MoviePass as a stocking stuffer? You better stuff some instructions in there too

MoviePass, the “all the movies you can watch” card (currently priced at $9.95 a month), is hoping you’re such a happy user that you’ll gift it as a stocking stuffer this holiday season.

Accepted at 91 percent of all theaters nationwide, even small indie ones, the card sounds like a great gift to receive. At such a low price point, it’s tempting to be that cool friend who ushers others into the world of MoviePass.

But the company knows they’ve made mistakes dating back to the summer (when they announced the lower monthly cost, down from $30something) til now. A visit to Twitter and Facebook reveals half a year’s worth of snarky user complaints hurled at MoviePass. But a new user — especially somebody who’s never heard of it and receives one as a gift — might initially think MoviePass is about convenience, until they learn about the precise steps needed to make it all work smoothly.

For example, let’s say you want to see a much-hyped movie at a prime hour, on opening night. You know for damn sure it’s going to be sold out. Just because you have a MoviePass doesn’t mean you’re able to easily get a ticket in advance. In fact, you can’t. To get around that, you can physically go to the theater earlier that day. This doesn’t qualify as “convenient.” The MoviePass app requires you to be within 100 yards of the theater you intend to use. You launch the app, hoping its proximity sensors work, and pick the movie and showtime.

This assigns a temporary code which you don’t see into your account. The physical MoviePass, which syncs with the app, can now be “read” in the correct way and a ticket can be printed.

To get the ticket, swipe at the kiosk. Or have a ticket clerk do the swipe; either way is fine. (Note: MoviePass the company pays theaters full price for each movie seen. Customers/giftees don’t need to think about this; it’s just part of the MoviePass B2B strategy for now) If we had to guess, a gifted MoviePass will not come with any sort of printed FAQ or trifold. Recent attempts to ask their marketing agency were not answered.

So what does MoviePass need this holiday season? It pretty much needs to pray for perfection — to undo the summer tarnish.

Their customers who had negative issues during the low-price push now realize that that’s just the way things can sometimes go with scale. In an earlier conversation with the marketing agency assisting MoviePass, we were told MoviePass has learned a lot this year and that reducing mishaps is an ongoing priority.

Mishaps and unpreparedness led to a flood of customers airing gripes and warnings on social media in the latter half of 2017. Complaints such as technical errors with the MoviePass app or card — or both. But the waiting people went through for the card to arrive in the mail (sometimes 6 weeks or longer) was the #1 gripe during that time.

With Christmas only days away, nobody’s gonna tolerate even a 3-week delay. Can you imagine? A sequel (MoviePass Blunders II anyone?) would suck for the company’s image, especially during the holidays. On the user side: It’s bad enough you’re buying a cheap gift, it’s super wack if it doesn’t arrive on time and/or has technical glitches.

For more “caveat emptor”, I suggest you find any article about MoviePass on Gizmodo and scroll to the reader comments.

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