MoviePass rival Sinemia says business is booming as the movie-ticket subscription wars heat up

At this moment in the movie-ticket subscription wars, Sinemia is in an enviable position.

The company was recently praised by the National Research Group as having the most popular subscription plan for moviegoers with its $7.99 a month for two movies deal, and with MoviePass changing its plan to three movies per month for $9.95 after falling on hard times financially, Sinemia stands alone as the only service that offers an option where you can see one movie per day at any major movie theater in the country.

After creating the first version of the app six years ago, founder and CEO Rifat Oguz has launched Sinemia in numerous countries — including Canada, Australia, Turkey, and the UK — before landing in its ultimate location, the US, in 2017. He’s now even made Los Angeles the site for the company’s main headquarters.

And it turns out he showed up at the right time. Oguz said subscriptions have grown 50% month-over-month for the last 14 months, and that growth has doubled since MoviePass dropped its one-movie-per-day plan (Oguz would not divulge how many subscribers Sinemia has in the US or globally, only stating that 75% of its subscribers are in the US).

He admits his investors are singing a different tune now compared to over a year ago, when MoviePass announced its one-movie-per-day plan for $9.95 a month and seemed to instantly gain millions of subscribers.

“All my investors called me and asked if I was going to do the same,” Oguz told Business Insider. “I looked at the data from the other countries and decided we can’t.”

Instead of grabbing headlines and the ire of the movie business like MoviePass did, Sinemia kept a low profile, focused on its product (which is similar to MoviePass in that it provides its members debit cards with fixed amounts on it so the tickets can be bought, however, there is also a cardless option), and crunched the data to come up with numerous plans that cater to all types of moviegoers.

Currently, you can choose from a range of subscriptions, from one movie per month for $4.99 to three movies per month for $9.99 ($17.99 and $12.99, respectively, if you want the plan to include going to 3D or IMAX screenings). And unlike MoviePass, with Sinemia you can buy any ticket in advance for an additional convenience fee, and there’s a family plan.

In August, when MoviePass could no longer sustain its one-movie-per-day plan, Sinemia introduced that an option as well, offering a $29.99-per-month plan for one movie a day.

“We’re going in the path of Netflix and Spotify,” Oguz said. “We are more focused on our product and technology.”

Oguz believes that, with that focus, he’ll soon have the Sinemia brand used by its members for more than just movie tickets.

75% of Sinemia’s subscribers are in the US.
Shutterstock

One part of that goal is implementing concession deals in the US that are currently active in the Sinemia app in Europe, like allowing members to buy popcorn through the app while in the theater. Then, there are the more ambitious ideas, like making deals with restaurants and stores so the Sinemia card could be used to shop and dine anywhere.

“We need to create an ecosystem,” Oguz said. “Movie ticket subscription is here to stay, it will become a major part of the box office, but we want to make the Sinemia card available for every need a moviegoer has.”

Oguz didn’t mention a timeline for the the rollout of these ideas in the US, but, unlike his competition, he doesn’t have to scramble to keep the lights on — he has the luxury of focusing on the long game.

“We didn’t grow like MoviePass, with millions of subscriptions in months, but we’re proud that over the last two months we are doubling our subscribers,” Oguz said. “We are happy and our investors are happy.”

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