Leading polling firm NRG has released a follow-up survey on the state of MoviePass among current moviegoers and former subscribers to the service, and the results are, shall we say, alarming.
In March, NRG conducted a comprehensive poll to better understand the impact MoviePass was having — and could continue to have — on the film industry. At the time, NRG found that subscribers were in love with the service, that it was significantly altering moviegoing behavior, and that there was high demand from consumers for a moviegoing subscription service. Thanks in part to MoviePass’s attractive ticketing model, domestic ticket sales have grown 9 percent from the same point last year.
However, there were concerns that MoviePass was ‘too good to be true’ and wouldn’t last, and sure enough, the service has undergone some significant changes over the past five months. Earlier this month, NRG surveyed more than 1,500 moviegoers between the ages of 18 and 74, including 424 current MoviePass subscribers and 100 subscribers who had recently cancelled. The survey showed that customer satisfaction has dropped significantly, cancellations are on the rise (largely due to growing restrictions on what subscribers could see and when), and the company’s long-term health is in jeopardy as the seeds of doubt continue to grow. Nowhere is that more evident than on Wall Street, where MoviePass’ parent company has taken a substantial hit in its stock price.
“MoviePass’s innovation was offering the freedom and flexibility to see any movie, at any time, at almost any theater, for a low price,” said Jon Penn, CEO of NRG. “By constantly changing the terms of service – limiting which films subscribers could see and when they could see them – MoviePass has eroded brand trust and undermined their leadership position.” That certainly has to be concerning to MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe.
There’s no question that the moviegoing public has benefited from MoviePass, which has helped drive audiences to theaters at a time when streaming services are gaining traction across America. The problem is that the company kept changing the rules and lost the trust of its members, and now there’s more competition, from theater chains like AMC and Cinemark that are introducing their own subscription services, to rivals like Sinemia, which offers tickets in premium formats like 3D and IMAX. That’s an important distinction, because NRG’s survey found that moviegoers place more value in a plan’s flexibility — the ability to see whatever movie they want at whatever theater they want — than on the total number of movies they are allowed to see. Perhaps that’s why Sinemia ranked higher than AMC and Cinemark, which of course, would limit subscribers to their respective theaters. Now they just need a new name, since their current one sounds like a disease.
“There remains immense opportunity and moviegoer appetite for innovation in movie ticket buying. Future services that offer value, flexibility and convenience — in an economically viable way — will help drive moviegoing to new heights,” concluded Penn, and I agree with him. I don’t think anyone has cracked the subscription code yet. There is further room for innovation. MoviePass had the foresight to lead the charge, but unfortunately, the company has proven that its flawed business model is unsustainable. Enjoy it while it lasts, folks!