Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure three hundred million pounds, result unicorn.
(no affiliation, just a Matt Levine fan)
>>By 2015, up to 50 court decisions had been rendered against Aviva France. In September 2014, the French Supreme court, the Cour de Cassation, ruled in favor of the George family, determining that the life insurance contracts, as drafted with the "known price" clause, are legally binding under French law. Nevertheless, George is still in court against Aviva, having won on the principle of the legality of the contracts, he now needs to have his prejudice recognized and valued in a second ongoing battle.<<
If you're a techie and want to understand the financial world (particularly big VC and public equities), I highly recommend reading him daily. He breaks super complex things and makes them very easy to read...and SUPER entertaining.
It feels like finance writing is usually split between content for the general public (understandable, but often vitriolic and devoid of context) and writing for finance types (jargon-filled and usually devoid of ethical considerations). Levine straddles the line beautifully; he uses lay terms to explain the realities of financial instruments, not just silly metaphors, and looks at what should exist in the context of modern finance rather than gut instinct.
Oh, I get it, they sell antidepressants for the society they ruined.
It could be like the list of folks who buy stuff on late-night infomercials.
VC exit strategy: sell stock, get list and bail.
Big companies like Facebook will pay cash or valuable equity to take those engaged users off your hands in an acquisition.
Growth potential and demand elasticity are both hard to predict, so VCs are betting on high growth and trusting that one high-demand win can pay off 100 or 1,000 losses. (The people chasing proven revenue with unknown growth potential are banks, investing in things like expanding existing stores.) Did MoviePass show a <1% chance of succeeding? Probably. <0.1%? I'm not so sure.
As for founders... Often, they're gamblers or extremely self-confident. Less generously, the field attracts a lot of people who are happy to burn someone else's money on a ridiculous narrative, while their actual focus is on getting acquired or elevating their personal reputation. (And heck, there are VCs doing this too. Consistently returning 25% on your fund is nice, but funding Snapchat will get you a job at a fancy Sandhill office, and funding Facebook will get you treated as a rainmaker and even a political player.)
I've been to so, so many startup / entrepreneurship conferences / competitions / workshops and what not the past years, where the main takeaway has been: "Growth is everything, business models can be reshaped later on".
I mean, sure, it's all fun and games for the startups and consumers - they're being bankrolled and subsidized by VC money, but it's a very artificial state. Lots of products start to suck the moment monetization enters the picture.
The trick is holding out long enough to get there, and I think they severely underestimated the general public's free time.
Most of the big chain now offer Moviepass-esque premium services. AMC now charges like what, $12 a month for 2-3 movies / week? That's how much individual tickets cost in the bay, so as long as a person watches even a single movie a month they're breaking even!
It might be too early to say that for sure. The AMC service was created when MoviePass was still a player and was very much a response to them. I believe AMC also only committed to that pricing for a single year and we just recently passed that 1 year anniversary. Now that MoviePass is functionally dead, there is little stopping AMC from raising prices to the extent that basically kills this model for the average consumer. We might soon find ourselves back in a market similar to the early days of MoviePass when one of these unlimited subscriptions costs $30-50 and is only viable for an incredibly small group of moviegoers.
I read a study a few years back and the average American adult sees 1-2 movies per year in a theater. I dont have the info anymore but I agree wholeheartedly
This is what a lot of people leave out when discussing the gym membership analogy. There is a societal and personal pressure to be in shape and have a gym membership. Many people also don't enjoy the actual process of working out. Therefore people feel guilted into purchasing the service but disincentivized from actually using it.
There is no societal pressure to go to the movies regularly (maybe there is a little pressure to see a handful of blockbusters a year, but not enough to justify the service) and people generally enjoy the experience. So the only incentive to purchase the service is to save money and people have a positive incentive to use the service. That is totally different than the gym membership model.
"So, why did you stop taking your health seriously?"
