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Atom Tickets is launching its own version of MoviePass–except it sounds like it might be good

The digital ticketing app wants to help theaters roll their own subscription services.

Atom Tickets is launching its own version of MoviePass–except it sounds like it might be good
[Photo: Erik Witsoe/Unsplash]

MoviePass may be continuing its downward spiral, but if it proved anything, it’s that moviegoers are open to a subscription service to see more movies in a theater for at least a good, if not too-good-to-be-true, price.

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With that in mind, a new movie ticket subscription service is about to launch, and it’s correcting one of the biggest mistakes made by the embattled movie subscription company: playing nice with theater exhibitors. 

One of MoviePass’s biggest obstacles, after all, has been that it has always been seen as a competitive threat by movie theaters, who initially refused to work with the company when it launched back in 2011. Lately, MoviePass–which became an overnight sensation when it offered customers access to unlimited movie tickets for $9.99 a month before its business imploded–has been courting movie theaters as it tries to relaunch itself with more economically sound plans. But it is still very much seen as a rival. 

Enter Atom Tickets, which is preparing a service that will allow theaters to build their own, personalized movie subscription platforms using Atom Tickets’s infrastructure and technology. In other words, to enter into the movie ticket subscription business on their own terms and in a way that allows them to leverage their own customer data. No theaters have signed on yet, but Atom plans to pitch the service next week at CinemaCon in Las Vegas.

Even before these meetings take place, Atom Tickets is strategically making it clear that it is a friend, not a future foe. “Our goal is not to be MoviePass,” chairman Matthew Bakal told Variety. “Our goal is to be a great partner that provides technology that enables exhibitors to create their own subscription programs.” 

These programs will be integrated into Atom Tickets’s own movie-ticket-buying app, allowing users to purchase tickets, reserve seats, and invite friends from their social networks to join them at showtimes. Besides creating the user interface, Atom Tickets will also handle the back end, overseeing the payment process, customer service, and fraud detection. 

Pricing has not been announced, but Bakal promised that the fee for theaters will be “no big cost” and said that they would get a cut of subscription revenues.  

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He said the hope is to tap into “a lot of smaller, regional circuits that would love to have subscription plans, but don’t have the technology to build it themselves. That’s where we come in.” 

Sounds better than having to watch 20 minutes of ads while being monitored by facial recognition software.

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About the author

Nicole LaPorte is an LA-based senior writer for Fast Company who writes about where technology and entertainment intersect. She previously was a columnist for The New York Times and a staff writer for Newsweek/The Daily Beast and Variety

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