Fri. Dec 6th, 2019

The Balfour Institute of Esoteric Culture

The Internet is a dark and terrible place

MoviePass has suffered an ignominious death and it today’s failure

3 min read

In the hallowed year of Kafka’s 2011, MoviePass was founded by some guy from the record industry and who cares. It was founded for the usual Startup reason of “disrupting” the way we see Movies in the Cinema.

They started out being basically a website you could get voucher for movie tickets, but later transitioned into the usual standard application methods, that everyone everywhere uses every single day.

At several points in their history, you could get unlimited plans, essentially giving you free movies in return for a subscription, the terms and conditions varied wildly from year to year due to the company being a sodding mess.

Which present the first of many issues this company had, it’s pricing was an absolute mess, some period of it’s lifespan it had Peak Pricing, meaning that sometimes the prices would be higher, sometimes not.

Frankly, I’d love to see the business plan of MoviePlan, it seems to be fairly close to this:

A solid Business Plan!

Shock and Horror! In 2017 MoviePass sold a majority stake of themselves to Helios and Matheson Analytics, a company that sounds like a front for someone living in a Volcano lair.

This was ostensibly done as a method of acquiring data on people’s movie watching habits, it didn’t actually solve the company’s core issue of “How the fuck does this make money?”. Mind you, the founders managed to get out of the mess back in 2018 thanks to Helios and Matheson, purveyors of BIG DATA.

So Pricing was a problem, you know what else? The cinema chains where for some peculiar reason, not terrible happy about this entire venture and resisted it thoroughly, refusing to cooperate, presumably because MoviePass didn’t even bother to ask.

Add in standard security issues and the loss of account data and you’ve got it all.

They even released a couple of movies: American Animals, who reviewed really well and Gotti, which is one of a handful of movies that has a ZERO on Rotten Tomatoes, the user score was 80% favorable at a point, which obviously reeks of review manipulation.

Not that any of it matters, MoviePass died on September the 14th in the Year of Machiavelli of 2019, and nothing was changed at all.

To put this in a nice academical perspective using Osterwalder’s Business Model, MoviePass failed to:

  • Determine Key Partners (Cinemas, movie distributors, movie studios)
  • Cost Structure (What costs use the real money? Whales, lack of usage)
  • Revenue Streams (I have no clue how this mess would even really make money, unless you’re somehow going for the Health Club option, subscribe and never go there)
  • Channels (To some degree, they App ought to have been there from the start)
This is the Business Model Canvas, OBEY!

Failure was inevitable, however, the founders got out without suffering any real consequences, Stacy Spikes is now running a targeted Cinema add company and Hamet Watt has several Board seats and Venture activities.

So that’s the lesson kids, fail your way to success!

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