I’ve had a treadmill in my house/apartment for years -that I actually used - when we moved I made sure that we had a spare bedroom that I could turn into a gym.
I love working out at home, in front of my TV or listening to a podcast. I can work out anytime, I’m still at home with my family and my wife will work out with me occasionally. She still likes going to the gym and working out with her friends.
For example, if subscribing induces people who like going to the movies enough to do it at least monthly to go more often--maybe 2 or 5 or 10 or 20 times a month--the main liabilities seem like: subscribers displacing people who buy full-price tickets, turning frequent full-price purchasers into subscribers, and hard-core min/maxers who refuse to buy anything else at the theater.
I'm not sure how the plans work, but the first is probably mostly-fixed by things like not letting pass members reserve seats, and no-pass stipulations for new releases, etc.
There's not much you can do about the third, but I'd guess most people are more likely to get a snack or drink if they aren't explicitly paying for the movie, and even more so if they know they're watching 8 movies a month for $13.
If the profit on those exceeds the studio's cut of ticket sales, and if the majority of subscribers are attending more, they might come out better the higher the average number of subscriber-monthly attendance goes?
Consider that for a regular movie ticket, the movie probably made more from the concessions (which cost the theater pennies and can get marked up by up to 100x) than they do from the ticket.
If you’ve been following the media industry, you would know that there are very strict agreements between producers and distributors about everything.
Virtually every point you've tried to make is contradicted by this WSJ article: https://www.wsj.com/articles/hollywood-studios-fear-amcs-new...
As a result, I am trying to consume all the tickets in one account, still not there, and sitting holding double digit tickets in my other account. Oh I will get out of this ... on to my last ticket in account #1, just need to find one more movie to watch, but this is not how I expected life will work when I signed up.
Many people like me in this world.
[ Thanks Disney/Marvel for the burn rate this year]
I can't decide whether this would be more or less likely to convert (and also, whether it would be more or less profitable) than "$11 for the movie, or $10/mo for unlimited movies."
Obviously you'd think "more likely to convert" because it's cheaper, but maybe actually less likely because the fact that it's cheaper than a movie would give you pause, and make you think "Oh, it's a subscription," and then realise it's $120/year -- probably more than you spend on going to the movies.
We only have to go to three regular movies a month to save money or one IMAX movie and one regular movie a month.
Case in point: timeshares.
There's no point in speculating when AMC can just decide what's in its best interests based on the facts that it has.
MoviePass proved the demand. They simply lacked the data or leverage to make their business model work.
AMC and Regal have both. Crucially, they can negotiate with the movie studios re the payouts for ticket purchases; MoviePass could not. This is probably the biggest and most important factor behind why AMC/Regal can make these plans work but MoviePass never could.
 https://www.cineworld.co.uk/static/en/uk/unlimited (unlimited 2D movies for ~£20/month)
MoviePass proved there is demand for free money. They didn't prove that this model could be profitable and therefore sustainable at this price.
Also important to note is that both AMC and Regal subscriptions are twice as much or more per month as MoviePass was...closer to the original/sustainable MoviePass pricing (when it was a lot smaller and not very popular).
Well yea, they lowered the price of the supply - OF COURSE there's more demand.
But they lowered the price of the supply at cost to themselves. I believe the idea was that once they had enough market share they're be able to negotiate ticket prices and actually turn a profit.
But yeah, there's a demand for unlimited movies @10$/mo when single movie tickets cost 12$+ :P
IOW, they're doing this starting in the black, or already close to it.
In contrast, A-List is mostly cannibalistic. Via self-selection, the most common subscribers are people who were most likely to actually purchase multiple AMC movie tickets each month, that now pay less overall. A-List members take up seats in sold-out, opening-weekend showings (including higher-priced IMAX and 3D) that could otherwise be sold individually. And AMC has to market and administer the program, which also costs money.
I signed up for a chain's movie club due to the value, and I now exclusively go there. Before I signed up I'd switch it up.
