Istanbul-based Sinemia offers a service similar to MoviePass, but whereas MoviePass subscribers pay $10 per month for up to one movie ticket a day, Sinemia’s members pay the same amount for just two movie tickets per month. MoviePass, however, limits its subscribers to 2D showings and doesn’t include seat selection, while Sinemia offers 3D, 4D, IMAX, and lets its subscribers not only choose seats but purchase up to 30 days in advance. Sinemia also offers a $5 per month option for one 2D ticket per month, or $7 per month for two 2D tickets.
Wired reports that, “if you know you’re not going to binge, you can wind up paying way less than you would for MoviePass.” According to the Motion Picture Association of America, “only 12 percent of people in the U.S. and Canada go to a movie at least once a month,” making Sinemia the better deal. It’s also more viable; Sinemia chief executive Rifat Oguz reported that, “his company became sustainable this year, thanks to deliberate pricing, and forging the kind of partnerships in Europe that have so eluded MoviePass stateside.”
Sinemia also shares concession revenue and makes deals with local restaurants. “In Europe we have almost all the movie theaters partner with us, and almost all the studios,” he said. “They partner with us because we actually help them gain more.”
MoviePass pays theater chains full price on its subscribers’ tickets, “and currently accounts for between five and six percent of the U.S. box office,” but has much more difficulty inking partnerships because theater chains believe the service drives down the value of a theater ticket to “practically zero.” Even if MoviePass disappears, say these executives, they’ll have a hard time getting $10 for a single ticket.
Although MoviePass chief executive Mitch Lowe insists on the company’s financial viability, in April, “an independent auditor of MoviePass parent company Helios and Matheson said there was ‘substantial doubt’ MoviePass could operate as ‘a going concern’.” Helios and Matheson subsequently revealed that it had diminished cash reserves of $15.5 million.
“Sinemia’s financial situation is more opaque,” notes Wired, “but Oguz says last year it saw a positive gross margin, and this year it has seen positive earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization, an important indicator of a company’s financial health.”
Oguz plans to replicate his model around the world, but will not institute an unlimited plan, although “Sinemia has one, in Europe … priced at the cost of 3.5 movies per month.” “I’m an engineer,” said Oguz. “I live by the numbers.”