Yesterday, MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe reportedly called an all-hands in which he informed employees of plans to further limit access to blockbuster boys. The policy, which started with Mission: Impossible — Fallout this week3end, was set to extend to upcoming big releases, Christopher Robin and The Meg. The report arrived as the service was experiencing yet another outage.
Today, the company confirmed plans to continue its policy of limiting ticket availability to top films, acknowledging the tremendous cash burn the company has experienced since launching its subscription service nearly a year ago.
The company doesn’t mention specific upcoming films by name, but notes that first run films opening on more than 1,000 screen will be limited in their first two weeks, unless a studio opts to work with MoviePass for promotional purposes.
“In an effort to maintain the integrity of the MoviePass mission, to enhance discovery, and to drive attendance to smaller films and bolster the independent film community, MoviePass will begin to limit ticket availability to Blockbuster films,” the company writes. “This is a strategic move by the company to both limit cash burn and stay loyal to its mission to empower the smaller artistic film communities. Major studios will continue to be able to partner with MoviePass to promote their first run films, seeding them with a valuable moviegoing audience.”
In addition to those limitations, the startup will be increasing the cost of its monthly pass from $9.95 to $14.95 a month. That rate jump will be rolling out some time in the next 30 days, according to the company.
“These changes are meant to protect the longevity of our company and prevent abuse of the service. While no one likes change, these are essential steps to continue providing the most attractive subscription service in the industry,” said Lowe, in a release tied to the news. “Our community has shown an immense amount of enthusiasm over the past year, and we trust that they will continue to share our vision to reinvigorate the movie industry.”
It’s clear that the company has painted itself into a corner here. It’s a lot easier to add features than it is to take them away, and all of those who signed up for the service with the expectation of unfettered movie access for a low monthly fee are starting to feel the sting of reality. It’s been a death by a million cuts as the company has fiddled with its pricing structure and moved the goal posts of movie access, while experience the occasional outage in order to address on-going money concerns.
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