MoviePass’s $10 per month movie-going service is quite attractive if you’re a big movie-goer, but what’s the real cost behind the service? Access to where you go after you watch the movie. No, you didn’t misread that.
MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe has been publicly pitching his business as a data mining service to anyone skeptical about it, but a new detail brings us to question a lot of things. TechCrunch highlighted the statement that was reported by Media Play News:
Mitch Lowe, the company’s CEO, told an audience at a Hollywood event that “we know all about you. […] We get an enormous amount of information,” Lowe continued. “We watch how you drive from home to the movies. We watch where you go afterwards.”
It appears that the $10 per month service is letting you go watch one movie per day at participating theaters, and at the same time, is tracking where you go after the theater. Comparing MoviePass’s current special, $7.95 per month plus a single $9.95 processing fee billed at $105.35, to what you’d pay at the theater ($15 to $20 per ticket), it’s quite the offer, but at a great cost to your privacy.
Mitch has said in interviews that his company has access to data that theaters and industry players want, and MoviePass can sell it to them to stay afloat, seeing as Lowe has publicly stated that this subscription revenue model alone is not enough to keep the company going. This data includes you whereabouts, something that the CEO shouldn’t be touting.
One thing to note here is that MoviePass app doesn’t promote harvesting location data as its business model when explaining how it uses location: “Find Theaters and movies near you, and be able to use the app to get tickets and the theaters.” Lowe definitely believes that the data can be used to keep the business afloat.
If you’re turned off by MoviePass’s business model, there are theaters such as Cinemark that have similar subscription services that let you access to new movies in their cinemas. As always, you could always go the pay-as-you-go route too.
Update: MoviePass told The Verge that the company is “exploring” utilizing location-based marketing to “enhance the overall experience by creating more opportunities for subscribers to “enjoy all the various elements of a good movie night.” The company says it has no intentions to sell this data at the current time.
“At MoviePass our vision is to build a complete night out at the movies. We are exploring utilizing location-based marketing as a way to help enhance the overall experience by creating more opportunities for our subscribers to enjoy all the various elements of a good movie night. We will not be selling the data that we gather. Rather, we will use it to better inform how to market potential customer benefits including discounts on transportation, coupons for nearby restaurants, and other similar opportunities. Our larger goal is to deliver a complete moviegoing experience at a price anyone can afford and everyone can enjoy.”