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NPR Arts & Life

What's Included In The Latest MoviePass Plan To Save Its Business

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

MoviePass is in financial trouble. This is the subscription service that charges customers a flat fee for the ability to watch a certain number of movies per month. Well, today MoviePass launched the latest plan in a string of course corrections intended to keep it afloat. NPR's Glen Weldon has details.

GLEN WELDON, BYLINE: The new plan goes like this. If customers sign up with the service now, or if members stick with their existing plans, they can see three movies a month for $10 a month. If they see more than that, they receive a modest discount per ticket depending on what film they see and where they see it. It's the latest in a series of moves intended to shore up MoviePass' increasingly dissatisfied membership base. Travis Andrews is a reporter for the Washington Post who has been covering this service's struggles.

TRAVIS ANDREWS: The company has kind of changed the rules several times. And it hasn't always been transparent about what the new rules are.

WELDON: In recent weeks, users have contended with surge pricing for popular films, system crashes and, in some cases, being unable to unsubscribe to the service or finding themselves resubscribed after quitting. But what's driving customer dissatisfaction has probably got a lot more to do with the bottom line.

The vast majority of MoviePass' more than 3 million customers came on board when the deal it offered was much better, when that $10 a month got members into one movie per day. That deal proved financially unsustainable. But it boosted subscriptions and, some observers say, attendance to independent films at a time when overall movie attendance has been declining. Andrews worries that the company's increasingly limited offerings will have far-reaching effects as home streaming services are surging.

ANDREWS: Think about it. If you're paying 100, $120 a year to see every movie you want, and then they take that away, and you have to go back to paying 15 to $20 for a single movie, theater attendance might drop even further.

WELDON: MoviePass' latest remake comes as another subscription service, Dealflicks Incorporated, announced it is calling it quits. Meanwhile, theater chains like AMC and the Alamo Drafthouses have announced their own in-house subscription services at higher prices. Glen Weldon, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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