I imagine that AMC worked out a subscription-sharing model with the studios, where the subscription fee is split across the movies attended. As long as people show up to movies, a percentage are buying concessions and AMC is making money.
Both ticket sales and concession sales have positive gross margins, and contribute to the bottom line.
If you artificially separate a cinema business into two pieces, making the 'ticket sales' business responsible for 90% of the overheads (rent etc.), and the concessions part responsible for 10%, then it would appear that the 'ticket sales' business does not make money.
But, in reality, the tickets sales revenue is required in order to run the business, not just to draw in customers for the 'concessions' business, but also to help pay for rent.
Here is a complete write up of the financials.
So, even if AMC assumes 3 movies are seen a month on average across those card holders, it might be that they can conceivably break even with the distributors at that price. If that's the case, it's a major net win as those people are not only likely to spend money at the concession stand, they are probably going to spend more, since they don't feel like it's already been an expensive endeavor to go to the movies (not only is it much cheaper, it's also time shifted away from the time you might want to get snacks for the movie, so you feel like you're there for free basically).
In the end, there's a lot of interesting ways movie theaters might be able to leverage these memberships to their advantage. That said, I imagine the distributors will probably push for slightly different payment contracts if that becomes the norm.
At which point, someone "rediscovers" MoviePass 2.0 (probably with some artificial twist to let everyone know that THIS IS NOT MOVIEPASS), an obliging VC materializes to huck a couple more unicorns on the fire, and it's deja vu all over again. I mean, nothing in this article suggested that the practice is going away any time soon...
I'm not sure how these deals are structured, whether there's a per-viewing cost or a bulk "we rent this movie and show it as many times as we want to whoever we want".
So while you're right that most of the costs of a ticket go to the distributor, that's not related to number of tickets sold, it's that tickets are priced to cover the costs already paid.
If someone knows more about this and has a source confirming, clarifying, or correcting me, please share, as I've been interested in this for a long time.
What is true is that the studios take a higher percentage of ticket sales during opening week, possibly 55-65% or more in some cases. I believe it depends on the movie. The percentage starts to flatten out back below 50% in the following weeks. So it's true that the theater chains do want to optimize for concession sales, since so few films have legs these days.
EDIT: I originally wrote that the studios sometimes take 90% during opening week. I found an article that purports this to be a very rare if not apocryphal number: https://stephenfollows.com/how-a-cinemas-box-office-income-i...
I thought that the deal between the movie theaters and the production companies were that they paid a flat rate per head that views the movie, with almost 100% of ticket sales going to the production company, where the theater only makes a profit on concession sales.
Is that no longer the case?
For other blockbusters, somewhere between 50-75% is the norm, with the range varying based on the chain's size/leverage and the movie's expected performance.
For all other films, the cap is 50% of ticket sales for the first weekend.
With all of the above, the studio gets a smaller % of ticket sales each weekend. Somewhere around 8-12 weeks in, the studio's share drops below 10%, which is why some films will stay in theaters for months if there aren't any new big films to replace them.
These days I believe movie theaters makes a lot of money on advertising as well as concessions. Now that everything is digital advertisements can be changed on a whim and moved around and updated. Many chains (at least in Europe) are now selling premium advertisement spots. Like after the trailers just before the feature film starts.
If you pick the most expensive tier, then you don't pay any extra fees for tickets at that tier of theaters or any lower-tier theaters. If you get all your tickets at the theater itself, you pay no fees at all beyond the monthly subscription. (However, 4dx, 3D, and "PLF"/Imax showings are always treated as "higher" tier than your current plan, even on the highest-tier plan, and always incur an extra fee. Per Deadspin, Regal is still trying to decide whether to offer those as part of an unlimited monthly plan.)
If you have a Regal membership, you still get points for purchases at 100:$1, including your monthly subscription payment.
It's still offered, and at £17.99 (and a 20% discount on food) it's a good price if you watch more than 2 movies a month.
