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MoviePass will shut down for good on Sept. 14 (cnbc.com)
428 points by jameslk 40 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 237 comments



Last year, I bought a MoviePass t-shirt from the company’s merch site in anticipation of just this event. I’m going to wear it tomorrow.

But more seriously, as someone who has followed MoviePass since 2011 (I was even on a panel at the Tribeca Film Festival with the OG founder/CEO, something I forgot about until I found a photo of myself on Getty doing a Google search), I’m sad that a startup that probably wasn’t ever going to work flamed our this way, backed by a penny stock company that has all the hallmarks of being involved in something really unsavory (I’m not saying Helios & Matheson are con artists or involved in some sort of money laundering scheme; I’m just saying I understand why people might ask that question).

The truth is, the MoviePass model would never work without partnership with the theater chains (and possibly studios — tho that’s gets a little tricker b/c of the Paramount Decree), and even then, that would only be temporary. Even without Ted and Mitch intentionally trolling the theater chains, AMC and Regal would ultimately figure out that If they were serious about a subscription plan, it would make more sense to build it in house/keep it limited to its own brands, rather than paying a middle man for customers that might not have chain loyalty.

Stacy Spikes, The MoviePass founder and CEO (who was replaced as CEO before the $10 plan launched and was then unceremoniously fired) is a great guy. I was glad to read even all of this insanity has helped him raise money for his next thing.

As for the other clowns, well, I’m thankful for the year plus of entertainment.


I think buying swag from startups to sell after they fail would be a better business model than the moviepass model.

This was a classic case of, “we lose money on every sale, so we’re dropping prices to make up for it in volume.” EVERYONE knew this was a bad idea, but enough B.S. thrown into a slide deck convinced enough investors that this was a smart gamble and not a clearly dumb one. Maybe the insiders knew something that everyone else didn’t, or maybe they were pitching a quick exit, or possibly just lying to their investors. Maybe in a parallel universe they pulled it off.

But I’m still thinking how cool it would be to have a collection on vintage/retro T-shirts from failed startups. You could even have a subscription plan if it got big enough, or you could buy “options” from startups to buy their remaining swag for a discount if they ever went under.


> I think buying swag from startups to sell after they fail would be a better business model than the moviepass model.

If this is your thing, and you happen to find yourself near the Bay Area, I highly recommend stopping by local thrift stores. So many failed startup shirts!


The thrift stores in Redmond are kinda similar - except it’s all internal Microsoft merch for failed internal projects - or just really weird things like a family photo frame with the SQL Server 2000 logo molded into it.


> a family photo frame with the SQL Server 2000 logo molded into it.

I just... how could this be real?


"SQL Server 2000, save the things that matter"


It was just was. It took me by surprise when I saw it too. I probably should have bought it just for the reaction from my houseguests - the question is: what person’s photo should I have put inside of it?


Do you have any recommendations on shops? I'll be in the Bay on Tuesday and would love to pick up a couple of shirts


Any of the Goodwill stores in the South Bay.


> I think buying swag from startups to sell after they fail would be a better business model than the moviepass model.

I wish somebody would start fuckedcompany.com v2.0. I used to hit that site every day. Good times.


I still occasionally wear my fuckedcompany.com T-shirt. It is in the "laundry shirt" stage, headed towards the "you must like that shirt a lot" stage.

Facial reactions to it tell me who was there at the time.


And the SFW "luckedcompany.com" with the same backend but different theme.


I bought theranos.online last year for basically this purpose. It sits unused but I want to either have a fuckedcompany 2.0 type of thing or just sell assorted fucked company adjacent shirts.



I still have my NTK tshirt from 2001 which joked about this: https://web.archive.org/web/20030606070350/http://www.geekst...

"I got £80million in venture capital for my .com idea and all I have left is this lousy t-shirt"

(Visiting the shop through wayback is quite a trip; see the bottom where they have to carefully explain this newfangled "Paypal" thing https://web.archive.org/web/20030812152554/http://www.geekst... )


I worked for a startup that also did this, and also went out of business a couple years ago. I'm curious - is "selling for less than it costs to make" a legit business strategy?


Uber has been doing it for years. The actual plan has a key second step:

1. Sell at discounted prices to grow quickly, capture market share and public image 2. Raise prices to profitability once you have an advantageous position in the market and consumers either love your brand or they have no options to switch to once your prices go up. Alternately for startups, you can sell the business once you have an established position and let someone else worry about profitability, or sell to another big company that wants to kill their competition.

The key in the plan is step 2. However, for MoviePass, there was no way they were going to get to step 2. There was every reason for the theaters to compete with MoviePass instead of making deals with them. Most people only visit one brand of theater (whichever meets the cleanliness/price ratio near their house), and each chain could make their own subscription plan cheaper without cutting a deal with MoviePass. So MoviePass was never going to get to step 2 where they had an advantageous market position, because their one key feature- being able to be used at multiple chains- wasn't compelling. So they cut their subscription to $10/month, which consumers loved, but everyone knew that it wouldn't fix the problem with the business model, and they were basically just giving free movie tickets to consumers with investors money.


They also took the money before having to reimburse the tickets, so it acted as taking in a short term loan.


>But more seriously, as someone who has followed MoviePass since 2011

I was confused and had to look up the history[1], because I thought they were only around since August 2017 [2].

As it turns out, 2017 was when they shifted over to the "one movie a day for $9.95 a month" (paid for at the retail level with no special buy-in or discounts from theaters), which is what made them a household name.

So, just an FYI if were confused like me.

Someone else probably has more details about the clusterfrak regarding all the sudden blackout days and surge pricing and running out of money and denying your ticket after you got to the theater.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MoviePass

[2] which I remember I was visiting my brother when I started hearing about it


> AMC and Regal would ultimately figure out that If they were serious about a subscription plan, it would make more sense to build it in house/keep it limited to its own brands, rather than paying a middle man for customers that might not have chain loyalty.

Yeah, from the start MoviePass reminded me directly of that quote attributed to Steve Jobs (about Dropbox) that the company was a "feature", not a product.


Except Dropbox is now a 12 year old company. So I don't see how that was insightful?

It reminds me of The Sharks saying "a product is not a company". It's a virtually meaningless statement.


Disclosure: I work for Microsoft but not on OneDrive or Office or any of that stuff.

I love Dropbox (well, OLD Dropbox, I do not like the new desktop app at all) and have been a paying user basically since you could pay to use it (and a general user since it launched in what, 2007? 2008?), but Steve Jobs wasn't wrong. The original service Dropbox offered has indeed become a commodity. Dropbox (like Box before it), has had to pivot into other areas like "collaboration" and has had to change its focus from consumers to small business/enterprise in order to grow, and even then, it's struggling.

