By Morf Morford
Tacoma Daily Index
For an idea that does not first seem insane, there is no hope. – Albert Einstein
If there were ever a marketing idea that was crazy, it was the premise behind MoviePass.
Other than being a violation of virtually every economic principle, the premise is very simple; for a flat (and very reasonable) fee a moviegoer can see one currently running full-length film every day.
It’s very similar to the all-you-can-eat buffet style of restaurant.
As you might guess, with a business venture like this, financial maneuvering is a bit tricky.
And movie-going, like virtually every social activity, took a major hit during COVID.
But, in spite of economic circumstances and more variables and headwinds than could be imagined, MoviePass is back. Or at least it will be, soon.
Details, including investment opportunities, can be found here: www.moviepass.com.
As I mentioned, the whole philosophy of MoviePass is kind of crazy.
We are accustomed to a market where we pay for what we use. The concept of an all-you-can-eat “pass” (even in a restaurant) seems strange and unworkable – which is, of course, a polite way of saying unprofitable.
And of course, sometimes it is.
MoviePass first emerged about 10 years ago—long before the pandemic, and long before the advent of popular at-home streaming services like Disney Plus and HBO Max.
The idea was to charge people one price to see a set number of movies on the big screen each month.
Eventually that set number expanded to one a day. All for about $10 a month.
As you might guess, this plan was hugely popular. At one point subscriptions grew by 15,000% in one year.
MoviePass had a very public (and messy) dissolution in 2019. COVID came upon us not long after than that. Add in Netflix, Hulu and a dozen others, and movie-going involving going out and joining a crowd at a big screen theater seemed as unlikely as a revival of vinyl LPs.
But it turns out that Americans love movies. As do many of us around the world.
In fact not only do we love movies, we absolutely LOVE them.
The idea of paying ahead for something you know you will do, is not so crazy after all.
MoviePass 2.0 will be a slightly different animal than the initial version.
You may have heard that running a business is about more than making money.
MoviePass 2.0 will take that concept to a whole new level.
The new MoviePass will be built on Web3 technology and allow users to essentially “sell” advertisers access to their eyeballs.
The model for the new MoviePass would be based on a virtual currency, or credits that can be used in different ways.
Members will have a certain number of credits to spend each month based on their plan. Any unused credits will roll over and will be able to be used later.
In addition, Web3 technology will enable users to trade and transfer credits.
In its previous incarnation, users paid $9.95 per month for one ticket per day; MoviePass will now offered tiered plans.
We can also expect a feature called PreShow, which allows members to earn extra credits by watching an advertiser’s content.
Using Web3 technology, the company will show each member specific content and deposit credits in their unique virtual wallets if they finish it. This feature is optional.
It’s a good thing this feature is opt-in – it is a bit on the creepy side; your phone will use its own facial detection technology to make sure you’re watching the ad.
If you look away, the ad will pause and an “Are you still there?” message will appear.
If that doesn’t creep you out, or if you’d rather trade your time than money for a movie, MoviePass 2.0 might be for you.
Taking a cue from MoviePass, several movie theater chains have their own loyalty programs or clubs.
Grocery stores have offered discounts or gas points for consistent customers for many years.
Expanding on the MoviePass idea, Alaska Airlines announced its first-ever subscription-based offering, Flight Pass, which offers travelers with varying budgets and lifestyles a chance to travel along many West Coast routes for a year.
At this stage the program only applies to the most popular routes within California, but also includes nonstop service from California airports to select Nevada and Arizona destinations for a fixed monthly rate.
The first plan starts at $49 per month and Flight Pass Pro starts at $199 per month.
Based on the plan you prefer, you can pick how many round trips you would like annually: 6, 12 or 24.
I’ll sign up as soon as they include Washington state in the system.
More details on FlightPass can be found here: https://www.alaskaair.com/content/gifts-and-products/flight-pass?.
See you at the movies
Perhaps MoviePass, like movie-going itself, is coming back.
You can expect the sequel, MoviePass 2.0, in the summer of 2022.