MoviePass – a service which used to provide unlimited movie tickets for a monthly fee – has returned after shutting down due to mismanagement two years ago. The service now provides a multi-tiered subscription system which also allows users to earn credits by watching ads while having their eyeballs tracked.
The company will relaunch this summer after folding in 2019, when it was acquired by Helios and Matheson Analytics and was horribly mismanaged. Stacy Spikes, who co-founded the company in 2011, recently bought the failed service back and hopes to bring it back to life.
In an opening statement at the launch ceremony, Spikes addressed the past failures of the company, saying: “A lot of people lost money, a lot of people lost trust,” adding that he was among those hurt, as he was pushed out of his own company.
“We’re looking at this from another point of view,” Spikes said of the company’s relaunch before revealing the details of the service’s new multi-tiered subscription system and the new ‘pre-show’ feature, which allows MoviePass customers to earn credits in exchange for watching ads on their phones. To make sure the ads are actually being watched, the app will use an eyeball-tracking system.
Today in Dystopian Nonsense: MoviePass CEO Stacy Spikes demonstrates “PreShow," which uses facial recognition to verify consumers are watching ads."What it does is it basically creates a transaction between you and the brand." pic.twitter.com/lCZZwySzSf— The Recount (@therecount) February 10, 2022
“What it does is it basically creates a transaction between you and the brand,” the CEO said. “Your phone, your device uses your own facial detection. It doesn’t go to the cloud, nobody goes through anything other than you and your information is yours. And you opt in to do it on your own.”
Spikes likened the feature to an extension of product placement in movies, saying: “I love product placement in movies, I love the cars, I love the watches, I love the clothes. I’m that person that sometimes has a notepad and I’m writing down, is that Hugo Boss?”
According to Spikes, under MoviePass’ new credit system, movies in high demand during prime times will cost additional credits, while less popular films will cost less – a system which will, in theory, help fill up theaters on slower days. He did not, however, provide any additional information on the “tiered plans” and the difference between them.
MoviePass initially offered customers unlimited movie tickets for just $10 a month – a poorly thought-out strategy that drew in over 3 million people and eventually lost the company a lot of money and led to its bankruptcy, bleeding over $100 million in just a single quarter.
The failure of the company has also been attributed to MoviePass customers abusing the service’s model by binge-watching the same films over and over, purchasing tickets for friends and family who didn’t have a subscription, and allegedly purchasing movie tickets “just to use the restroom in Times Square,” according to Ted Farnsworth – then-CEO of Helios and Matheson Analytics.