I don't actually think MoviePass and Dropbox are that analogous though. Sure, both are middlemen (or "features") and reliant on their potential competitors, but Dropbox's value prop strikes me as better.

MoviePass could have licensed its technology around geo-fencing/ticket-buying to theater chains so they could do their own subscriptions -- the impact wouldn't be as big, but there is a services story there. But MoviePass is always tied directly to the theater chains and the margins there aren't negotiable and won't change. Whereas Dropbox might be reliant to an extent by the OS makers it supports -- and Apple/Google/Microsoft might be able to theoretically build in better native integration with their services vs Dropbox -- but Dropbox can still come up with solutions and be elegant and cross-platform in a way that is better than the platform options. Whereas MoviePass can't do anything unless it wanted to try to start its own theater chain.


Dropbox atleast had an awesome Linux client. I don't know about one drive. But Google teases a Linux client then routinely tells us to fuck off.


You mixed that up! Apple's competitor to Dropbox isn't cross-platform but Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive definitely are.

In contrast MoviePass was truly 'cross-platfrom' while the new alternatives (A-List etc Al) mostly work within one theater chain.


And before any of those, there was Yahoo Briefcase. Years before.


iCloud Drive has a Windows client.


Are they profitable? Despite what the techno digerati have you believe, a successful company is not based on how the market values it but whether they can get people to give them more money than it costs to produce a good or service.

There is no better evidence that Dropbox is just a feature than for the same price that Dropbox charges for 1Tb of storage, you can get the full Microsoft Office Suite for up to six users and a total of 6TB of storage.


I switch from Dropbox to OneDrive for this very reason. OneDrive works fine for me (it even works better for photo and video sharing) and for the same price as DropBox I also get 1TB, Office365 online, for the iOS and Android and two desktop install licenses. And an outlook.com account. Terrific deal.


It is really a no brainer. I kept my free dropbox account thinking "I'm just going to use this for the stuff I want to share because I hate the OneDrive client and just store photos/videos in OneDrive"

But now the reverse is true and I don't know the last time I used Dropbox.


Dropbox gives you 2TB for $10/month.

Office 365 Business Essentials, which is the cheapest plan and comes with 1 TB of storage (as you said) is $5/user/month*6users = $30/month

So same price for the storage, but you also get the web and mobile versions of the Office apps. The desktop versions cost extra. I've gotten along fine the last few months with just web and mobile though.

https://www.dropbox.com/buy

https://products.office.com/en-us/compare-all-microsoft-offi...

Edit: I guess having 6 accounts isn't the same as 6 contiguous TBs though.


Office 365 Home for 6 users is $79.99 a year

With Dropbox if you have 1TB and someone shares a folder with you that has 1TB, your total allowed storage is still 1TB. With Office, you can share folders across users and the storage is contiguous.


No, but they have extremely high GM and continually are generating more FCF year of year:

https://www.marketwatch.com/investing/stock/dbx/financials

https://www.marketwatch.com/investing/stock/dbx/financials/c...

It would be safe to say that they are "printing cash".


It’s easier to give the impression that you’re “printing cash” when a considerable part of employee compensation is paid by “giving away the company” (stock compensation expense is around 15% of revenue).

They also leave out in their free cash flow calculation some relevant things (capital leases). Amazon for example provides three free cash flow calculations, Dropbox only the good-looking one.

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/03/21/dropbox-may-have-intentional...


Fair enough.

But this doesn't neglect the fact that they're at 70% GM. They're spending 750M/750M split between SGA and R&D, which means you could basically cut those both out significantly (assuming support/hosting costs are in the COGS) and the company stops growing (on a $1B+ revenue top line) but just starts printing cash. The ~$100M in capital leases is a rounding number then. Not to mention, since their data centers appear to be capital expenditures, it means they have the possibility of extracting even more ROI out of that in the long term.

PS - your article is from 2018 speaking about 2016 and 2017 numbers. Anything updated since? Dropbox has continually increase FCF YoY regardless...


I'm not an expert in Dropbox financials, I was just pointing out that the numbers are not necessarily as good as they seem and some care is needed to compare it with other companies. I have no idea how much the capital lease adjustment would represent. If your point is that from a valuation perspective it looks better than many other companies I agree. But I'm not sure it is so easy to "print cash". If they stop developing and marketing the product revenue will decline, they are not in a segment where you can milk a stagnant product for long.


> If they stop developing and marketing the product revenue will decline, they are not in a segment where you can milk a stagnant product for long.

I would argue the exact opposite. This is one of those products where most people just "set it and forget it". As long as the desktop sync continues to work as it does for all major OS's then they most certainly can milk their product for cash.

> I was just pointing out that the numbers are not necessarily as good as they seem and some care is needed to compare it with other companies.

I mean, you can make the argument that any company comparison requires "care" when analyzing it. This is literally why analysts still exist.

> But I'm not sure it is so easy to "print cash".

I think we're getting bogged down in semantics here. For most users of Dropbox, it's literally just a file sync - that's it - and it already works fairly flawlessly (compared to their competition at least). Which means at 70% GM it requires very little effort to continually advance the product. ~$700M alone is being used to continually fuel growth.

Fun question:

Q: Do you know when NetSuite turned a profit for the first time?

A: 2009[0] Yes that 2009, when the economy went to shit. Weird huh?

[0] - https://a16z.com/2015/05/15/a16z-podcast-why-saas-revenue-is...


As long as the desktop sync continues to work as it does for all major OS's then they most certainly can milk their product for cash.

iOS and MacOS have changed how they have handle third party syncing a few times over the past 4 or five years. Microsoft and Apple are both adding features to make Dropbox unnecessary and Microsoft has a large enterprise and consumer marketing budget to chip away at Dropbox’s profitable enterprise base.

While Google isn’t as entrenched in the enterprise as Microsoft, it is becoming more entrenched in education and it gives away a lot more storage for free.

If you think any software maker can just sit on its laurels, see what happened when MS tried that with IE.


So do you think they are just wasting R&D money and it isn’t an engine to keep the company a going concern? Do you also think that the rest of the tech industry could cut their R&D and stay relevant?

Servers breakdown, while we don’t have any statistics of how often Dropbox needs to replace hardware, we do know how often hard drives fail at scale from Backblaze’s frequent reports.


> So do you think they are just wasting R&D money and it isn’t an engine to keep the company a going concern?

Yes and no. They are trying to grow the product breadth (collaboration for example) so they can upsell enterprise businesses. That's where most of the R&D is going.

> Do you also think that the rest of the tech industry could cut their R&D and stay relevant?

Yes - easily. I've personally worked with over a hundred of them and you'd be shocked to understand how sticky software is once it's been implemented. This is the dirty little secret you never heard about when discussing software valuations.

> Servers breakdown, while we don’t have any statistics of how often Dropbox needs to replace hardware, we do know how often hard drives fail at scale from Backblaze’s frequent reports.

