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March 6, 2018

MoviePass may not cost much, but your privacy is part of the price

by John_A

MoviePass has seen ups and downs as of late. The company’s decision to drop its subscription price to $10 a month last year did very well for the company, bringing in new subscribers and revenue to boot, but the company was recently pelted by customers for blocking access to the Jennifer Lawrence spy-thriller Red Sparrow. That seems like a drop in the bucket compared to the company’s latest misstep in which MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe boasted that the company tracks users’ locations before and after the movie showings they attend, Media Play News reports.

Lowe was speaking at a Hollywood event in a keynote titled, “Data is the New Oil: How Will MoviePass Monetize It?” when he began to talk about just how much data MoviePass has on its customers. “We watch how you drive from home to the movies,” Lowe said. “We watch where you go afterwards.”

The CEO says that the company is doing this to help its service provide a full night out the movies. Presumably, data about where customers are coming from or going to after the movies could be used to help offer dinner recommendations or provide customers with ideas for where they might want to go when a film is over. Still, customers haven’t been explicitly told that the company is tracking what they’re doing at that level and may not be thrilled to find out.

Then there is the question of what else the company may be doing with that data. When MoviePass launched, the service cost $50 per month. With the price being as low as it is now, that means the company is likely making its money some other way and providing other parties with data collected on its customers could be part of that. Even if this information is anonymized before its handed to other companies, customers likely won’t be happy.

So far, outside of Lowe’s talk, MoviePass has yet to spill the beans on what exactly it is doing with this data, as it’s likely that nobody at the company expected Lowes’ words to make it outside the room of Hollywood executives he was speaking to. Now that the words are out, the company is likely going to have to address the matter.

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