MoviePass and the innovation it inspires

I had an interesting conversation once about the illegal downloading of movies, shows and music.

This person was applying the generalized stereotype that all young people today want everything for free. In political discussion I’ve given myself a rule to avoid generalizations: I believe grouping people together lacks the nuance of the stereotype to begin with. Also, had the ability to download movies illegal happened 100 years ago, the result would’ve likely remained the same.

I try to avoid generalizations the same way I try to avoid absolutisms. I aim to remove “always” and “never” from my vocabulary since they are always exaggerations. If I were to engage a republican citizen by saying “All republicans want…” then I endanger my potential connection to this person with varying opinions.

 

People don’t appreciate being lumped into categories because we all believe we are complex individuals. So when the topic of “MoviePass” comes up I’ll avoid saying “It will never succeed” even as their stock prices plummet and the keep hemorrhaging money.

I’m a huge supporter of MoviePass and I believe their business model is incredibly risky, but has the potential to succeed. I’m eagerly anticipating the numbers in movie theater attendance when compared to last year when summer films had the lowest box office since 2006.

AMC announced their new premium plan recently at $20 a month. For those of us closer to an AMC theater and don’t like MoviePass’ new restrictions on re-viewings or multiple viewings, this may be enough to unsubscribe from MoviePass and try this new plan.

For this rest of us, MoviePass is still the most affordable option and the new restrictions aren’t nearly enough to urge us to leave them.

As I mentioned before, things aren’t looking good for MoviePass. But now, when/if they fall, we already have an alternative plan to subscribe to. If it holds out long enough, we may see Regal and other theater chains roll out competitive plans as well.

When music started being stolen regularly on the internet with the inventions of Napster and sharing programs like Limewire, we soon saw the music industry partner with Apple to find a more accessible way for users to buy music.

Now it’s much easier to just like a button in the iTunes app and pay $1.29 for a song you enjoy, than it is to download illegal copies. Not that illegally downloading music ever really had a significant impact on the music industry, but what it did do was encourage and inspire innovation in already established industries.

If MoviePass’ new plan had never existed, would we have got this new AMC deal?

Competition is the key ingredient in a capitalist society, right? However our movie, TV, and music industries become more and more monopolized each year and the lack of competition discourages this innovation.

Competition = Innovation.

MoviePass started competitive market in theater subscriptions services, they took a bold risk and I will likely fail, but it’s lasting impact will be worth so much to your average movie-goer for decades to come.

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