As I understand it, this is where Dropbox's major capital expenses are going right now. I don't have any information on where it hits the P&L and if it's calculated in the CF statement. However, having worked with similar businesses before and calculated pro formas, there is very clearly an ROI (similar to AWS, Google and Facebook all building out their own data centers).


Just as a caveat, I have 0 affiliation with Dropbox (I don't think I even know anyone who works there).

> Are they profitable?

Profitability isn't the end-all metric for a company. Amazon famously circles around the profitable/not-profitable line frequently and few people have doubts about Amazon's viability as a company.

Dropbox reported ~20% growth in revenue YoY and seems to have dumped most of that into R&D (you can see their R&D costs have grown by nearly as much as their revenue has). Other operating expenses remain mostly the same.

> There is no better evidence that Dropbox is just a feature than for the same price that Dropbox charges for 1Tb of storage, you can get the full Microsoft Office Suite for up to six users and a total of 6TB of storage.

Ok, but a growing subset of people clearly choose Dropbox. There are huge advantages to being a first mover that are sometimes insurmountable, even for gigantic companies. The zune was in many ways "superior" to the iPod, but we all know how that story ended.


> "Amazon famously circles around the profitable/not-profitable line frequently"

I dont agree with this common saying. Amazon was founded in 1994, IPO in 1997, and made a profit by 2003. Amazon's philosophy is to reinvest money, thus they swing between profit/loss. Amazon went from selling books online to everything online + AWS + Echo + Go Store, etc etc. So it took Amazon to make a profit, but they truly were growing, not paying people to buy movie tickets.

Conversely, usually when people say 'look at Amazon' when talking about profitless companies, we are talking about companies that spent a decade + private, IPO with huge valuations, slowing growth, and huge losses with no profit in site.

Dropbox for example, founded in 2007 and IPO'ed 11 years later with an 8 billion valuation. A 100$ investment in Amazon would have yielded 127k$. To give you that kind of growth, dropbox would have to reach a market cap of 10+ trillion. This is a huge problem because people are treating these unicorns like growth companies, when their best years are behind them and with their valuation, its mathematically impossible for them to have the huge growth that companies such as Amazon, Netflix, Google had.

I think rules need to be enforced / changed to prevent companies from staying private so long. This shenanigans is going to cost generations saving for retirement significantly.


I’m puzzled by who you think is suffering by having companies stay private like this?

> This is a huge problem because...

Why is it a problem?

Suck it up; if you’re an investor do your due diligence, just like with any other company.


Because the public market is clearly being used as a greater fool pool for bad investments.


It’s a problem because if you’re not a “qualified investor” you don’t get to take advantage of most of the gains as long as the company stays private.


I would not even call Netflix a success story until they can prove they will retain customers when the currently most popular content is being pulled


I agree and they have already proved they couldn’t. They use to say that their investment in content will keep attracting users even when its not new - ie their library content has value.

But they admitted that they didn’t sign up as many new customers last quarter because they didn’t have big new releases to attract customers.

They are still taking on billions of debt for both licensing deals and to create new content while their major upcoming competitor - Disney+ - has multiple income streams from their content and most of the cost of content has been repaid multiple times by the time it reaches Disney+.

Streaming is also a feature and not a standalone product for Amazon, Disney, AT&T and even Apple. None of these companies live or die based on their streaming product, it’s just a check mark.


Disney will not have the large catalogue that netflix has. If you like Disney $6 a month is great but this won't put netflix out of business.


Netflix has a large catalog, but most of it is either crap or owned by other studios and networks. They are all taking their content back to start their own service.


But Disney seems to have all the franchises that everyone wants to see. Add to that the major broadcasters are also pulling content, it's not just Disney. NBC, ABC, CBS are all pulling their content from Netflix and creating their own Disney+-like competitors to Netflix. HBO never even put it on there (they have had HBO Go for a while).


Amazon is not the greatest example. Amazon retail is still a poor low profit margin business with huge overhead and if that’s all Amazon was - a company that sells physical products - they would still not be worth anything near what they are worth.

Most of Amazon’s profit comes from AWS where they do have economies of scale and relatively high marginal profits. What are the chances that Dropbox will ever find a high margin profitable pivot? What is their customer acquisition cost? The lifetime value of a customer? What type of pricing power do they have.

Everyone loves to point at Amazon as evidence that all of these money losing companies will be highly profitable one day but it hasn’t happen.

Let’s not forget that out of all the big tech companies - Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Google and Microsoft. The only one that wasn’t profitable before they went public is Amazon.

Other operating expenses can’t remain the same. Storage cost real money on a marginal basis unlike software (Microsoft) and search (Google) which has close to zero marginal cost.


"What are the chances that Dropbox will ever find a high margin profitable pivot?"

I always thought that was selling ("aggregated") access to user's files.


> Profitability isn't the end-all metric for a company. Amazon famously circles around the profitable/not-profitable line frequently and few people have doubts about Amazon's viability as a company.

This is basically accounting fiction. Amazon is profitable; they just reinvest their profits so aggressively that they’re writing off tomorrow’s expenses against today’s revenues.


> Profitability isn't the end-all metric for a company.

Profitability is a proxy for "going concern" in most of the companies including Dropbox.


Dropbox market cap is crazy and they are trying to pivot to something else like paper.


It’s like many aphorisms or random links people like to post here because it’s a cheap low effort way to make people think they’re smart. (It doesn’t.)

That said, there are a fair number of would-be products that seem fairly clearly destined to be a component of another product.


Dropbox as just a cloud drive fit the description, and perhaps the fact that they are more than that and have since stuck around that it fits the quote too?


Then I fucking wish there were more features than products being made. It just works, recently, doing its one thing and never getting in the way. Its not trying to upsell me or limit behavior to only "partner" devices/services. Not spamming me. Not pretending its selling some sort of "lifestyle" to justify overpricing. Etc!

Of course Dropbox is doing All. Of these because it's a company that has to grow.


I have an Uber T-shirt if you're interested.


Shots fired. Its not unbelievable tbh.


Depends. If they lose to AB5, it's immediately over. You see, Uber is not a cab company masquerading as a tech company. No, it has become the latest attempt in a very long list of various form of attempts to essentially roll back the New Deal, undo all the progress organized labor made. Recommended reading: Invisible Hands by Kim Phillips-Fein, this covers the first few decades closing with Reagan (and almost starting with him, too). https://www.wwnorton.co.uk/books/9780393337662-invisible-han... If you consider it from that angle, then pouring billions into it is not that much of an investment. But if AB5 forces Uber to make their drivers employees then the "gig economy" is practically over and with it, Uber as well.


Or, it could just be a perfectly natural market response to blatant regulatory capture and customer abuse on the part of the incumbent taxicab industry.


