Over the past few months, Sinemia has gone from promising MoviePass competitor to the source of frustration for moviegoers across the country. After rumors surfaced earlier this week that it would be backing away from its troubled subscription-based movie ticket offering, it posted official word tonight that it will be shutting down operations in the U.S.
“Today, with a heavy heart, we’re announcing that Sinemia is closing its doors and ending operations in the US effective immediately,” the company writes in a statement posted to its front page.
The service has also struggled with issues of monetization (not unlike MoviePass), leading onlookers to wonder ultimately how sustainable the subscription model is. Those issues have been coupled by increased competition from movie theater chains like AMC offering up their own services, even as Sinemia attempted to create a white label version for theaters.
In recent months, the company has been plagued by lawsuits from both MoviePass and moviegoers, the latter of whom took issue with app problems, hidden charges and policies of shuttering accounts.
“While we are proud to have created a best in market service, our efforts to cover the cost of unexpected legal proceedings and raise the funds required to continue operations have not been sufficient,” the company writes. “The competition in the US market and the core economics of what it costs to deliver Sinemia’s end-to-end experience ultimately lead us to the decision of discontinuing our US operations.”
Sinemia has expressed surprise at the breadth of negative reactions its received from users. In a recent interview CEO Rifat Oguz told TechCrunch, “We are taking it seriously. We are looking at every comment. We didn’t found the company a year ago. It started about five years ago. We are taking every negative comment very seriously.”
To that end, the company has set up multiple sites aimed at addressing user problems. Ultimately, however, operations were just not sustainable here in the States. The note doesn’t clarify whether the service will continue to operate abroad in places like the U.K., Canada, Australia and Turkey, where much of its staff is currently based. Nor is it clear when the end of operations in the U.S. will mean for those customers who are owed money on their accounts. From the note, however, it does sound as if active accounts will be terminated immediately.
We’ve reached out for additional clarification.