It's somewhat of a moot point though, my nearest cinema is a Cineworld, and the next 2 closest are as well, I'd have to travel out of my way to go to an Odeon or Showcase.
AMC is not losing money from the deal.
If I've hired you to mow my lawn for $50 every week, and then one day I choose to only leave $45 in the envelope, that's not a negotiation.
AMC offered $8.99 (or more) to studios for each A-List ticket. The studios implicitly accepted this offer by agreeing to show films in AMC theaters. That is actually how many negotiations proceed in the business world
It's very possible that some studios did negotiate carve-outs or increased payouts for A-list tickets, which is something that Disney is notorious for doing with its bigger films. Indeed, since movie distribution deals are negotiated with theaters per film (a requirement of an old 1950s era law), it's very likely that at least one studio (i.e., Disney) has negotiated higher shares for A-list tickets.
If the studios were happy, they wouldn't signal uncertainty and dissatisfaction to investors by bitching to the Wall Street Journal. That can only negatively affect all parties.
Uber may try that, but real grown up businesses don’t do things like that.
Have you personally ever worked at a major corporation where someone decided to unilaterally change the terms with 6 or 7 suppliers. What are the chances that all 7 very litigious studios would have gone along with AMC making that decision and just shrugging?
You said yourself that AMC has very slim profit margins. One lawsuit would wipe their earnings out.
On the other hand, our comments are backed by reputable sources, and in my case also by actual experience dealing with theaters and movie studios, including as an advisor.
If a company offers me a salary and I take the job, does that mean we didn’t make an “agreement” that they pay me money and I come to work because I can walk away from the job at anytime?
If you hire me to mow the lawn for $50 and then you only pay me $45, I have every right to come after you for the other $5. If a company told me they were going to pay me $150k a year and I came to work every day and they paid me less at the end of the pay period, you better believe that they will end up in court. They couldn’t just decide to pay me less. Well they could, but they will still be liable.
Are you claiming that AMC is showing movies without the studios permission?
AList is still a small minority of overall ticket sales, studios are obviously hesitant to launch the nuclear option and pull films entirely, especially over what is now a small amount.
I’m also hesitant to leave my job and I would hope that my company is hesitant to fire me even though my employment is a small part of their budget. Part of the hesitancy on their side is hopefully that I bring value to the company. The hesitancy on my side is that I have a mortgage due on the 15th of every month. Just because I can walk out of my job tomorrow or they could fire me tomorrow (the nuclear option), doesn’t mean that my employer and I didn’t make an agreement.
On the other hand, are you implying that one day, that the studios are just going to reject AMC’s check, without setting up some type of meeting and coming to different terms - ie negotiate.
That’s the whole concept of a BATNA, that each party decides would they be better off with the deal or without it. Just because the BATNA can change when facts on the ground change and either party can come back to the table to renegotiate their agreement at any time, doesn’t mean their isn’t one.
That doesn't mean they can't or won't going forward, however. Just like you would take the short-changing employer to court, so might the studios. But you'd probably keep working at 140k per year while the lawsuit is pending, because it's better than zero and you'd expect to eventually be made whole.
You really think that the studios are letting AMC pay them less than they find acceptable and they are still allowing AMC show their movies? Do you think that the studios are going to come back and sue AMC later because they didn’t get enough money from them?
Read that however you want. I'm done arguing with you, I really am not interested in your employment or mortgage situation.
My employer decided my salary and benefits and came in with an above market offer, that they thought I would more than likely accept. That didn’t mean I was obligated to accept the offer or that we didn’t make an agreement.
I live in an at will state and never once signed a piece of paper saying that I couldn’t walk in tomorrow and say f’ it I quit. Once I do that, we terminate our agreement. That didn’t mean I didn’t have one yesterday.