The problem is that it's both.


> natural market response

with 5.2B quarterly loss and no path to profitability, natural market, sure, sure.


Well the response is natural. Successfull? Hell no.


> Last year, I bought a MoviePass t-shirt from the company’s merch site in anticipation of just this event. I’m going to wear it tomorrow.

You can probably sell it to the HBO prop dept for next season of Silicon Valley for $$$$$


Apropos this shutdown, Silicon Valley is also shutting down and its last season is slated to premier October 27, 2019.


I was interning at Mozilla the summer it premiered and watched the S1 finale in a bar in SF... it was harder than you'd think to find a spot. Apparently it hit a little too hard with some folks :)


In what context would they want to have a character wearing swag from a defunct startup? (I've only seen up to midway through season 3 btw.)


Wouldn’t have to be a plot point. Could just be a funny in-joke for the right character.


But which existing character and joke?


Probably the guy with the car and the doors. He can give more "wisdom" like this "wisdom" while wearing it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BzAdXyPYKQo

(To be clear the joke is he's a moron but everyone listens to him because he has money)


I love how you collect shirts of failed companies & wear em on msdn shows, it’s like a underhanded memento mori of sorts.


The Groupon office lobby had a picture of Andrew Mason on the cover of a magazine, surrounded by magazine covers of famous dotcom meltdowns. I always loved that. Well, that and the cat UFO.

See https://amp.businessinsider.com/images/4cec169bccd1d5e76e060...,

https://www.businessinsider.com/groupon-office-tour-2010-11#...


Thank you for noticing! Honestly, I like to be subversive (because if I can, why not!), and I also genuinely think it is a good thing to remember that as you allude, "we all die" or more to the point, "no company/product/language/technology is guaranteed a forever."


Thanks for reminding me!

I think I'll get a Rust T-Shirt and save it for a few years. It'll be like the "Oberon" T-Shirt I still have.


> AMC and Regal would ultimately figure out that If they were serious about a subscription plan, it would make more sense to build it in house/keep it limited to its own brands

This ignores countless counter-examples where entrenched companies completely missed the boat, despite plenty of time and obvious advantages. Although I understand how people could think this, it's how most business is taught to people for some reason but price competition and existing prior competitors (surprisingly) doesn't matter nearly as much in the disruption game as they do among big businesses in stable markets. But people tend to serve business advice as one-size-fits-all.

This seems to be more about the weird nature of the film marketplace than matters of competitive advantage.


Undoubtedly just how bad MoviePass's business model sans cooperation from the theater chains (who would eventually just do their own thing) is partially unique to the film exhibition marketplace -- but I wasn't making a sweeping statement about all businesses or disruption, I was talking about the actual MoviePass business model which would never ever ever ever work without cooperation with the theater chains (or, as I said, studios. But the studios are difficult because of the Paramount Decree).

I don't claim to be an expert at many things and I'm far from the smartest person in the room, but MoviePass hits my sweet spot because it encompasses the two industries I've studied/spent my career/life around, and the math for MoviePass just never works out.

Initially, the goal was to buy discounted tickets or have partnerships with the theater chains. The theater chains balked and refused to work with MoviePass, which led to the hack of using a pre-paid credit card and buying tickets at RETAIL prices. AMC and MoviePass actually did have a partnership at one point (2015) in a few select cities but if anything, all that partnership did was give AMC the data it needed to know how it could create its own service.

MoviePass thought it could leverage the theaters by claiming it was responsible for a large percentage of box office traffic -- but all its data really did was show that people really liked spending $10 a month to see unlimited movies. None of MoviePass's attempts to show that it was a market maker in terms of pushing subscribers towards a certain film worked (it didn't help that the films that studios were willing to advertise via MoviePass were often not very good) and MoviePass's brief sojourn as a film financier/distributor itself basically encompassed Gotti starring John Travolta (a truly bad film that no other major studio would distribute -- it should have gone straight-to-video/streaming/whatever -- which was the original plan. The producers literally bought it back from Lionsgate b/c Lionsgate smartly realized it was not worth spending money on putting in theaters), which was a flop -- and to add insult to injury, a flop whose audience was almost entirely MoviePass subscribers (meaning MoviePass basically paid for the film twice).

Again, I'm not making any larger statements about disruption. But this business, in this industry (which it should be noted, has fairly inflexible pricing and the theater chains themselves are largely only profitable because of concessions), with this ridiculous business plan was never, ever, ever going to work. And even if Regal and AMC had partnered with MoviePass, Regal and AMc would just have taken those lessons and launched their own loyalty subscription services.


> paying a middle man for customers that might not have chain loyalty

Is chain loyalty a thing with movie theaters though? Don't people decide what movie to watch and then pick a theater?

At best I think that in locations with lots of choices (> 2) there may be a specific theater a customer doesn't like. But even then... how many customers are there that will absolutely refuse to go to theater X even if it means missing out on "super amazing film Y"?

I wonder if the real problem was that MoviePass's main demographic might have been people looking to go to the movies on the cheap. These folks aren't buying popcorn, candy, and pop... the main (only?) profit center for theaters. In the end all that's been accomplished is filling seats at a loss (or minimal profit).


> MoviePass t-shirt [ .. ] wear it tomorrow.

Hah, I did this with my Amiga t-shirt the day Commodore went bankrupt. (Except for the part about buying the shirt it in anticipation of bankruptcy.)


What’s the Paramount Decree?

EDIT: Ah there’s a SCOTUS case that would prevent them: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_v._Paramount_P....


It's supposed to prevent studios from owning exhibitors. The one addition I'd add to your Wikipedia link, is that in the 80s, deregulation weakened many parts of the Paramount Decree, which is why you saw scenarios in the 90s/00s like Sony (a studio, thanks to its purchase of Columbia Tri-Star), also owning a theater chain (Loews, once stylized Sony Loews).

Slightly related -- the United States v. Loews case [1], which bans block booking, would make movie bundling difficult for a MoviePass like company too.

[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_v._Loew%27s_Inc.


I would like to thank all the investors that greatly contributed to my entertainment. It was a fun, and very unsustainable ride, but no regrets.

I'm actually considering the subscription service provided by the big players, so they did change the industry somewhat.


As someone who didn't have a movie pass I was too entertained watching this whole thing play out. Venture subsidized products are always a wild ride. I miss all my VC subsidized food deliveries.


And who knows how much longer VC subsidized taxi services will last.

Now you've got me wondering, just how much wealth has been redistributed back to the general public from failed VC backed schemes over the last decade?


Not sure how active it still is, but there's a site called VC Fund My Life (http://www.vcfml.com/) which catalogs coupons offered by start-ups for growth hacking (likely just VC money).


Not even close to enough.


