CLEVELAND, Ohio — MoviePass — commonly referred to as the Netflix for movie theaters — can be a wonderful thing, provided the app is working, it isn’t blocking you from certain movies or theaters, and customer service is responsive.
That isn’t always the case, but for members, those annoyances are worth the $9.95 monthly fee ($7.95 a month for new subscribers, paid in full at sign-up) that gives them the opportunity to see a movie every day.
But recent statements by MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe have raised privacy concerns among its two million subscribers.
“We get an enormous amount of information. Since we mail you the card, we know your home address, of course, we know the makeup of that household, the kids, the age groups, the income. It’s all based on where you live. It’s not that we ask that. You can extrapolate that,” Lowe said at the Entertainment Finance Forum, Media Play News reported. “Then because you are being tracked in your GPS by the phone, our patent basically turns on and off our payment system by hooking that card to the device ID on your phone, so we watch how you drive from home to the movies. We watch where you go afterwards, and so we know the movies you watch. We know all about you. We don’t sell that data. What we do is we use that data to market film.”
MoviePass has been up front about data collection as its primary source of revenue. The company, after all, is owned by data firm Helios and Matheson. So, while members probably already knew that when they signed up, they may not have realized the extent to which their whereabouts are being tracked via GPS.
MoviePass requires access to your location when selecting a theater. This is a single request for your location coordinates (longitude, latitude, and radius) and will only be used as a means to develop, improve and personalize the service.
So, while the “single request” doesn’t happen until you check into a theater, MoviePass already knows where you live and when you arrive at the movie, and is able to continue tracking you after the credits roll to see if and where you’re going for dinner, FroYo or straight home afterwards.
The company attempted to calm members’ fears their information is being sold by issuing a statement to media outlets like Engadget.
“At MoviePass our vision is to build a complete night out at the movies. We are exploring utilizing location-based marketing as a way to help enhance the overall experience by creating more opportunities for our subscribers to enjoy all the various elements of a good movie night,” the statement reads. “We will not be selling the data that we gather. Rather, we will use it to better inform how to market potential customer benefits including discounts on transportation, coupons for nearby restaurants, and other similar opportunities. Our larger goal is to deliver a complete moviegoing experience at a price anyone can afford and everyone can enjoy.”
We want to know: do you have MoviePass? Are you concerned about being tracked, or is the service too good of a deal to pass up? Tell us in the comments and vote in the poll, below.