Moviepass and Sinemia Have Every Reason to Merge

There are a lot of rumors going around that Moviepass and Sinemia could merge. I expect this will happen, simply because it makes total sense.

Key reasons it makes sense:

  • Businesses are 100% complementary – with likely very little customer overlap. Competing with each other only hurts both companies. Cooperating and merging can only help the outcomes for both organizations.
  • Moviepass and Sinemia are involved in a patent lawsuit where they have now both agreed to seal the settlement of the suit pending the completion of an arrangement for their international businesses. This likely means that the two companies are working out an international strategy to compliment what would be an obvious synergy in the United States. This would accelerate international expansion for Moviepass. It would quickly give Sinemia A big jump in customers in the United States.
  • Even with the brand damage done to Moviepass They have a significant head start over Sinemia. They also have a much more attractive name. Sinemia sounds like a bad disease.
  • The company’s products are almost identical at this point. It makes a little sense to have two companies offering almost exactly the same thing In a relatively new market poking each other’s eyes out.
  • I expect this to happen within the next 45 days given that was the time allotted to finalize the pending patent lawsuit settlement between the two companies. It makes total sense and in those cases it usually ends up happening.

A Little Perspective On NRG Numbers from Hollywood Reporter

Hollywood Reporter made a dust up this week with a new NRG survey showing that 47% of Moviepass Subscribers are considering leaving the service.

I am going to try and keep this one short. You all know that these surveys have a huge margin of error. You also know that the last survey was done when Moviepass was a Media darling giving away $20’s for $1’s so it should come as no surprise that the numbers were a fall from earlier.

What should come as a surprise is how good the actual numbers in the survey really are. Even with months of horrible press, and wild changes to the core service, wide outages, and well known customer service problems the company seems to have a very solid fan base.

  • 52% of customers are very likely to recommend the service
  • 44% strongly agree that Moviepass is a great deal
  • 48% are “very satisfied” with the service

I have been doing consumer research for more than 2 decades. I can happily report to you that these are actually damn good numbers. Particularly for a company that has been abused by the press and has been spastic in its PR and customer relations.

I will go out on a limb here. These are shockingly good numbers. I honestly think they seem a little too good given the circumstances. I mean seriously, 52% of customers are still VERY LIKELY to recommend the service! Who and where are these people! I mean I am a MP freak supporter – and even I have a hard time getting to Very Likely to Recommend.

If you have any experience in marketing statistics you know that “likelihood to recommend” is the gold standard for product satisfaction, and for creating word of mouth for marketing for your product or service. And the “Very Likely” designation is the top level. Don’t forget that there are multiple levels in the answering of this question. Including somewhat likely, likely, and the not so good, unlikely or very unlikely. So what this means is Moviepass still has a very solid fan base to work with.

Now onto the next piece that grabbed all the headlines here. 47% considering leaving the service. This is where Hollywood Reporter and NRG really went hard after generating a bold headline to drive clicks and interest to the story.

Look carefully at the slight of hand here. In this result in the info graphic from the story Hollywood Reporter included both the “very likely” and the “somewhat likely” groupings together to get to their alarming and headline grabbing 47% number. They did that for a good reason. They wanted to be able to create a headline that could be stretched to “Half of all Moviepass subscribers are considering quitting”

OK – let’s unpack that a bit. First of all, people are always considering things they may or may not do. There are literally thousands of considerations people are making all day long that they take zero action on. They consider getting a divorce, they consider going to the gym, they consider quitting their jobs. They consider thousands of things all day long that they never do. So the fact that a large number of people are “considering” leaving Moviepass has only some mild connection to if they actually will leave Moviepass.

This is no different than your cellphone service, your cable TV provider or others services you have and might loath paying, but there’s enough value there that ever after serious “consideration” you do nothing, and keep the service.

Is it a good number to have half of your base considering leaving. No not really. But with all the changes, and the fear that MP could go out of business, and new competition, it is only natural that the customer base is considering their options.

I can tell you that these numbers are strange, because the likelihood to recommend numbers are quite good, and so their is a lot of noise here in the considering to leave numbers.

The bad press is helping drive the weird numbers, along with a behavioral economics concept called “the endowment effect” and “loss aversion

You can read up on it- but very quickly here. People are irrational when it comes to losses vs gains. So even if Moviepass is still a great deal, people will react more negatively because they feel losses more deeply than they do the gains – or in this case the current new value associated with their Moviepass cards. This phenomenon is still active in consumers minds, and some will quit the service or consider it, even if the value is good for them, because of the associated endowment effect- feeling they have lost what they had. If Moviepass had added features, (god knows what else the could have given away!). Consumers attitudes would change far less. We are weird animals, we hate losing stuff more than we love gaining stuff. It’s true with stocks and investing too!