I wonder if they knew that it would never work and were just feeling "philanthropic"


I wonder if you could post hoc write it off as a donation to the public, and deduct it from your taxes...

(I mean, I don't seriously wonder this, just hyperbolically)


You definitely can't write off a bad investment as a donation, but you can write it off as a capital loss.


A lot of it goes into inflated SF and Seattle real estate. Techies are paid near double there to afford to live there. I wonder what scenarios could dry up VC. ZIRP just seems to be driving more money that way.


Let’s get some healthcare startups funded and we can start taking about real money!


They tried already, it was called Theranos and it confirmed that “fake it till you make it” really shouldn’t be applied to healthcare


Sort of.

Theranos did a shitty job being a normal lab and lied about it, a startup that wanted to fake it until they made it could first setup an excellent normal lab, and then with customer consent, run their new lab processes in parallel with the excellent normal lab tests.

I suppose I'm stretching the definition of faking it a little far there, but I think it sort of follows the ethos.


They also had faulty tech and faulty promises and turned to regular labs to do the work they couldn't to try and cover up some of it.


I thought "Theranos did a shitty job being a normal lab and lied about it," addressed that.


There’s doing a shitty job, and then there is killing people with negligence


Same, and I feel that half way through its lifespan I felt I had already missed the boat to get enough out of it.

I also don't go to the movies enough anymore. I watch so much on flights now that more and more things are moved into the "I'll just watch it on a flight in a few months" territory. The flights themselves being pretty cheap or free - subsidized by the merchants that paid for my points.


Keep in mind that movies on flights are sometimes edited and they don't tell you. They especially remove any scenes involving plane crashes.

So you know, you might be missing some critical scenes in some movies. :)


They do tell you. The blurb always states that in-flight movies may be edited for content, even if in fact you're getting an unedited version.

I saw a censored and then uncensored version of Mystic Pizza on the two flights of a round trip with the same airline once. The editing quality is not great; the censored scenes were pretty confusing.


> The blurb always states that in-flight movies may be edited for content, even if in fact you're getting an unedited version.

Which effectively means they didn't tell you. :)


My immediate understanding was that the parent poster was planning to watch the movies on his laptop or something similar. But, I don't fly very often; are in-flight movies a popular option? Genuinely curious.


> But, I don't fly very often; are in-flight movies a popular option?

By the fact that I observe all the people sitting next to me on the plane watch in-flight movies, I'd say they are a popular option.


Some airlines offer complimentary in-flight movies on-demand on the in-flight entertainment system, even in economy.


Haven't most airlines had this for a long time, for any flight over about 5 hours? Or, for any plane bigger than a 737 / A320.

(Or is this just because in Europe... well, because those criteria mean a flight out of Europe.)


Most domestic US flights have the "bring your own device" option now, where you watch on your smartphone with their wifi.

The long haul flights usually have screens.


parent poster here: in-flight movies are a popular option.

any entertainment I try to bring myself "just in case" really just ends up taking up space/weight and not being used

last decade it felt like a luxury to bring my laptop/device for travel, this decade it is a burden if it happens at all.


Since OP said it was subsidized by the airlines, I assumed OP meant as an inflight movie.


> So you know, you might be missing some critical scenes in some movies. :)

A tolerable risk. Non-US airlines have wildly different criteria for this such that it really hasn't been in issue.


But how would you know if you only ever watched on an airplane?


Some movies I’ve gone on to see multiple times

Other times I was sufficiently entertained and followed the plot well enough to not care


>> Keep in mind that movies on flights are sometimes edited and they don't tell you. They especially remove any scenes involving plane crashes.

Huh. Never knew that.


This is why I bring my own copies of Alive, Die Hard 2, and others on flights. It actually helps keep me from being so anxious on flights.


The hill I choose to die on is that Die Hard 2 is better than the original Die Hard.


I enjoy them both equally. I also like Die Hard 3 just as much as the first two. The rest aren’t worth two hours.


3 is my favorite. The addition of Sam Jackson and NYC is just great. I honestly don’t even think about anything beyond the original trilogy.


Why do you think so?


Cooler terrorist plot, bigger action scenes, and more variety in the setting: plane, airport, snowy fields, etc.


> subsidized by the merchants that paid for my points.

Technically, it's paid for by people paying credit card interest and fees, and everyone who doesn't buy things with a credit card, thereby getting nothing for the inflated prices that merchants pass on to you.


Eh at least those merchants still made money on it, moviepass basically never made a cent


Call me ecoterrorist, but hearing "flights are cheap", so we flight makes me angry. Flights should not supposed to be cheap. The whole industry contributes significantly to global warming for you to watch movies.


For a very long time, people have made cheap swipes at Al Gore for using lots of carbon, such as for flying here and there and doing things that rich people do.

And, for a very long time, I thought, well, that's stupid, because global warming is about the total amount of CO2 on the whole planet, not personal behavior and virtue. It's not a religion, after all.

Somehow, everything's reversed, but does this mean that Gore is now a fiend? Or were people right the first time, that it's not about carbon being sinful?

A pound of CO2 is a pound of CO2, isn't it? Every time people make a comment about some specific activity, what I hear is "this pound of CO2 is more sinful than that pound of CO2". Or "everyone should get to emit equal amounts of CO2". I don't think these have anything to do with preventing climate change.

I really, really, don't believe it's wrong or contradictory for "liberal elites" to fly around on their private jets and still try to stop global warming.

But that means I also don't see why people have turned to condemning Joe Blow in the same way. It's not flying that's the problem. You ban flying, and economics would allow the fossil fuel to be burned some other way. You mandate electric cars, or anything else, and you're not doing the one thing we need to do, which is to ration all carbon emissions. All carbon is equal!

Maybe we do need to switch to electric cars or stop flying, but I'm saying we can only find that out by first making emitting CO2 more expensive and then letting the market work. It's not that it's a "nicer" solution that's more "free market", it's that there is literally no other option. We are looking for car keys under a streetlight, when we know they were dropped in the sewer.


In my opinion the “solution” is to just make every pound of CO2 cost, well, its actual cost. It wouldn’t bother me if a factory uses more CO2 than an individual, or even if a meat eater uses more CO2 than a vegan, as long as every party is paying the actual societal cost of the CO2.


I saw sooooo many movies :) . Then it fell like the house of cards that it was.


Same here. My wife and I got MoviePass knowing it was liable to go under at any moment, but the deal was too good too pass up. We lived across the street from a theater, so we went all the time. It was such a trip every time we swiped our MoviePass card and it printed the ticket. Unfortunately, the theater only had 5 screens, so we quickly saw everything we were interested in (and the "reach" movies we wouldn't otherwise have seen, some of which were pretty great!)

We eventually moved somewhere that didn't have a MoviePass theater around, and got AMC Stubs A-list for $20/mo, so it definitely changed our behavior.


