As far as competitors go to the “all you can watch movie subscription” service pioneered by MoviePass, it was always difficult to look at Sinemia without a little bit of skepticism. The service’s entire marketing image was consistently built around the idea of being “MoviePass, but a better value,” but if MoviePass was unable to make the format work while having 3 million subscribers—they now have only 10 percent of that former number—then what hope did Sinemia have, operating on much smaller margins?
With that said, we’re not terribly surprised to see the following announcement: Sinemia has announced its service will close in the U.S. immediately, given that its “efforts to cover the cost of unexpected legal proceedings and raise funds required to continue operations have not been sufficient.”
Here’s the entire Sinemia statement:
Today, with a heavy heart, we’re announcing that Sinemia is closing its doors and ending operations in the US effective immediately. At Sinemia, we set out on our journey with the vision to help as many moviegoers as possible enjoy an affordable and better experience at the movies by creating a movie ticket subscription service that adds value for both the moviegoers and the movie industry. Since 2014, we’ve been fine-tuning our model and serving movie-goers with a slate of affordable and flexible subscription plans.
We are all witnessing that the future of moviegoing is evolving through movie ticket subscriptions. However, we didn’t see a path to sustainability as an independent movie ticket subscription service in the face of competition from movie theaters as they build their own subscriptions. Thanks to the cost advantage and cross-sell opportunities, movie theaters will be prominent in the movie ticket subscription economy. While we are proud to have created a best in market service, our efforts to cover the cost of unexpected legal proceedings and raise the funds required to continue operations have not been sufficient. The competition in the US market and the core economics of what it costs to deliver Sinemia’s end-to-end experience ultimately lead us to the decision of discontinuing our US operations.
Despite the best efforts of our team, it has been difficult for us as a start-up to continue providing our services to the moviegoers in the US without resources and enough capital to meet increased operations and legal costs. We want to sincerely thank our customers that believed in us and helped us along the way for their love and support. We are so grateful to have had the opportunity to share our dream with you.
The “unexpected legal proceedings” referred to above presumably is an acknowledgement of the class-action lawsuit that was filed against Sinemia last November by angry customers, who contended that the service was falsely advertising the true cost of its subscription plans. According to that lawsuit: “Sinemia lures consumers in by convincing them to purchase a purportedly cheaper movie subscription, and then adds undisclosed fees that make such purchases no bargain at all. Sinemia fleeces consumers with an undisclosed, unexpected, and not-bargained-for processing fee each time a plan subscriber goes to the movies using Sinemia’s service.”
Of course, we now can’t help but wonder if MoviePass will finally follow its competitor into the grave. Or will the demise of Sinemia actually inject a little bit more life into the original movie subscription service?