MoviePass has been a godsend for movie fans, offering subscribers the ability to go to a movie in theaters every single day. And even as competition pops up, MoviePass still feels like the best deal.
But the business model has been on the hot seat lately, with analysts stating they don’t see how MoviePass can continue on its current trajectory. Even fans have expressed nervousness that the service they love dearly will struggle to make ends meet, resulting in its death.
MoviePass announced a few days ago to customers that they will be making some changes to try and combat this, some good, some bad. But the one that got everyone the most worked up was the announcement of potential Uber- and Lyft-like “surge pricing” on prime-time movies. If demand for a time slot or particular title was higher than usual, MoviePass said they would charge a slight increase in ticket price, about $2 per surge, despite the movie theater itself still charging the same amount.
Our first thought was, “we’d rather just pay a few more dollars a month than deal with this” so we wanted to check if this opinion was common among other subscribers.
We took a flash poll of 634 self-described MoviePass subscribers to get their opinion on the surge pricing option, and compare it to another option, MoviePass increasing their monthly prices to remain sustainable.
Do you like the “surge price” idea, or would you prefer to pay slightly more per month as a flat subscription fee?
|I prefer a price increase
|I prefer surge pricing
|I’m not sure
By far, the overwhelming response we saw from current MoviePass subscribers was they were dreading a non-transparent “surge” on ticket prices. Many of the respondents commented that they hate the idea of having to guess when they’ll pay surge prices, or that MoviePass is just collecting extra money on tickets that the theater isn’t getting paid more for.
Several people replied with comments that they signed up for MoviePass for the simplicity of the subscription model applied to a movie theater.
Psychologically, this makes sense. MoviePass removes us from the process of feeling like we’re paying for a movie ourselves. It feel like pure magic every time we go to the box office to buy a ticket with our MoviePass cards. Having to pay two dollars more per ticket during surge pricing times makes the whole process feel far more clunky.
However, we are willing to guess there is some recency bias here. If surge pricing ends up being used infrequently, than we expect these numbers to balance out a bit.
Another survey we took last month found that almost half of MoviePass subscribers would be willing to pay double the current monthly charge if it meant MoviePass could sustain itself.
It will be interesting to see what surge pricing does to MoviePass’s image, and how often it will be used.