Same thing here. Over the short 5 months I had MoviePass I would go to the movie theater whenever I would find myself having 2 hours of free time. I discovered a lot of good movies I would never have paid for.


That's true, they did influence things. Important to remember that disruption isn't always profitable: you much just nudge the established players into a higher level of competition.


>Important to remember that disruption isn't always profitable: you much just nudge the established players into a higher level of competition

<Sarcastic/ironic voice> ....while someone else foots the disruption bill....


90% of all startups fail. So yeah that's the model.


>It was a fun, and very unsustainable ride, but no regrets.

Sounds alot like Uber. Pun intended


Same applies to Uber. Thank all the investors for subsidizing our rides.


Wait, if my rides are subsidized, why am I still paying so much??


I recently paid under £10 for an 8 mile 55 minute pool across London. There's no way that's sustainable, but whoever's subsidising them makes my life much easier.


Did you try paying a taxi? Well that's the "real" cost.


No taxis charged you as a monopoly. Uber charges you on many many more drivers + VC money


They weren't a monopoly. They created artificial barrier to entry (through the medallion system) but the taxi business is super low margin. For a single city you have multiple taxi companies fighting for business. The prices came to an equilibrium close to what it costs to provide a ride.

There is a reason why Uber is losing so much money and why Drivers are barely able to make a living.


"Drivers are barely able to make a living". In my unscientific polling of uber drivers the majority are either doing it to pick up some extra money or in between "real" jobs. Few plan on doing it for a living.


I feel like I've noticed a shift in apparent motivation between 2014 and now. I remember a lot of people talking about doing it as a side gig or whatever in the past, but now I hear a lot about drivers working 8+hr shifts, sleeping in their cars between shifts, commuting from 1-3hr away to drive in SF, etc.


"Helios and Matheson Analytics, MoviePass’ parent company, said it has formed a strategic review committee to explore a possible sale of all or some of its assets."

I'd bet money that anyone that downloaded the MoviePass app will shortly have just about aaaaaaaall of their data sold


That was the original plan, even.

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/moviepass-plans-to-make-mo...

> “It’s about the data,” said Ted Farnsworth, chief executive of Helios & Matheson Analytics Inc., which owns a majority stake in MoviePass.


I mean the company is named analytics inc., it’s not like they’re hiding it


Most users do not research the names of parent companies.


They also rarely read TOS, freely give out many pieces of identifying information without reading privacy policies, and, as you said, do virtually no research on a company or their ownership.

At some point consumers have to get some of the blame here, right?


Most TOSes and privacy policies require a post-graduate level of education and several hours to properly understand - and that's for just one of the many services we interact with daily. I don't think it's reasonable to put that on the consumer.


So do we throw out all basic contract law because of this?

I'm not being facetious here. I actually think that contract law has significant problem in that it assumes a level of informed consent the average person cannot give when dealing with corporations that have specialized legal teams. It is one thing for two neighbors to enter into a contract since it is a meeting of near equal minds. But the average individual and the entire legal team of some large corporation? I would find a child entering into a contract with an adult to be more likely to have informed consent.


“Basic” is a relative term. Any contract that was entered into by a party who did not understand the contract and could not reasonably be expected to be able to understand the contract should not be enforceable.


But the services will still have to do this, even without data collection. Otherwise, they'll get an incedent like when that lady sued mcdonalds for hot coffee being hot and demanded some stupid sum of money. The legal dept will come up with some crazy ten-pager even if there's not this data sniffing in it.


> Otherwise, they'll get an incedent like when that lady sued mcdonalds for hot coffee being hot and demanded some stupid sum of money.

Oooooh, you fell hook line and sinker for corporate PR.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liebeck_v._McDonald%27s_Restau...

> Liebeck was hospitalized for eight days while she underwent skin grafting, followed by two years of medical treatment.

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2016/12/16/13971482/...

> Liebeck didn’t want to go to court. She just wanted McDonald’s to pay her medical expenses, estimated at $20,000. McDonald’s only offered $800, leading her to file a lawsuit in 1994.


> hospitalized for eight days

Right, but she was scalded by hot liquid. It is customary for hot coffee to be pretty hot, even close to boiling. I don't see how that was "corporate PR", or how McDonald's was at fault. The fact that others held coffee at 140 and McD held it at 180 doesn't sound like a reason it owed six figures.

> She just wanted McDonald's to pay her medical expenses

Right, but she spilled the coffee. Why is McDonald's liable for her slip-up? The jury decided that the warning on the cup wasn't large enough, but I'm not sure that makes sense as people habitually ignore warnings any way. They're printed on so many things that it's hard not to. I doubt a larger warning would have made a difference.

This is like some one purchasing a knife, cutting himself, and complaining that the manufacturer is at fault because there was not a sufficiently large warning that "knife is sharp".


Imagine if food was mechanical. Imagine if there was a switch that could be flipped changing it from edible to inedible and dangerous.

Drinking coffee at 180 degrees could kill you.


There are plenty of dangerous things we purchase. Imagine if there was a switch that could be flipped changing it from edible to inedible and dangerous.

Not cooking pork to 165 could kill you. I still think it's BS to sue a pork mfg.


But you only know that because someone analysed user behaviour, so...


Former MoviePass consultant here. Pretty sure the whole thing was a con. After being hired, I quickly pointed out major flaws in the product that allowed for users to share accounts or use their cards to buy popcorn or let theaters arbitrarily charge MoviePass customers higher prices. Mitch was never technical enough to comprehend the minutiae and Ted never acted with urgency when confronted with cold hard evidence that his users were effectively stealing millions of dollars from the company. They sold dollars for 75 cents. Kind of like WeWork.


What was the con exactly? Selling dollars for cents is not a con, it is stupid. Different thing.


Pumping and dumping their stock. Mitch and Ted both cashed out millions directly as well. It’s all in the public filings, amazingly. Citron did the best expose.


Popcorn? I wonder do some movie theatres sell alcohol? Would it be possible to get a bottle of scotch on the card?


Could you do the popcorn thing the whole time when it was unlimited?


Basically you could spend as much as you wanted in $15 increments within 30 seconds of “checking in”. The system was full of holes. They lost millions of dollars to outright fraud. It took my team two weeks to architect fixes that we could have implemented in a month. They chose to keep their current dev and didn’t patch many of the exploits we found for literally a year.


I hope this once and for all puts the nail in the coffin of the hand-wavy "we'll collect info that is super valuable to someone else and sell it to them" business model. Sure, if you can collect enough of it cheaply enough and sell it cheaply enough to someone that can monetize it directly (e.g. selling demographics info to ad networks for targeting) you might make it. But if you're collecting this info at any sort of significant cost, then you have to be able to monetize it yourself. Otherwise the 'purchaser' will just gladly tell you in meetings how much they'll pay for the data, when in reality it's just a super low risk way for them to see if this data holds any value for them - if it does, they'll figure out their own way of collecting it and cut you out of the equation. And more likely, it'll turn out not to be valuable (or it'll turn out their organization isn't capable of acting on it) and they'll just back out again.


