MoviePass CEO Stacy Spikes on how film can win the TV market back

MoviePass Stacy Spikes

Last month’s Oscar awards was a hoot to follow, but if there’s one thing we noticed, it’s that host Seth McFarlane’s background is not in particularly in film. Rather, his career is embedded in animated TV series like Family Guy, American Dad, and The Cleveland Show. This seems to be the telling signs that the television market and its characters are becoming more cinematic. If you look at shows like Fox’s The Following or AMC’s The Walking Dead, you’d realize the high quality of production in these series and how they’re more like movie episodes than an average TV show. So if we can watch movies in 30, 45 minute segments at a time in the comfort of our own home, how are movie theaters going to win its viewers back from the likes of cable, streaming subscriptions, and on-demand videos?

Stacy Spikes, CEO of the MoviePass app that allows members to watch an unlimited amount of movies per monthly fee, has a few thoughts. (If you’re unfamiliar with the service, check out our full MoviePass hands on and interview.)

In order to fight back the television industry, film makers not only have to put out better content, but find a way to make the movie going experience more beneficial as a social experience.

Digital Trends: It’s obvious film is have to do a lot more than rehash movies from famous books and fairy tales if they want to win back viewers from the television market. What else can they do to bring back the golden years?

Stacy: Better content is so important, but there are also cycles. I think more with television, it’s finally fell on its own with reality TV – but you can only watch so much of that for so long. Another thing with reality TV is the aftermarket for it is not as strong. Another thing is, people weren’t working as much in theatrical – so you saw a lot of writers, directors, producers move over to TV so they can keep working since the cycles are shorter. But in the long run, people want to see their stuff on the big screen, and the move is cyclical. Eventually, I believe things will move back over.

DT: MoviePass has been around for about half a year now. What sort of trends have you seen about moviegoers in this strong TV market under the concept that they can theoretically watch movies unlimitedly (per flat rate cost)?

Stacy: The data is good, largely we are looking at 70 percent male, 30 percent female of the audience who go to the movies. We’re heavily concentrated on the top ten ADI (area of dominant influence) markets. Behavior is also interesting, we see a 64 percent increase in people going to the movies [with MoviePass]. They also buy concessions at a higher rate given the fact that they are conceptually going to movies for free and are not fronting pocket cash.

One of the side things we saw during Hurricane Sandy is we can see people who were in the dark zones moving to see the movies where there was light, like in Manhattan. You also see how far people are willing to go from their house and who they’re going with [to make this MoviePass experience worthwhile].

DT: What do you plan to do with this data? Pocket it for your app’s improvements or sell them to film market researchers?

Stacy: We’re holding on to the data to build more MoviePass features at this time. At some point, we’re gonna figure out how to package it in an intelligent ways to help studios and theaters better market themselves and drive better traffic.

MoviePass

DT: MoviePass is one of the first apps to tie in geolocation data in a debit card system. What benefits and effects will this have on moviegoers and local businesses as opposed to TV viewers who stay at home?

Stacy: We have a patent on this system, and we think this could radically change the film industry. It can also change retail related to the film industry, so in the future, perhaps you can gain points that can be activated on your card. Certain retailers that are near the theaters can opt in and offer discounts. There are a lot of advantages in that mall ecosystem that we can one day use in an intelligent way. 

The thing about geolocation apps, like Foursquare, is you always know where you are but businesses do not know how long you are there or what you are there for. With MoviePass, local businesses can see where you will be, estimate how long you’ll be there depending on the movie you’re watching, and offer relevant discounts or products.

DT: So, if you’ve been at the theaters to watch Lord of the Rings, local businesses can say, “Hey, maybe you’ll wanna eat after the three-hour show?”

Stacy: Exactly! This notion is so unique. And if you start to frequent that place, they’ll know and perhaps give better discounts. Most people tend to go to the same set of theaters in the same area. It’s exciting to see how we can let this thing socially loose.

Thanks to Stacy Spikes for speaking with us at SXSW.

Movies & TV

In Avengers: Endgame, Marvel saved its best (and biggest) for last

Marvel Studios concludes its 22-film saga with Avengers: Endgame, the sequel to Avengers: Infinity War and the culmination of more than a decade of movies. It gives fans one of the franchise's most epic and emotional installments so far.
Home Theater

From the Roku Ultra to the Fire TV Cube, these are the best streaming devices

There are more options for media streamers than ever, so it’s difficult to pick the best option. But that’s why we're here. Our curated list of the best streaming devices will get you online in no time.
Mobile

Smash your carrier shackles with the best unlocked phones

If you want the freedom to switch carriers at will or you prefer to get your phone directly from the company that makes it, you'll want to buy an unlocked smartphone. These are the best unlocked phones you can buy in the U.S.
Home Theater

From game consoles to 4K UHD spinners, these are the best Blu-ray players

Streaming may be popular, but the disc isn't dead yet. To get the very best picture and sound quality from your system, you need to be watching Blu-ray or 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray discs, and these are the best Blu-ray players you can buy.
Music

YouTube Red is now YouTube Premium. What's changed, and should you subscribe?

Thanks to Google, YouTube Red is now YouTube Premium. We explain what exactly a YouTube Premium subscription gets you, how much it costs, and break down if it's a good choice for you.
Smart Home

Not only is Chucky back, he haunts your smart home in Child’s Play reboot

Chucky is a classic horror movie villain dating back more than 30 years and the character is getting reimagined in the new reboot coming in June that gives the evil doll control over smart home functions.
Movies & TV

Final trailer for Godzilla: King of the Monsters promises a giant monster melee

Legendary Pictures has released the final full-length trailer for Godzilla: King of the Monsters, the sequel to 2014's Godzilla, which pits the giant lizard against a host of new monstrous threats.
Home Theater

What’s new on Netflix and what movies and shows are leaving in May 2019

Our complete list of what's new on Netflix for May 2019 and which titles will be removed will help you catch up on your bingeing, and also ensure you don't miss any titles heading into the streaming ether.
Movies & TV

Game of Thrones episode 3 photos look ahead to the Battle of Winterfell

HBO released photos and a video teasing the upcoming third episode of Game of Thrones' eighth and final season. It will feature the long-awaited Battle of Winterfell that pits the show's key characters against The Night King's undead army.
Movies & TV

10 criminally underrated movies on Netflix you owe it to yourself to watch

Netflix's massive selection often makes it hard to find anything to watch other than what's currently trending. To help, we've compiled a list of the most underrated movies on Netflix.
Movies & TV

Sorry, Spielberg. Streaming movies are still eligible for the Oscars

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has decided that, despite complaints from filmmakers like Steven Spielberg, movies that are primarily distributed via streaming services will still be eligible for the 2020 Oscars.
Cars

Ambitious but not rubbish: The best Top Gear episodes

Since its relaunch in 2002, Top Gear has become required viewing for any serious gearhead. The great moments from this show may seem too numerous to count, but we've managed to pick some of the highlights from the first 26 seasons.
Movies & TV

It’s official: James Bond 25 pits Daniel Craig against Rami Malek

Daniel Craig will face off against Oscar-winning Bohemian Rhapsody star Rami Malek in the still-untitled 25th installment of the James Bond franchise, scheduled to hit theaters April 8, 2020.
Movies & TV

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker trailer gets 111 million views in just 24 hours

Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker's first teaser trailer and plot details have arrived. Here's everything we know about the movie before it premieres in December 2019.