Will subscriptions save the cinema?

Netflix has officially disrupted the entire movie-going experience.  A night at the movies used to be relatively affordable, but today it’s anything but. With the increasing availability of other entertainment options accessible from the couch, consumers are no longer heading to their local movie theatre and traditional providers are scrambling.

But, could subscription commerce - the same business model floating Netflix - help save the old school movie business?

MoviePass an American-based subscription-based movie ticketing service allows subscribers to purchase a single movie ticket per day for a flat subscription fee per month. The service went through several pricing structures following its original invite-only launch (including those limited to 2 or 3 films per month, and "unlimited" plans, with pricing based on market size), before announcing this past August that it would switch to offering a plan with a single film per day priced at $9.95 per month.

Cinemark, another monthly Movie Club, lets customers buy a movie ticket a month for a discount price of $8.99, in addition to 20% off on concessions. The Texas-based chain, which owns about 350 theatres, allows members to roll over unused tickets every month and buy additional ones for friends at a lower price. Cinemark said that it has developed Movie Club after doing extensive consumer. Cinemark’s move appears to be a specific response to MoviePass.

MoviePass announced last month that it was debuting a limited-time subscription that allows users to pay $6.95 a month to watch a movie a day for a year, with the provision that users commit to a 12-month subscription.

MoviePass pays theaters the full price for a ticket, so it is in essence subsidizing its users’ movie going and losing money each time they check out a film. The average movie ticket costs $8.60 through the first three quarters of 2017, but in major cities, such as Los Angeles and New York, tickets often cost more than $10.

AMC, America’s largest chain, threated to take legal action against MoviePass in August and predicted that the company would fail because its business model was not sustainable. While subscription services like these are available to consumers in the U.S., Canadians wait patiently for someone locally to follow suit.