On September 14th 2019 MoviePass breathed its last. However you could be forgiven for thinking it had died much earlier. After all, Variety reported back in April that they had lost 90% of their subscribers, going from “more than 3 million to just 225,000 in under a year”. However MoviePass’s downfall was not for nothing. It fundamentally changed the way people and theaters think about how tickets are paid for.
The first company to recognize and act on this change was actually one of the oldest in the industry, AMC. In response to MoviePass, AMC launched its subscription service on June 26th 2018. As an extension of its existing Stubs loyalty program, Stubs A-List promised customers the ability to see three movies per week, at any of its theaters, on any format, for approximately $20 a month. They expected to grow the program to 500,000 members after the first year. However on June 26th of 2019 they celebrated the one year anniversary of the program with more than 860,000 members.
In their first year AMC learned several valuable things about how to make a subscription offering popular and profitable. Primarily they learned subscriptions are all about maximizing two key sectors: food and beverage purchases and full-price bring-alongs. Food and beverage for most AMCs means popcorn, candy, and soft drinks. Some of their theaters have full menu offerings (2.5%) but it’s still the vast minority of theaters. Full-price bring-alongs are when an a-list subscriber brings along their non-a-list friends and family, who pay at full price. In fact AMC reported in their April 17th, 2019 Investor Day conference call that their A-list members were already bringing in $400 million in total revenue after including their F&B and full price bring-alongs. The same transcript proclaimed the program was a “smashing success” and the financials bare that out.
To briefly return to our recently departed, MoviePass, we know now what it was missing. Without being able to benefit from the additional F&B and take-along revenues, It was unable to come up with a business model that made sense.
Recently other large theater chains threw their hats into the subscription ring. Regal Unlimited Movie Subscription Pass is Regal Cinemas offering. Which provided three different tiers of membership depending primarily on what theaters you want to attend. Alamo Season Pass is Alamo Drafthouse’s subscription offering. Both Regal’s and Alamo’s programs offer unlimited movies at an approximately $20 price point. They are both so new that there aren’t any public results of their growth yet.
The future looks bright for movie theater subscriptions. We here at Film Frontier believe it’s only a matter of time before movie theater subscriptions are as ubiquitous as Netflix subscriptions. That’s why we’re working hard to give small and medium sized movie theater chains the ability to provide an AMC class subscription experience. We’re doing this through our whitelabeled subscription platform. Easy implementation is important to us so we have integrations into all the major cinema POS ticketing systems, including Vista / Veezi. Contact our sales team today if you would like to setup a demo.