Yup. The model that works is to collect the data and offer services based on your proprietary access to the data. Crucially you already need a business / operant market for that to work. A good example is Sky in the UK where they collect audience data and offer a targetted advertising (you tell us what kpi you want to move, we choose the slots) model vs a standard (you choose the slots that you want to buy) to monetize.

Upsides :

- retain control of data

- clear vs GDPR

- proprietary knowledge developed

- hard to replicate

Downsides

- harder to set up

- bigger up front risk for you


Not sure how ticket pricing works, or what sort of deals theaters could work with the publishers, but if they had only sold tickets through moviepass after the listed showtime, I feel like they could have made it work.

Moviegoers would really only be able to take advantage of less popular movies and/or showtimes because buying the ticket so late risks a sellout or bad seats (might not be able to sit near friends). The income would mostly be gravy / found money for publishers because it would mostly be people who wouldn't have gone otherwise. Moviepass might have been able to work out some sort of rev-share based on number of tickets sold so they could guarantee some income from each member's monthly payment. Hell this might even get you over the hump into AOL / Planet Fitness territory where you're almost entirely sustained by revenue from people who forgot they're paying for their subscriptions (I assume this was always the ultimate goal for Moviepass).


People would quickly learn how to abuse that system by just waiting to purchase tickets.

I think the theater+restaurant combos would actually be ideal for the Moviepass model since they can offset the cost of the ticket with food/alcohol sales. They could even limit it to 3 movies/wk like AMC and probably do well. The theater+restaurant near me offers a $5 ticket Tuesday promotion and most showings throughout the day are full. If they charged me $25/mo I’d definitely pop in 1-2 times a week to watch a movie while I eat a meal.


The big issue with movie pass is there's no real barrier preventing movie theaters from setting up their own version of the program. For any chain that did they can actually offset the lower ticket revenue with concessions which Moviepass would only see by cutting deals with those same theater chains. On top of that there's not really a reason for people to need to go to multiple chains (which could have been a niche for a Moviepass like company if the need was there) movies are a scheduled thing so people would just choose their favorite chain in the area (best seats, closest, best surrounding attractions whatever qualifies the best chain) and subscribe to their version of Moviepass.

All it seems like Moviepass did was prove that there was a market for subscription based movie tickets.


Wouldn't this just encourage lots of people to not buy a full price ticket and just wait in the lobby for the discount price?


The problem for MoviePass has been that a membership scheme is something the cinema chains can and do run themselves. In fact when I first heard of MP around 2017 the Odeon chain in the UK had something similar that a colleague used at least once a week.


Well, MoviePass also had a laughable security breach from what I recall from the past month [0]. A password-less and unencrypted database exposed on the net with user credentials in the millions all containing personal identifiable information (PII), which sounds like a recipe for disaster and a fraudsters dream. Well done if you dodged that slow moving car crash.

> MoviePass notified subscribers that it plans to close down the service because its “efforts to recapitalize MoviePass have not been successful to date.”

Good riddance.

[0] https://techcrunch.com/2019/08/20/moviepass-thousands-data-e...


It's pretty amazing how much attention the Movie Pass story has gotten. This is a tiny micro cap company and stock that has garnered national media coverage because its crappy business plan, which was doomed from the start, predictably failed. And a lot of people used the service. In an era of web 2.0 companies that just burn endless cash but somehow keep chugging along (such as Uber and dozens others), I think we all want to see a good failure story and this one delivers. Maybe if they had integrated cloud storage or cloud video or temporary workplaces or ride services into their business model somehow, it would be worth billions now.


They just needed autonomous movie viewing...


There's another similar service for concerts and events.

Pay $40 a month to attend 3 concerts, sporting events or events in general. I used it here in the DC/Baltimore area for concerts..live it. Though do wonder how me paying $13 for a concert ticket vs. $50 to $60 they'll stay in business?

It's called InWeGo...available in select US cities.


I'd recommend listening to Episode 468 of Planet Money: Kid Rock Vs. The Scalpers.

https://www.npr.org/sections/money/2018/11/28/671580422/epis...

Concerts and events have high fixed costs, so, like airlines, it's typical for them to engage in price discrimination to maximize profits. If there's assigned seating, they charge more for the best seats. But they also want the best fans (usually high-energy teenagers) to have access, so they need a way to get cheap tickets to those people.

Plus, if you go to a concerts or events from cheap tickets, maybe you'll learn to like concerts and events and end up being more likely to splurge on expensive tickets later. (Many symphonies and orchestras offer discounted tickets to students, youth, or under 30/40 for this purpose.)


That does seem a bit too good. For less than the cost of one ticket a month you get three tickets? Is there some limitation like you can only get tickets the day of (filling what would otherwise be empty seats) or something?


You can't reserve tickets until 5 days before an event, so I think it's similar to other last-minute deal services -- filling unsold capacity.


yeah this is their business model I would guess. It's actually pretty smart and might work.


it doesn't let me sign up.. not sure if the ad blockers are causing this... (the continue button does nothing)


Here in Mexico we have something similar. You pay $9.5USD a month and you have unlimited access. This was before MoviePass and it is still working.


In the UK, Cineworld has a £18/month deal for unlimited movies. Based on discounted/special offer ticket prices of ~£8 you need to watch about 2.5 movies a month to make it value for money. Having used it for 10+ years now it’s still good value for me.


In the USA the cost of a single adult movie ticket is ~$15. Charging less than that per month for unlimited movies was puzzling.


Depends on where in the U.S. where I am currently adult tickets are $11.


AMC theaters has A-List which is similar.

https://www.amctheatres.com/amcstubs/alist


Which service/chain? I'm in Mexico too and I've never heard about it.


Cinépolis Cine Club Standard


Only MoviePass _would_ announce they are closing in less than 24 hours. Dodged that massive bullet train wreck.


Isn't their shutting down proof positive that what they were giving customers was too good of a deal?

Where you considering working their or something? Otherwise how is not purchasing something that's undervalued a train wreck?


What do you mean? Everyone knew it was going to go under at some point. Unless you bought the service very recently, it was worth it for everyone else. Especially during the growth times when it was unlimited for $10


Lose money on every sale, make it up in volume…


Lose money on every sale, make it up by selling all the personal info of the customers to anyone who will buy.


They actually lost more each time an existing customer used their product, which is a bit of a red flag


On the plus side it created a monopoly, all those ramen profitable companies had no way to compete!


