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MoviePass tries out latest random business model: unlimited unless they say otherwise

I’ve lost count of how many business models MoviePass has tried in an attempt to offer unlimited movie-going for a fixed monthly fee.

Let’s see (I hope I have enough fingers for this) …

There was $10/month for unlimited movies. Part of that model was selling location data on subscribers after they left the theater, but the company soon had to backtrack on that one. Then unlimited became four movies per month. Next you could only see each movie once. Then unlimited returned. Then new films were excluded. After that, it was three movies/month. Next it was limited movie selections. And then three subscription tiers.

And now we’re on business model nine. Unlimited … except when the company decides you’re not allowed to watch something.

As The Verge summarised it:

The service’s terms say that the company may limit your film selection based on location, times, movie titles, and even your own historical usage.

Or as the latest terms and conditions put it:

MoviePass makes reasonable attempts to provide access to movies in theaters nationwide, however the time and locations for movies may vary based on theater inventory which also may change, usage, and showtime availability. If the title and showtime you want to see is not available, MoviePass will not be held responsible. MoviePass is not responsible if the selected showing is sold out, and we recommend that you frequently check theater availability in the MoviePass App, and if available, arrive to the theater early and purchase your ticket ahead of time. MoviePass ticket inventory may vary from theater inventory. MoviePass will not be held responsible, if ticket availability has run out for MoviePass subscribers, but the specific theater otherwise still has tickets available.

Or to cut through the legaleze, you can only see movies that no-one else wants to see at the time and place you want to see them. The only time MoviePass tickets will be offered is when a theater knows it’s going to be left with unsold seats.

As you’d expect, given the way the company is making things up as it goes along, the terms also allow the company to change the offer, and its price, at any time.

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Avatar for Ben Lovejoy Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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