***Update March 5, 2019: Sinemia is now terminating accounts for undisclosed violations of their Terms of Service — including my own! This is despite the fact that I have never misused the service or violated its terms. My theory is that they now have enough data to identify unprofitable subscriptions and are purging us, despite the fact that I pre-paid for an annual plan. As such, Sinemia is no longer a recommend; it is more like a STAY AWAY!
Here’s an article about it: MoviePass competitor Sinemia is terminating accounts, and some subscribers are bewildered and upset
Below is my original article that explained and recommended the service a year ago.***
Promising 1x daily movie tickets for less than $10 per month, MoviePass rapidly grew to 2 million+ members and seemed too-good-to-be-true. Now, it seems that MoviePass’s management is finally acknowledging the reality of their unsustainable business model and cutting corners on this unbelievable deal, making it less expensive to them and less valuable to consumers.
Here is what MoviePass has done to rein in costs:
- A four ticket per month limit for new sign-ups — replacing one per day
(EDIT: This was changed BACK to daily movies on May 2, 2018)
- Quarterly billing as opposed to month-to-month and annual options
(EDIT: Monthly is likely an option again with the May 2, 2018 changes)
- Each movie may only be viewed once
- Photos of ticket stubs must be submitted or the account may be terminated (for some users)
Even if it continues with no additional restrictions, these changes have already made MoviePass a less attractive proposition to existing and new customers alike. It is unlikely that a sub-$10 unlimited deal will ever materialize again, but there’s at least one MoviePass alternative that offers great value, alongside options that may be better suited to your moviegoing habits.
Sinemia — Monthly Movie Tickets (Sinemia.com)
For every Coke there is a Pepsi, and every McDonald’s a Burger King. For MoviePass, there is Sinemia. It may be a distant second in the subscription movie ticket race, but Sinemia uses the same app-and-debit-card combo to provide significant value to its users, albeit with a limit of one, two, or three tickets per month, depending upon your plan.
Sinemia’s Advantages Over MoviePass:
- One premium ticket every 30 days (3D, IMAX, 4D/DBOX, etc.)
- Online ordering through services like Fandango and Atom Tickets
- Advance purchasing (up to 30 days)
- Two-ticket “guest” plan option
- Movies may be viewed repeatedly
Most notably, Sinemia is attractive to moviegoers who prefer premium formats, such as IMAX or 3D, which have never been an option for MoviePass subscribers. Secondly, the ability to purchase tickets in advance and online is a game changer for fans who want to see popular movies on opening weekends. No longer must you be locked out of sold-out showings thanks to MoviePass’s day-of and in-person purchase restriction. Hello, Star Wars and Marvel!
Sinemia’s Disadvantages, Compared to MoviePass:
- More expensive per ticket, generally
- Less tickets per month, even compared to MoviePass’s new limit of four
- Annual billing is the only payment option
Currently, Sinemia’s plans start at a discounted rate of $5.99 per month for one ticket (regular price $12.99), and climb to $15.99 per month for three tickets ($34.99 regularly).
The “Sinemia for Two” option allows subscribers to purchase a bonus ticket to any showing that they are already attending. The price for two tickets to one movie becomes $11.99 ($30.99 regularly), and $31.99 ($54.99 regularly) for three movies. This is a huge perk for couples, parents, and singles who regularly enjoy movie dates.
Like MoviePass, Sinemia is a young business that is still finding its footing. As such, prices and options are subject to change at any time. With this in mind, an annual payment should offer some level of confidence that the package you opt-in to today will remain valid for at least 12-months.
Is Sinemia More Sustainable than MoviePass?
In a world without MoviePass, it is Sinemia that we might label as too-good-to-be-true, and that may yet prove to be the case. In the meantime, Sinemia has always restricted the number of tickets it offers, which puts a hard limit on how much expense any one subscriber, or the collective, can cost them per month. MoviePass, on the other hand, could lose over $500 per month from most of their subscribers … if those subscribers felt like seeing 30 movies.
Buying Time for Partnerships
MoviePass has always been clear that their longterm business strategy is to create partnerships with movie theater chains, studios, and other businesses to create new revenue streams, leveraging the value of their massive subscriber base and data to gain “a seat at the table”. Fortunately and unfortunately, their subscriber-base scaled much more rapidly than anticipated, and MoviePass has scrambled to put life-preserving deals into place while burning through their stockpile of cash at a rate that has called their longterm sustainability into question.
Sinemia may have a smaller user-base, but this means that they have a more manageable burn-rate. In theory, this should allow more time to build revenue-generating and cost-subsidizing partnerships while fine tuning a longterm business plan.
It has significantly less name recognition, but Sinemia benefits from the attention and the demand that MoviePass generates for the subscription movie ticket model. More importantly, Sinemia need pay nothing for this, while MoviePass invests millions of dollars per month for everyone’s benefit.
Is Sinemia Worth it?
Given Sinemia’s unique advantages over MoviePass, it remains a worthwhile consideration for anyone who buys more than one movie ticket per month. Even those who are grandfathered into MoviePass’s unlimited plan may consider adding Sinemia to their routine for the premium tickets, advance ordering, and guest tickets that MoviePass has never allowed.
Learn more or subscribe at Sinemia.com.