How much of the Netflix model can work in other entertainment businesses? Many have tried to uncover the secret sauce.
Among other companies, MoviePass is taking the hint -- at least when it comes to price.
Even while hitting some rough patches -- the mostly all-you-can-eat subscription monthly service for in-theater movies senses a key price point for consumers.
Last August, it dramatically dropped the price of its $50-a-month package to $9.95. Netflix’s standard service price is $10.99 for all-you-can-watch TV content at home.
Now, in an effort to put the business on more stable financial ground, it is dramatically reducing its consumers' movie access -- for the same $9.95 -- to three movies a month. The company had been considering just raising its price to around $15 a month. But it had a change of heart after reading social media's reaction to the price hike.
Big theater exhibitor AMC Entertainment has been hard on MoviePass over its business plan, predicting a substantial loss of money.
And yet, AMC recognizes that consumers are looking to avoid paying ever-higher movie ticket prices. So it started up a similar subscription in-theater movie service — three movies a week (defined as Friday through Thursday; approximately 12 titles a month) — for $19.95 a month.
Will that price be a breaking point?
Sling TV, the original internet-delivered pay TV provider, started its service with a bare-bones “Orange” package, $19.95 a month — and has been somewhat successful. But now it and other virtual pay TV providers have been slowly raising prices. That basic Sling TV package is now $25.
Rising prices and/or limiting content — look for some of these services to discover more revenue generators — tangential to its original product plan. MoviePass already wants to expand into movie consumer entertainment data.
In that regard, MoviePass would seem more like TiVo than Netflix. And that might not be good.
Once pay TV providers — cable, satellite, and telco — realize the importance of time-shifting, they developed their own time-shifted systems -- pushing TiVo out of the picture. That’s when TiVo moved into more TV/media-related research, and then ultimately sold itself to another company.
Perhaps, that's where AMC Entertainment comes in — starting a monthly subscription to compete with MoviePass.
MoviePass wants to remain an important part of the movie ecosystem, not just a stepping stone for other movie-related companies to follow and improve with a new movie-subscription businesses.
Does it have staying power? And more importantly, what successful consumer entertainment model will it now follow?