ibusinesslines.com March 24, 2018

MoviePass has pulled 'unused app location' features from its iOS app

09 March 2018, 01:36 | Justin Tyler

What the Tech? MoviePass tracking

MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe spoke at the Entertainment Finance Expo last week where he discussed the company's user data collection practices. The talk raised some red flags

So, MoviePass users, are you satisfied?

In the change log for the update, MoviePass says that it has "removed the unused app location capability" entirely.

During a forum called "Data is the New Oil: How Will MoviePass Monetize It?", Lowe reportedly said: "We get an enormous amount of information... you are being tracked in your Global Positioning System by the phone". We watch how you drive from home to the movies.

The company quickly backtracked after tech journalists and Twitter users raised alarm about his comments.

"We are exploring utilizing location-based marketing as a way to help enhance the overall [moviegoing] experience", the company said.

As smartphones have made their way into the pockets of more and more consumers, so too have Global Positioning System capabilities that are able to transmit location information to advertisers.

Launched in 2011 Movie Pass is referred to as the'Netflix for movie theaters and has been gaining traction. For $10 a month users can watch one movie a day at theaters in the U.S

There's been plenty of backlash about MoviePass overstepping the mark, including in a segment on the latest "Smashing Security" podcast, so I'm pleased to see that the company appears to have updated its app in response to the wave of negative feedback.

Of course, we shouldn't take this update to mean that MoviePass is moving away from its data collection ideas completely.

The company is still planning to use location tracking for some more essential elements of the app, such as showing users the theatres in their current location and still has designs on future implementation of location-based features.

There's skepticism about whether MoviePass' model is sustainable, and the startup has encountered resistance from exhibitors including AMC Theatres.

Moviepass is a "subscription-based movie ticketing service". Then in February, it introduced a plan that works out to $7.95 per month (for customers who pay $115.35 for one year, which includes a $19.95 processing fee). MoviePass may one day "build a night at the movies", Lowe had said, perhaps meaning something like a recommended place to eat before or after the film.

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