company’s statement.
This new feature is the latest attempt from MoviePass—a Netflix-like service that allows subscribers to watch movies in theaters for as little as $9.95 total a month—to goose its numbers after a rough few months. The service exploded in popularity in the last year after drastically lowering its subscriber fee, but that attention and user increase has come at a steep price. In a recent S.E.C. filing, MoviePass’s parent company Helios and Matheson revealed that it plowed through $40 million in May, and an independent auditor predicted that the company didn’t have enough cash to last based on its current model. The company’s stock also took a serious dive in the last few months, dropping by another 46 percent.
MoviePass is so cheap because it essentially pays theaters to let its subscribers see movies, a formula that translates to a lot of lost cash—and the need for a serious bump. Thus, peak pricing, a leaf out of Uber’s book.
Since initially dropping its prices last year, MoviePass has accrued more than 2 million subscribers—a phenomenal growth rate that turned the service into a major player in the industry, not to mention a major threat to theaters like AMC. The chain dislikes MoviePass so much that it recently introduced a subscription service of its very own, dubbed AMC Stubs A-List. Though its pricing isn’t as competitive (three regular movies a week for $19.95 a month), the service will keep subscribers from potentially flocking to outside services like MoviePass.
Surge pricing might just be another feature that ends up driving MoviePass users to more specialized services like AMC’s. The company has earned a reputation for continually keeping its users on their toes, introducing a series of changes that make MoviePass less convenient and appealing—from limiting the number of movies newer users can see to requiring certain users to verify ticket purchases by taking a photo of their ticket stub (to backing absolute train wrecks like Gotti). While the company’s base offering is still a tremendous deal for its subscribers, those constant changes have also become a minor headache. Peak pricing is a headache that will also cost them money—which probably won’t make it a very popular initiative.