My willingness to work everyday also depends on a lot of factors, there is no guarantee that I won’t go in the office tomorrow and turn in my resignation. Even if I and my employer agree to an at will work condition doesn’t mean we didn’t come to an agreement.
I think the idea behind movie pass was basically the same economics as behind a gym as long as most people don’t take the full advantage of their membership and are tied to a contract they’ll make money if everyone does it’s a different ball game.
The problem with movie pass is that their model is too easy to replicate by the theater chains and cut them off, i really don’t understand why they got VC funding even if they could scale to the point of making a profit this model simply can’t be easily protected against competitors especially when the competitors are part of your service supply chain.
1. get better prices from theaters to send users there
2. make deals with studios to send users to their movie
3. make deals with nearby stores to send users there
it backfired when all the theaters called the bluff and just started their own membership program, and held out until Moviepass bled out all their VC money.
And they use their power to distribute lower quality and conquer foreign markets to disrupt that market also. A theatre is only a small part in that chain.
> Our plan prices are determined by geography and may vary by location.
> Choose any format, including IMAX® and Dolby Cinema.
How do people like this make it so far in their careers?
Put yourself in Matheson's (presumably quite expensive) shoes for a moment. You're in the process of acquiring this company, MoviePass, and you have some Big Ideas™ for it. Who would you want to have sitting in that company's CEO chair? Not an independent-minded entrepreneur who's full of ideas of their own, that's for sure. No, what you'd want is a yes-man, an amiable non-entity who can be counted on to do what you tell them to do while otherwise staying out of your way and letting you play with your new toy.
It's not uncommon for wealthy people to have a few people like this in their entourage, people whose job is to fill a chair so as to prevent someone who could cause the rich guy trouble from filling it instead. It's a job whose only requirements are that you get along with the Big Guy and are willing to unquestioningly do anything he tells you to. In other words, it requires all the business savvy of a block of cheese. But it definitely pays well.
yeah I've been doing advisory for time
and sometimes that means installing myself as the board or executive in a company I'm advising
or my friends
or my friends have made a partnership to create another venture, but I consult with them, or I try to negotiate being a shareholder in some way etc
we always trade our network because its convenient and we work well together
it didn't start as nepotism, but now we are all just trying to get paid and get clout for more support in the future
I think a lot of people just work with their networks. Its honestly a miracle at all that there are giant corporations that hire basically anyone and pride themselves in doing so.
More details here: https://www.ribbonfarm.com/2009/10/07/the-gervais-principle-...
Intriguing as it was in some sense, the "models" that are hypothesized in this field are both hilarious and ridiculous. They are at best ad hoc representations of anecdotal information.
I think the only redeeming portion is relating all of this posturing to some sort of Darwinian understanding of expressed phenotypes with in corporate culture. Instead of reproduction via valued phenotypes. It's task assignment via phenotypes (typically irrespective of gender although that's a different discussion obviously).
The reason these types of classification structures fall apart from my view suggests a form of causality or even a form of determinism I've never been comfortable with. This is shown further with post hoc justification.
All that said I still enjoy reading this kind of stuff, if nothing else then to understand how different people group/classify/model the world around them but group/subgroups.
yes, going where they are helps, be interesting, act like them, do some lines (optional) - if that doesn't come natural because you pride yourself in conforming to a different subculture - then try this perspective:
this same strategy works in every country.
get someone that looks like the power group in those countries. you aren't going to expand your market in China and simultaneously worry about disenfranchised minority groups in China, you're going to go in China guns blazing with a local influencer that's a registered party member.
You aren't going to expand into former Soviet countries, digging for disenfranchised minority groups to be on your billboard just to show how much progress has been made, you are going to go there for sales and support.
It's a mistake to treat America and the rest of the West differently.
After you already are comfortable, you can consider trying to inspire people that look like you or have the same background as you. But before then, its just a distraction when there is a path of less resistance.
But asking "what do you think we should do?" shouldn't be lambasted as an indicator of incompetence. In my experience, leaders who feel like they should have all the answers are the most incompetent ones.