<thatsthejoke.bmp>


Nope, the old sales joke is based on the idea that they lose the same amount each time.


sounds like a great idea, let me invest please


The most interesting thing about this whole thing is how irrational the public market can be, especially at a time when there’s so much scrutiny on private valuations. I don’t remember the highest marketcap the company reached but it was skyrocketing at some point despite never really having pivoted on its business model.


The GrooveShark of the movie industry. Thanks for changing the way we watch movies.


MOVIEPASS4EVER

Probably my favorite startup yet. If you're going to burn through millions of VC money, may as well let everyone come along for the ride!


It's true. We need more trainwrecks whose primary failure was being too good a deal for the customer, and fewer trainwrecks like Juicero.


It's hard to beat the Pixelon launch party.

Someone should really make a movie on that one.


Oh do tell!?

Actually I found this on Wikipedia:

The history of the company has been used as an academic case study in the study of corporate governance and ethics[14] and also as the subject in 2019 National Geographic's docudrama miniseries Valley of the Boom.


When a company like this goes under where does all the code, configs, etc go? It'd be cool to see how they threw it all together.


It gets sold of course. Unfortunately you need to be involved in the right circles to have a shot at grabbing any of the IP. If you are lucky enough to be in those you could grab it for as low as USD 1000.


I wish I was in those circles. It would be really fun and informative to buy up a bunch of the carouses of dead startups and do a code/architecture review. What ideas did this team have that was interesting? What's confusing in the code base? Would I repeat any of these things in the future.


Sometimes the people who handle selling off the physical assets of a failed company don't do a good job of wiping computers. When the '80s Unix workstation company Callan Data Systems went out of business, my developer workstation was auctioned off with a full copy of AT&T Unix source code on it.

I wonder if people are more careful about this nowadays?

I suppose even if they are sloppy, a modern workstation probably has an encrypted filesystem so the buyer is probably not going to get anything off it.


Based on how well it appeared to work they definitely "threw it all together".


A MoviePass recruiter reached out to me a couple months ago. I regret not taking the interview just to see what it was like on the inside.


Stripe has a product you could use for this sort of thing. https://stripe.com/issuing


So I am a bit confused as to how Stripe Issuing helps us figure out the underlying technologies that ties a company as OP above asked? Am I missing something?


Wasn’t MoviePass largely a card you could only use at the theater you reserved a ticket at, to pay for that ticket?


Stripe Issuing lets you specify a webhook can approve/decline transactions [1], so you could use that to only approve transactions at a certain movie theater.

[1] https://stripe.com/docs/issuing/authorizations


Q: How do you know when an Internet bubble is about to burst?

A: When profits start to matter.


Startups are not designed to be profitable on their own anymore. The dream is not to be the next Google or Facebook. It’s to get acquired by Google or Facebook.


Recent tech IPOs have been amongst others: Pinterest, Crowdstrike, Zoom, Fiverr, Upwork (as comparison to Fiverr), Uber, Lyft, Medallia, PagerDuty, Tufin, Life360, Cloudflare.

A lot of these companies could be bought by a huge tech company, but they can’t all be aiming for that, can they? Upwork and Fiverr likely never will. Zoom is [a bit] profitable.

For other hyped startups like Airbnb and Palantir, they aren’t angling to get bought out by an FB or Google either.


I don't think we'll have a specific "internet bubble" anymore. The profits of the internet (Amazon, Apple, Google, etc.) are heavily tied to the health of the general economy. The internet bit isn't that novel anymore.


Funny sketch on this topic from CollegeHumor, about a year old: https://youtu.be/YBO_7UezpbY


This one also describes the situation well: https://youtu.be/Ql3PGqUdcwg


Not just "about a year old": it is exactly one year old.


I’m most amazed that they started at all. The whole idea is just bonkers. Why would cinemas give away free tickets to a third party so that they can make recurring revenues that would siphon their own? No, and they didn’t. Even if they would be as stupid as to go along with it, the first mover advantage for MoviePass was so low as they could easily be outcompeted. I would love to see the pitch for this pipe dream in the cloud.


I thought the whole idea was to pivot to an analytics company? Not sure how that would even work.


I can't see how so indirect consumer data as which theatre movies they watch would be worth much.


A few years ago I was accidentally emailed movie pass subscriber numbers Alo g with a ton of financial information. (I have a very short Gmail address that is a common fisrt and last name).. I didn't delve into the details too far but the high level summary primed me to expect this day much sooner than it actually ended up being.


Should we see this as a business failing? Or as the founders, CEO etc making lots of millions off of investors?


It gets bad on Friday the 13th. But it gets worse on Saturday the 14th!

Edit: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0083033/


Hahaha, I remember watching that movie when it came out.


What typically happens to all the intellectual property when a company like this shuts down? Do the investors become shared right holders or something due to lack of return?


IP assets are often sold at auction or in private transactions. Private equity firms and patent licensing companies play in this space.

For example Fortress (now owned by SoftBank) cut a deal for Theranos’ IP: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/theranos-closes-deal-with-...


In this case, when there is absolutely no intellectual property to talk about, everyone huddles down and hopes that no one notices their investment. In other cases, the proprietary body attempts to sell the IP to cover debts. Shareholders walk but are usually eligible to pay for the IP at the same rate as any other buyer. Sometimes this is used by shady boards to get control of a company and their IP.


For every 100 people with great startup ideas and no access to capital, there's at least 1 with an idea that will never work that gets funded I suppose.


I really took advantage of this haha. A candle that burns twice as bright.

I stopped using it as soon as they started adding tons of gimmics and IFTTT qualifiers


How you Americans mess up what's been working in the UK for years is beyond me. (this post was brought to you by the Cineworld Unlimted Gang)


That’s only at Cineworld theatres. MoviePass was at one point, most theatres in the country.

AMC, the largest theatre chain in the world, has a successful subscription service also limited to its chain.


Someone should make a MoviePass movie.


I guess MoviePass is trying a free PR here, sorry OP, speaking of the devil is some kind of PR.


when the gravy train is running, hop on and ride as long as you can. Sometimes like this it crashes and burns, sometimes like Uber/lyft it slowly Peters out (and it’s still a gravy train, just not nearly as much so as before)


The tyranny of unit economics.


they lasted a lot longer then I anticipated


Does this mean $HMNY will go back up???


I'd strongly recommend this longer read by Jason Guerrasio about the rise and fall MoviePass: https://outline.com/ZPqaXs — really captures the whole story end to end.

Original link with ad-block paywall: https://www.businessinsider.com/inside-story-moviepass-rise-...


really sad news.


MP is like Uber and Lyft: a magical unicorn business model that consumers thought they could get something for nothing, e.g., it was never sustainable.


[flagged]


Seeing as there are two other new accounts with really short comments like yours (that will soon be drowned by downvotes), I have to ask: are you a human? If not a bot, why did you create an account simply to say "good"?




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