MoviePass CEO wants to get in on the metaverse

MoviePass returns this summer after being resurfaced and resuscitated by original co-founder Stacy Spikes. During a launch presentation on Thursday, Spikes took the stage in New York to hype the relaunch of his controversial movie ticket subscription service. There was a lot of fanfare and, somewhat bizarrely, references to Web3 technology. But one thing Spikes failed to mention onstage was MoviePass’ metaverse goals.

“Some of the players in the metaverse are a bit game-y now, if I feel like you want to watch the movie, Spikes tells The edge† “You don’t need fake popcorn; you don’t need tomatoes; You don’t need any other things out there. And that’s what we look at, and it’s something that we take seriously that we feel we’re going to be there. †

During the Thursday Launch event, spikes pitched a product that felt a little less like a potential bomb than the service’s beloved but disastrously dirt-cheap unlimited viewing. And he’s ready to tap just about any avenue, including digital currency and the metaverse, to bring the memesub back to life. The problem is, it’s unclear whether consumers — or in HECK, even theaters — are MoviePass 2.0 ready. A Moviegoing subscription that relies on VR and decentralized technologies gives the same energy as AMC in Crypto. Fine, but Why

“What’s great about going to the movies is it’s uninterrupted. You can’t stop it, you have to pay attention, and if not, you’re going to waste your money,” says Spikes. “And what we like is that the event is displayed. And I think the event rendering can be done in the metaverse. †

Spikes did not specifically participate in the company’s metaverse ambitions. He mentioned concerts and live events as an area of ​​interest – “We see ourselves as a live event company,” Spikes tells me – but it sounds like longer-term thinking for now.

Despite all the buzzwords, Spikes’ ultimate goal for MoviePass hasn’t changed. The core function of the service is still putting people in physical seats at movie theaters and spikes says the new Moviepass will give users more flexible and better experience, all while helping the theaters.

The way the old Moviepass worked was with a debit card-like system that allowed members to watch a certain number of movies each month for a fixed fee. There’s still a lot to be clarified about the new MoviePass – pricing has yet to be announced, for example, and Spikes declined to share a margin when I asked. But spikes says the new subscription service will be tiered, and users will additionally be able to earn additional moviego credits by watching ads through spikes’ existing business, cautiously.

This time, Spikes says, members will also have more flexibility to do things like bring a friend — something that wasn’t an option with the last MoviePass. Based on slides shared during this week’s presentation, the number of credits per film varies based on factors such as peak moviegoing hours and maybe even title popularity and location. Spikes insists this is a crucial differentiator between this new MoviePass and the one that spawned 1,000 memes due to the poor way it was managed.

“It’s a bit of a concept shift – it’s less about the price and a lot more about the flexibility that people can go where they want, and then even if you’re mid-month, and you want to go more, then you’ve got the able to get more credits and go upstream. So it adds a lot of flexibility, where the previous model was kind of a one-size-fits-all,” says Spikes. “We think the one-size-fits-all stiffness is something that needs to change.”

That flexibility could be a huge advantage for MoviePass 2.0 at a difficult time for the theater industry. Exhibitors are starting to reclaim their exclusivity windows, and recent releases like Spider-Man: No Way Home have signaled that audiences are increasingly comfortable returning to the auditoriums for movie premieres. But pandemic releases are still in flux, and as things begin to return to normal, streaming executives have been hesitant about fully returning to pre-COVID release models.

Spikes’ Launch Event This Week reads like a love letter to movie theaters. In fact, the moment he spoke, it seemed directly to them. (He very well could be – MoviePass hasn’t announced any exhibition partners yet, but Spikes tells The edge the company has “very sophisticated conversations that we’re very comfortable with”.) If MoviePass is to succeed, it needs theaters, and the landscape of the movie industry has changed dramatically in the years since the old MoviePass went up in flames.

For example, many theaters now have their own subscription services that reward power users with discounts. When I ask Spikes how MoviePass fits into a world where subscriptions like Alamo Season Pass and AMC Stubs A-List exist, he says that smaller theaters have shown interest, while larger chains are taking a wait and see approach.

“I mean, it’s clear that those who don’t have a plan have a lot of interest in working with us. Those who do have a plan, I guess, are waiting to see what we’re going to do,” he says. “It’s an ongoing conversation, but certainly the bottom 50 percent who don’t have millions of dollars to bring out the technology we have are leaning in and saying, ‘Hey, we’ve seen how you impacted our business, when can we get involved? ?’”

Still, Spikes seems to believe that MoviePass could revolutionize the theater industry. During his presentation, Spikes said MoviePass 2.0’s “Moonshot” target has doubled the film industry’s annual revenue and attendance with a “30 by 30” initiative. Essentially, Spikes wants subscriptions (on any service, not just MoviePass) to represent 30 percent of all domestic ticket sales in the industry by 2030.

To achieve anything close to the fabricated success of the early MoviePass—the subscription service had millions of users at its peak, thanks to its economically unfeasible $10 price—the new MoviePass must regain consumer trust. Before spikes bought the company last year, MoviePass’ Previous Parent Helios and Matheson Analytics have a bang-up job of weakening customers and purporting to be the system.

When I asked Stacy ABOUT Helios and Matheson Analytics Executives Ted, Ted Farnsworth and Mitch Lowe, who eventually fired spikes from the company, he says he thinks there is potential for companies whose original founders return to the company to build trusts. to build. But he also credits former Moviepass subscribers who “kept the Spirit alive” with motivating him to land the company again.

“I haven’t spoken to them since then regarding Mitch and Ted. When I was fired, I got an email. And we never had any words,” he says. “You know, that’s fine. We’re excited about it. the opportunity to rebuild where we were the brand and recover to help the film industry.”

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