The entire thing is probably a giant money laundering or tax evasion scheme.
Donating money to movie theaters is not how money laundering or tax evasion occurs.
I know that when I first learned of movie pass years ago and it was explained to me. It made literally no sense how they'd turn a dollar despite it being explained to me more times than I can count.
I also remember thinking it sounded like some alternative scheme was going on. However I probably acted more paranoid than the rest and decided to pass on getting cheap movie tickets.
Can you explain how? I don't see any obvious explanation in the articles you linked.
Margins are insanely high on mattresses. Why the connection to money laundering?
Adam 1 buys shares with clean stake.
Adam 2 pumps share price with dirty money.
Adam 1 sells shares, getting stake back, plus clean profit.
Adam 1 short sells shares.
Adam 2 dumps shares, dropping share price.
Adam 1 cashes in on short.
Adam has laundered dirty 2 money into clean 1 money.
Needs a story to work the market a bit. This could work at a business level too.
Genius move! Truly diabolical.
MoviePass was literally advertising a service it wasn't truly willing or able to sell at scale. I'm glad I stopped using them once I heard they were becoming bankrupt.
MoviePass made false representations by internet "for obtaining money", and knowingly deprived paying customers of tangible property (i.e. movie tickets and/or monthly payments). Specifically targeting power users makes the financial motive pretty undeniable, and timing it to delay them while a popular movie sold out shows that tangible loss was the intent. Before 2010, it would probably have been honest services fraud to boot - as Scalia opined, everything was honest services fraud - but that's been narrowed to bribes and kickbacks. It wouldn't be a trivial conviction since the company wasn't outright robbing people (e.g. by disabling the accounts altogether) but "plausibly a felony" isn't where most of us like to do business.
More convincingly, it's the sort of thing that could invite class action lawsuits or demands for refunds. The ToS may not have covered this specific action, but fraudulent misrepresentation is still grounds to seek damages in a contract.
This would be a very easy class action lawsuit if the company actually had money to pay for it.
After becoming frustrated with my payments being rejected I reached out to one of the cinemas. I explained to the likely overworked support worker that they were essentially both turning down free money and being hostile to me personally as a customer by refusing my payment method. As I should've known the support was powerless to do anything but repeat "we are not associated with product x".
Suffice to say I no longer offer unsolicited advice to theatre chains.
Anyway, great writer and I'd encourage folks to subscribe.
Also a great writer, and this _is_ almost entirely tangential, but also maybe not: Jia Tolentino. "Trick Mirror", her first book of essays, came out yesterday and the first is an accounting of the internet and our collective descent into hell, the subsumption of self through social media, the irreconcilable promise of the web vs. its business model, our magnified sense of the importance of our own opinions, feeling good about saying things vs. doing the work (e.g. tweeting about politics vs. organizing; changing our profile picture to add an overlay for a cause vs. working to solve that issue; etc.) All of this in <30 pages. Stunning work of prose, somewhat depressing, and tightly delivered with measured sobriety vs. the performative outrage we've grown accustomed to (she also covers that.)
I can't say that Trick Mirror is entirely focused, unless you're responding to my description of her prose which very surely is. The opening essay is on the internet, another on drugs and losing faith and finding faith and megachurches and Houston hip-hop, another on our obsession with optimization, another on the complexity of campus sexual assault, etc. The collection is broad and each essay is deep. (I feel quite strongly that I would read Jia's writing on anything—sawdust, pecans, lice, dry cleaners—and that compounds itself when she writes about topics both so weighty, so broadly applicable, and yet so personal.)
What I love about the collection is it feels the way Joan Didion's or DFW's best narrative non-fiction feels. That kind of awe at the writing, that unfurling of confident and thought-through storytelling, that kind of blossoming of connections that form the richness of life and intellectual inquiry. The difference–and for me this is somewhat personal and so perhaps not universally relatable but feels like it could be–is that, at 30, she is writing about our time. She's writing about coming of age in and with the world we live in now.
