In a rare moment of contrition, MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe admitted that consumers and advertisers had misled last week that the company was monitoring the location of users before and after the movie theater. “We do not do the things I’ve described,” he told TechCrunch. As for the location, “We do not save it, we do not save it, we do not track it.”

Customers may find this total flip-flop unconvincing last week, especially since the company released an update of the days of application after Lowe’s remarks that “suppressed the capacity location of unused applications. ”

That too was inaccurate, Lowe said. “The update has not changed anything, only the menu options.”

The way I have portrayed what we are doing is not accurate.

– MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe

This series of “inaccurate statements”, as Lowe said, does not inspire confidence in a company that has openly declared that she had the intention to use exactly this type of data to create a personalized evening with its customers – thanks to advertisers who would make offers based on these data, of course.

But Lowe explained that he was a victim of his own excitement. Speaking to a host of data vendors at the Entertainment Finance Forum, at a conference devoted specifically to monetizing the data collected by MoviePass, he claims to have simply outpaced and talked about projects as they were the reality .

“Sometimes I’m excited about our future vision of a night at the cinema and building an ecosystem around her,” he said. “I need to correct what I said.The way I described what we do is not accurate.I have hinted that we know where you are when you are on the way to the cinema, and that’s not what we do. “

moviepass ceos backpockets on location tracking and bargaining strategy to reach breakeven by 2019 - MoviePass CEO's backpockets on location tracking and bargaining strategy to reach breakeven by 2019 Specifically, he said that the application checks the location when the user has opened the application in order to find cinemas close to them, at the where they would like to search for movie or other hours. Then there is another location check when the user registers, to make sure he is at the theater, his ticket is for.

“We only know where they are at this moment.Once they come out of the application, we do not know where they are.We do not know where they are going after, we do not know where they are. Let’s not save – that’s all we do, that’s all we’ve done. “

I had already pointed out that the follow-up as he had said was a flagrant violation of their own privacy policy, which exposed them to lawsuits or even to actions of the FTC. Lowe specifically said that they conform to it; Although background technical verification of nearby locations is not listed here (only “one request for your location”), the functionality of nearby theaters is not really the type of invasive data collection.

MoviePass Premium?

If the company decides to launch a more complete “movie night” service, with a follow-up before and after the film, “we will comply with all acceptable rules and conditions by sending first an opt-in or opt-out, explaining in plain English what we do with this information. “

As for other changes to the product, Lowe said expect new offers soon.

“There will be new things in the near future,” he said. “We are going out with a premium package, a package to bring a friend, a package of couples, a family package.”

I would put money on some kind of “red carpet” branding. It did not detail what these packages would include exactly, but he said you can expect the original monthly system to be in place in the foreseeable future.

“Most people assume that the number of movies that our subscribers go to is much higher than it is,” he said, which is consistent with the Early Adopter model. consisting of reducing each last value of a whole. eat the service. He declined to quote real averages, but said “you’d be shocked to see how low it is.”

He said, for example, that many users are going to see on order 4 or 5 movies a year at 10 a year – not 10 a month as some believe. The value, he speculated, was to “reduce the risk” of seeing a bad movie or a small film – which can also increase ticket sales for these films.

Fill the pit with money

That said, Lowe pleaded guilty in response to the most frequent and obvious criticism of the service, which is simply that she loses money at a phenomenal rate and survives only by frequent infusions.

“In ancient times, this allowed you to raise a lot of money and then develop a business.Today, what you are doing is that you are harvesting enough money. money month after month to basically fund this negative cash flow, “he explained – which is really a simpler way to formulate the problem, but Lowe compared MoviePass to Netflix and Spotify, who have been heavily indebted for position themselves to grow and monetize their user base.

Whether the comparison is appropriate or ambitious depends on the success of MoviePass over the next year; Lowe said, “We are 100% convinced that we have committed funding … to break even, which we believe to be early next year.”

The stages of this plan:

  • Have fun on average 1.1 times a month
  • Get the average monthly cost of goods (that is, what MoviePass is offering to the user) up to $ 9
  • Generate $ 6 per user in revenue from advertising and data sets

“Obviously, we are not there yet,” he concluded. But he pointed out that “the necessary money drops significantly compared to what it was a few months ago.” He later clarified in an email that “revenue from studios and partnerships from However, the road to getting a share of concessions – the most profitable part of the business – will be difficult, especially given MoviePass’ antagonistic stance with industry leaders like AMC.

At the moment, it seems at least that consumers can use the application without fear of being followed surreptitiously, any more than they are online, at least right now. 2018 will be the year MoviePass either becomes a major force in the industry or collapse, its millions spent a sad example of the advanced subscription economy.

Stock Image: Bryce Durbin / TechCrunch