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MoviePass moving back to 1-per-day model amid questions of profitability

If it wasn’t clear before that MoviePass values your data more than your money, it should be now.

MoviePass is already back to its crowd-pleasing ways, as you can see on its home page, going back to the one-ticket-per-day model that attracted more than a million people. This follows a cross-promotion with iHeartRadio (which began just days ago) that saw the ticketing service limit subscribers to four movies per month.

The promotion was seen by many as a way for MoviePass to recoup lost money, as the service’s current business model is something of a financial hemorrhage. In a January interview with CNN, MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe dismissed concerns over the numbers (and over MoviePass’s strained relationship with AMC, the largest theater chain in America), claiming that the service stood to remain profitable over the long run by selling customer data for advertising purposes. This apparently does not apply to location data though, according to Lowe.

Perhaps coincidentally (and perhaps not), MoviePass parent Matheson Analytics released a regulatory filing — citing losses incurred since the one-movie-per-day model first debuted in August 2017 — just a few days after the iHeartRadio promotion went up. “To continue to support the business objectives of MoviePass, we have a present need for additional funding, which may be unavailable to us,” the filing read.

For the unaware, MoviePass buys tickets directly from theaters and applies them to users’ accounts. Given that a single ticket can run upwards of $20 for primetime showings, the $10 monthly fee seemed too good to be true. And according to a different filing, MoviePass buys about six percent of all movie tickets sold in the U.S. each month. Even at (presumably) discounted bulk rates, that’s a lot of money.

MoviePass has recently ruffled feathers in other ways as well. In March, users were disallowed from using their tickets on Red Sparrow, and similar problems were reported (though with less frequency) for Black Panther showings in February. In addition, March saw the return of an unpopular security feature requiring customers to screenshot their tickets and upload to the MoviePass app.

When the iHeartRadio promotion began, MoviePass also began restricting users from seeing the same movie twice, an odd decision which irked many subscribers. At the time, Lowe also said “I don’t know” when asked whether the popular one-per-day model would return.

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