Didion writing about the sixties and seventies and Wallace about the eighties and nineties and two thousands are both beautiful and timeless and a masterclass on what greatness feels like in your hands, but there's something special about reading someone cogently weave personal experiences about AngelFire and Twitter and political extremism and Anonymous and the crushing weight of forever being "seen" and performing on the internet. Something special because we are living it now.
I feel about Jia—as well as a few other living writers; Caity Weaver's profiles come to mind—the way I didn't know to feel about other living legends. That feeling of not appreciating what you have because you think it will last forever. I think about when Mac Miller was still alive (less than a year ago) or when Lil Wayne was on top of the world with Tha Carter III or when Chance the Rapper still made good music or when Obama was president or when Jon Stewart was on TV or when Jobs was leading Apple. I didn't consciously stop and appreciate not only the work but to be alive to live it, and now that those times are gone there's only nostalgia. I'm trying to be more mindful of witnessing generational talent in the moment and Jia's writing feels that way to me.
As for Brian Phillips, if you wanted to read pieces directly adjacent to some in the book, a few of the essays were adapted from freely available longform pieces he had already written. Sea of Crises is very close to the in-book essay if I remember correctly, while the piece related to Out in the Great Alone in the book is more of a side story. I'm a bit envious if you haven't already happened upon those and get to read the duplicative passages for the first time in the course of the book.
Also, I couldn't help clicking through to your profile given this aside (the quality and content of which I don't expect here) and I wanted to say that I appreciate the work you're doing.
Do you have like 2-3 other snap recommendations that you wouldn't hesitate to make?
Most of the time you see tech startups they are either in the seed/VC stage (you can't invest unless you are accredited and have connections) or the IPO stage (mega-companies that everyone has heard of).
Did it turn out poorly? Yes (Share price went from $35 to $1 for a while and then down to basically zero). But was it a good process? I think so!
Elitist? Meh, no more elitist than, say, a climbing permit for Mt. St. Helens (which is just $15 and fill out a form). Put up even a token barrier, even if it can easily hopped over.
The Oldest Book Ever Written On Trading Stocks (It’s 330 years old!)
Also theaters started getting non-movie-goers back in occasionally they may have been perceived as more valuable “conversions” and Moviephone admissions would have been discounted.
I don't think that's the case. I know a ton of people who went from seeing movies almost never to seeing them several times a month. They had the opposite problem of a gym - having a moviepass membership available actively changed people's moviegoing behavior on a wide scale.
Gyms also don't pay a per-visit overhead cost for a given member.
This is more or less why AMC can successfully offer A-List.
If 100 people use moviepass, moviepass loses 100*$X
If 100 people use a gym membership. The gym loses $0. And maybe a few people cancel because it's too crowded (or better yet, don't cancel but stop coming)
Wouldn't you consider that a per-visit cost?
A customer with a gym pays a monthly rate... That rate is paid even if they use it. The running cost of the gym remains the same whether or not someone comes to the gym.
This comparison, then, doesn't make sense. MoviePass is paying directly each time a customer uses the service. While both services are better off with people simply giving their money for something they don't use, only MoviePass actually LOSES money if people are using the service. The gym, on the other hand, doesn't.
> But, no, the main constraint on MoviePass’s growth seems to have been the actual production of plastic prepaid credit cards, which it couldn’t print fast enough:
Given how much money they were losing, it wasn't possible use digital cards that could be added to phone wallets? Or am I missing something here?
But that being said, when AMC came out with their own version? I went for it and I'm very pleased. I can take my daughter to see a movie pretty much whenever (2-3 a month, really. Have to buy her ticket because it is only for 18 and up though. A single movie essentially pays for that month though). Plus, I seem to get some kind of money voucher thing as this most recent time I had $60 available somehow and the drinks and popcorn were billed to that.
