MoviePass is still on the hunt for a road to profitability, and it looks like they’re willing to test a mixture of tactics to get there.
Last month, the movie theater subscription service announced plans to introduce ‘Peak Pricing,’ something similar to how Lyft and Uber manage surge pricing during busier times.
The company has emailed us explaining that this will be a slight increase (around $2 for peak times) in ticket prices, meaning MoviePass subscribers will be on the hook to pay a balance on popular movies during crowded showtimes.
While the model makes sense for Uber and Lyft, it gets more drivers on the road to capitalize on the higher prices, which then creates a larger supply pool of drivers, this doesn’t really apply for MoviePass.
Theaters (for now, this could definitely change), charge a flat price for movies, crowd demand does not increase or decrease the listed price. MoviePass has these numbers in their service, so this revenue will not be passed onto the theater. This is all fine, but the fee feels arbitrary in nature. MoviePass is simply trying to get more money out of subscribers, there is no marketplace effect here like in the ride-sharing industry.
We recently took a poll that found most people would prefer to just pay more for MoviePass every month than deal with surge pricing, and this author agrees. I enjoy the magic simplicity of MoviePass, the fact that I pay $10 a month or $12 a month, or even $20 a month would not affect my sentiment towards a service that makes going to the movies so easy.
Where things get tricky is when I’m forced to pay even a small balance on each ticket. It removes some of the magic from the service, which is unfortunate for such an otherwise amazing concept.