Well it was not as short as I had hoped here. But I hope this helps people understand the NRG survey a bit more. As usual there was a total pile on to the sexy 50% of Moviepass Users are bailing.

Don’t believe it – it’s not going to happen. With these numbers, Moviepass will be back to growing again in no time.

Ask yourself this question. If 52% of customers are Very Likely to recommend the service to others- do you really think the other half of MP customers are about to quit?

Think Long Term

Today is my parents 59th wedding anniversary. They are beautiful people, who I love with all my heart. They have a marriage that is strong and beautiful. They raised a wonderful family (I am biased) and they have 7 wonderful grandchildren. (Again biased).

Like any marriage, they have had their ups and downs. But not in a dramatic volatile sense. Not at all like Moviepass! or HMNY:-)

If my parents were a stock they would be a lot more like a PACCAR than HMNY.

PACCAR is a wonderful story that evolved from humble origins in a very specific industry and evolved to be a dynamic leader across many different important areas of trucking. And all along the way PACCAR benefited it’s many stakeholders many times over. They consistently outperformed the market for many years.

PACCAR has had 79 years of sequential profit. Along with a very impressive return to shareholders.

In a metaphorical sense, that sounds a lot like my parents. They started with nothing more than a love for each other, and an idea of a great future together. The next 59 years were full of hard work, evolving, and delivering great results. My parents are a living example of an organization worth investing in. They have outperformed most, and evolved well over the years.

My father, now retired,was a CPA who understood businesses, mathematics, the importance of thinking long term, and betting on the power of compounding.

He taught me the power of investing long term and the wonders of compounding interest at a very young age.

He was wise enough to invest early in Costco, Microsoft and a few other great companies over the years. Well before these companies had become household names. He saw small investments turn into substantial positions, and he has been eager to share the power of those experiences with his family, friends and clients.

My mother was a homemaker, in the most traditional sense. She was massively dedicated to the success of our organization – our family. And she would stop at nothing to ensure we all had a bright future. She was the best CEO you could ever hire. And her employees- us kids! Loved her and still do in retirement.

My parents have taught me that thinking and acting long term delivers superior and very satisfying results. It takes time to build something big, strong and meaningful. It takes work, sacrifice, and some flexibility to get there. And the journey truly is the joy of the experience that makes the investment worthwhile.

Will HMNY turn out beautiful like my parents marriage. I don’t known. So many end up in divorce these days!

What I do know. It takes years to develop something big, beautiful, strong and unique. Adjustments and flexibility keep the mission alive. Giving up is usually worse than sticking it out. Time can deliver incredible results.

Maybe Moviepass and HMNY can take a lesson from my folks!

Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!

No News is the News on HMNY & Moviepass

We have started another week off with no real news from Mitch and Ted. And that itself seems to be the news.

Sure there has been a small dust up from the annual pass hog slaughter of last week. And Business Insider – or should I say – clickbait Insider- did a stupid story on the inane details of how the transition took place. The story is a total joke. The best part is they have 2 users who complained! Wow! That’s actually hilarious. And wait for it- these users are sure that they typed in their credentials correctly. Ha ha ha!

I actually worked customer service and tech support lines for about 2 years when I first got started at Microsoft. The one thing I can tell you with 100% certainty – users don’t remember their logins and passwords – even when they say they do, and they swear it on nanna’s grave, hey actually don’t remember.

They aren’t lying necessarily- it’s just that they forget and they confuse them with other accounts. Some get real bitchy about it. I could be staring right at a screen that has the correct information for an account. A customer would be going nuts telling me it was wrong or something else. I would be like, “really- do you think we have people here who are purposely going in and changing your username and password just to fuck with you?” If you have ever worked in a job where you help people with credentials you know exactly what I am talking about. Enuf said.

Moviepass has made some big mistakes in the customer service arena no doubt. But let’s be clear, the clickbait press has gone on a total witch hunt to try and dig up any story they can to get some of the good Moviepass traffic to their site.

Imagine if Business Insider wrote a story every time a couple of people complained about their airline experience. It would be an infinite number of stories every single week. Or better, imagine they wrote a story every time a customer sent a tweet out on how they were upset about their cable company. It would never end! I mean seriously it has gotten ridiculous.