So maybe MoviePass was trying to play the middleman in a way they couldn't as they couldn't control the theaters as much as they hoped for their own survival, but the existence of it maybe clued theaters into a different revenue stream that could work for them (and customers). So thanks MoviePass.
I’m sure Regal had something similar.
it was getting to a point where I looked at their website, noticed that they were based in NYC (like me), and thought about applying to a job there purely as a means to talk to someone, and complain about my card never arriving.
Sadly, I chickened on that plan, but I really wish I had gone through with it; I would have loved to see how awesome their office was if they were totally OK hemorrhaging money with no real strategy on making it back.
Movie theatre subscriptions have been a thing in France for a very long time.
I quote it because your comment made me think, "where have I recently heard that before?" :-)
After all, you probably spend more time in the theater than interacting with the moviepass service.
This is the new VC-funded business model: you use cash as a kind of anti-gravity machine, letting you do things no competitor would do because they aren't economically rational. The bet is that, if by defying gravity you can reach a monopoly position, you'll end up making back all that cash and more. But as MoviePass demonstrated, once the cash dries up and gravity starts applying to you again, if you haven't reached that monopoly position, the fall is quick and painful.
the next decade will be defined by the failure of these anti-gravity tricks
Patience. Someone deliberately loosing money on every transaction will go out of business very quickly.
(And, apparently this is what happened to Moviepass.)
Remember, Moviepass bought the tickets from the theaters, so it's not like the theaters lost money waiting for Moviepass to go out of business.
Anyone who can start a local pizzeria and make it consistently profitable is a better businessperson than any of the people associated with MoviePass are. But our culture rewards bigness, whether in success or in failure, much more lavishly than smallness, so the MoviePass alums find the doors of the VC world flung open to them, even though the only thing they're known for is failing.
In the case of MoviePass, the only concern I'd have is if they closed shop suddenly after I've already paid for a month of service. But if they stayed open long enough, it doesn't matter. I might have lost $5 but I saved $50 over the course of my membership.
A person getting mugged on the street and then not being able to pay his rent is worth worrying about. A billionaire being scammed out of $100,000 is not. The users of MoviePass being scammed would be terrible. The VCs being scammed is the cost of doing business.
MP has consistently lied to their customers about movie availability and made it extremely difficult/impossible to cancel subscriptions. They are also a publically traded company with no viable business model.
There are victims.
In reality, it's not worth my time to argue if my taxes go up 25c per year or only go up 10c per year. Just writing this short comment has cost me more in dollars-per-hour than the difference in public pension fund taxes would.
I'm not against arguing about things I can't control (check my comment history or just ask dang) but it's purely entertainment. If you or I want to affect change in that regard, MoviePass or even the VCs who fund it is the exact opposite of where that argument needs to start.
But I a lot of people paid for a year and then got 1-2 months service before being cut off. That's basically a scam unless you claim VC immunity.
People who don't want to encourage fraud, e.g. con-men telling people about some great opportunity to invest in, and then living off of their dollars, while selling the rest for 75 cents to buy time and appear as "successful"?
And being a reader I definitely thought it was an enjoyable read.
Broadly speaking, when average Joe investors get burned, the public tends to pick up the tab. Whether through public prosecution, unemployment benefits, or the other consequences of a nuked nest egg. MoviePass didn’t get to those levels, but there is a rational reason to be wary of things that look like fraud in our system.
If the artists negotiated taking 0.01% of the revenues from it, with the subscription services taking 30%, and the record label taking the other 69.99%, that's not exactly my problem. I don't pick which record label said artists sign with.
Maybe they make it up on volume but I'm certainly getting a better deal now than I ever did back in the day.
I am concerned about the significant scale at which this is happening.
2) When companies like Uber can go public, after years of economic analysis saying they can never be profitable, and companies like MoviePass get positive press, it shows that either something is broken, or there is an opportunity chasm opening for those in the know.