Just in time for the Fourth of July holiday weekend, MoviePass has announced that its service will be shut down for several weeks while it addresses technical issues with the beleaguered movie-ticket subscription service. The interruption would begin effective at 5 a.m. on July 4th, and from that time until completed, no ticketing would be available for the existing members.
The subscription-based ticketing service has been under increasing pressure to cut its financial losses. MoviePass parent company Helios and Matheson reported a net loss for 2018 of $329 million dollars, up from $150 million in 2017. Back in August, we had reported on the fact that even at the time, nearly half of all subscribers were considering cancelling their accounts. The company has faced previous outages before, but none with such a long and open-ended window.
MoviePass's announcement came out late in the afternoon on July 3rd, according to Business Wire, almost exactly twelve hours before the shutdown would go into effect. In the announcement, MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe said, "There’s never a good time to have to do this, but to complete the improved version of our app, one that we believe will provide a much better experience for our subscribers, it has to be done.” He continued saying, "We have listened and we understand the frustrations of our subscribers. To provide the level of service you deserve and we can be proud of, we need to improve our mobile app."
The reasons for the need for disabling the existing app while they release the new one were not made clear, only that they were going to provide the improvements by using an "enhanced technology platform." In the statement, it also noted that during the downtime the company intends to recapitalize in order to provide improved service after it is restored. However, what specifically was meant by "recapitalize" was not elaborated on.
It was back in March that MoviePass had finally brought back a version of their unlimited tickets plan, with "unlimited" meaning one movie per day. It was still with the caveat that certain movie options might not be available, depending on how popular it was, because it "negatively impacts system-wide capacity."
The challenge now will be, with the long holiday weekend being a prime summer movie time, how much further subscribers might be impacted. With Spider-Man: Far From Home and Midsommar opening, and Toy Story 4 and Aladdin still going strong, existing members will either need to pay out of pocket or turn to one of the alternative subscription services that have emerged in the wake of audiences looking for price options after MoviePass.
Source: Business Wire