With movie ticket sales hitting a 25-year low in 2011, according to Goldman Sachs, any help the film industry can get to fill theatre seats is welcomed. A new technology recently introduced by movie theater subscription service MoviePass aims to boost theater attendance nationwide.
Here’s it works: The service gives regular filmgoers the ability to attend unlimited movies for a monthly fee. The special service, which was immediately available to MoviePass members, already has a waiting list of nearly 75,000 individuals. Also, current members could invite up to 10 friends to join the service, as part of the invite-only launch.
Add to this the new geo-location based technology offered to members via their membership card, which acts like a debit card. The card is activated with the MoviePass iPhone App (Android to follow). This technology allows members to securely use their subscription to go to any theater of their choice that accepts major credit cards.
MoviePass users can see the movies they want, at the theaters they want, says Stacy Spikes, CEO and co-founder of MoviePass, who points out that ”MoviePass is dedicated to driving traffic back to theaters and reducing the friction of movie-going.”
The new technology makes movie-going easier, says Spikes. Members use their MoviePass app to check-in at a theater and select a movie and show time. This unlocks their MoviePass membership card, which acts as a reloadable debit card. All users have to do is to pick up their ticket at the theatre and pay using the MoviePass card.
There was some resistance at first to the technology, although MoviePass says they already have evidence that theatre attendance has been boosted via moviegoers using the new smart phone technology. According to MoviePass stats, its members increased their movie theater attendance by as much as 64 percent. “Innovation is slow in our industry and I would have to say mindset to change has been the greatest obstacle,” explains Spikes. “That being said, I've been in the industry long enough to know that this would not be an overnight project and we would have to be patient as we slowly made progress. Success is not always measured in miles but sometimes in inches.”
“MoviePass was an idea that we first started to develop for film festivals and independent filmmakers . We quickly saw that there were applications for the industry as a whole. We began original prototypes in 2006,” explains Spikes, who founded NY-based MoviePass in 2010 with technology and entertainment entrepreneur Hamet Watt. MoviePass is backed by such investors as AOL Ventures, True Ventures, Lambert Media, Moxie Pictures.
MoviePass on average costs $29.99 a month, depending on your location.
If the name Stacy Spikes sounds familiar, it should; he also founded the groundbreaking Urbanworld Film Festival in 1997. “Urbanworld just had its 16th festival and we are very proud to see it still going.”