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Fast Talk

Lessons Learned: How to Update an Outdated Industry

Can the Movie Theater Be Saved? While Hollywood sticks with the same old ideas—bigger, pricier blockbusters—these outsiders are making real changes.

Stacy Spikes
Cofounder and CEO , MoviePass

[Photo by Kevin Trageser]

Stacy Spikes

Cofounder and CEO , MoviePass

The former Miramax executive's subscription service works at almost any movie theater. For $35 a month, users can see one movie a day—any movie, at any time.

The Subscriber

1. Remake the model

"'Raise prices 5% every year' can't be the future. Millennials consume media in subscriptions— Netflix, Hulu—and we need to take that seriously. It's not that disruptive. We could put AMC or Regal Crown memberships right into our app and become an extension of those programs. We build loyalty."

2. Fit the right mold

"Our system works within the theaters' Subscribers select the movie and showtime on our app, which unlocks a debit card to purchase the ticket. MoviePass pays the theater the full price, and we sell in-app advertising. The strategy has helped us reach roughly 4,500 theaters across every state."

3. Find hidden benefits

"Theaters are open all day but are only crowded for a fraction of that. In a survey last year, we increased theater traffic 64%, users consumed more concessions, and they doubled their visits at off-peak times. Basically, we helped theaters make more money during the times they're already open."

4. Be an easy partner

"When we talk to major theater chains, we stress our robust customer service. That isn't just for our own customers; that's so a user's poor experience goes directly to us and nobody blames the theater. That really helps the theater see us as a friend, not a potential liability."


Fast Talk: Can the Movie Theater Be Saved?

A version of this article appeared in the December 2013 / January 2014 issue of Fast Company magazine.