MoviePass is known for a pricing model that sounds too good to be true — in exchange for paying $9.95 per month, subscribers get up to one movie ticket per day.
At least, they used to: If you try to sign up now, that isn’t quite what you’re offered. Instead, there’s a bundle that combines a three-month trial for iHeartRadio All Access with four tickets per month on MoviePass — still a pretty good deal (especially since MoviePass says 88 percent of users see fewer than two movies per month), but not quite as irresistible as the old plan.
Does this represent a permanent change in the MoviePass business model? Well, the company has experimented with bundling before, but when The Hollywood Reporter asked CEO Mitch Lowe whether the movie-per-day-plan might return, he replied, “I don’t know.”
“We just always try different things,” Lowe said. “Every time we try a new promotion, we never put a deadline on it.”
We reached out to a MoviePass spokesperson who confirmed that The Hollywood Reporter story is accurate. They also said that this doesn’t affect any of the subscribers who signed up under the old plan.
MoviePass’ parent company Helios and Matheson Analytics sold additional stock last week in what seemed like a move to raise money for the service. (TechCrunch’s own parent company Verizon/Oath recently sold Moviefone for a stake in MoviePass.) At the same time, filings revealed that an independent auditor had raised “substantial doubt” about whether MoviePass would be able to continue operating as “a going concern.”
Update, April 27: MoviePass provided more context about the current offering and future plans in the statement below:
We recently made some updates to our Terms of Service, including the policy that MoviePass subscribers are only permitted to see any movie in the theaters once with their MoviePass. This falls within our continued effort to limit fraud on our app and has been effective in doing so in the past.
We also want to address the confusion around our current subscription offering and our subscription options to come in the future. Currently, we are offering a deal with iHeartRadio which provides users with up to four movies per month and a premium membership to iHeartRadio All Access. We’re continually testing various promotions with different partners, and the current iHeartRadio deal is consistent with that approach. This does not mean that our unlimited subscription will not be offered in the future.
We are exploring different options for future plan offerings, always taking our users’ usage patterns and preferences into consideration. We will communicate any further updates as we have them.