We are talking about something that costs friggin $9.99 a month here people! It costs less then going to most fast food lunches. It’s like 3 cups of decent coffee A Month!!!

This is where I am going to start sounding a little harsh, almost Hilary Clinton “deplorables” like harsh. Luckily I am not running for office here.

There is a percentage of consumers who are basically total idiots. They always want something for nothing, they think they are more important than anyone else, they are rude, and likely a bit mentally unstable.

Here’s a fun thing to think about. There are more people in prison or on parole – by a far margin- in this country than people who subscribe to Moviepass. According to the US Bureau of Justice Statistics 6,899,000 adults were under correctional supervision (probation, parole, jail, or prison) in 2013 – about 2.8% of adults (1 in 35) in the U.S. resident population. So yeh- these people are also consumers. And a big number of them are shall we say… not exactly reputable.

So if you think about a sample size like Moviepass has – with 3 Million or so customers. It’s a good enough sample size to have a good representation of the US population. So if you say 2.8% of the MP population is total whack jobs, criminals, or mental patients. You end up with at least 84,000 people who are … HRC branded deplorables.

Consumers do weird and stupid shit all the time. My favorite (True Story) is the woman who called 911 – 3 times! – because she could not get her chicken McNuggets at her local McDonald’s. Sorry- but there are just a lot of total idiots out there. My readers know that!

So for Business Insider or any other nitwit click bait online site – a couple people complaining via twitter might be enough to write a story. But you as a reader, should again take the story with a gigantic grain of salt. BI is baiting you, they want a click, and they don’t care if the story is real, if it makes any sense, or if it has any real newsworthy content at all. They simply want page views so they can make money. It’s really that simple.

Now the problem for BI and others who have enjoyed the hysteria of Moviepass traffic is that the company is becoming less and less interesting. They can only squeeze so much blood from this turnip, and now the management is not even playing along. They have basically gone dark.

The biggest news is the lack of news. No more crazy bridge loans to survive another weekend. No more big changes left for the service. No more fighting words with the theaters. It’s just plain boring.

That my friends is when things usually start to get interesting with a stock. We can all feel the quiet. We know something is up. But what?

Could it be a theater deal? Maybe some debt financing? Maybe a B/E month? Maybe a surprisingly sticky number of subs?

Or could it be an R/S again? Another short term loan with shark terms? Maybe a horrible sub drop?

I am the Moviepass optimist. I think something good is cooking in the kitchen. I think Mitch and Ted have a surprise to deliver. I think they want redemption in a big way.

The stock action – if you can call it that. Says something is going to happen – and nobody knows what!

Moviepass Competitor Sinemia Forcing Fees On Customers – Could Be the Result of Lawsuit

There are a lot of angry comments on Reddit fuming over Sinemia’s newly enforced policy of forcing ticket fees from Fandango, Atom or other booking services for all tickets. Apparently Sinemia customers can’t buy Box Office tickets.

The fees range from $1.00 to $3.50. Sinemia also requires a year long commitment at sign up. Apparently it was not super clear to people signing up that there were extra fees required with every purchase, and now new customers are taking to the online bitch boards to share their disgust. Familiar ground for Moviepass here!

Interestingly this development may well have happened because of the settlement of the Patent infringement case Moviepass. As I have written about previously the Moviepass patents have value and are quite broad. But the patents have been given basically zero value in the valuation of Moviepass stock.

Moviepass Research blog has an in depth look at the timeline of the Moviepass patent lawsuit against Sinemia, the resulting changes in Sinemia’s business practices, including Sinemia’s elimination of its MasterCard purchase option. This option was in direct violation of Moviepass’s patent for location based debit card load and purchase.

This is an important development for Moviepass. As it demonstrates the early market power and technology lead Moviepass has over competitors.

Now is looks like Sinemia is not a very attractive alternative to Moviepass at all. Moviepass value is superior, and there are no add on fees. AMC is still the best value for the 15% of people who want to see now than 3 movies in a month. However, AMC ONLY has 23% of the screens in the US. And in some markets, like the one I love in, the AMC theater is a truly terrible experience. Old, smelly, bad seats, terrible screens.

And so it seems that Moviepass is making progress. They have killed most of their hogs, they have the only nation wide program that covers 93% of the screens in the US. They seem to be nearing sustainability, and it appears that even while customers complain, they realize it is the best deal going for most of the theater going audience.