MoviePass CEO backtracks on location tracking statements

MoviePass iPhone Location Tracking

MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe has issued an open letter apologizing for the comments he made about tracking customers' locations earlier this month. We watch where you go afterwards, and so we know the movies you watch.

As for users who chose to unsubscribe to the now $7.95 / month movie every day (with certain restrictions) fee, Lowe said there were around "half a dozen" customers who did that because they were unhappy with his (mistaken?) revelations. This feature did exist within the app, but Lowe said MoviePass removed it in the latest update and that the company never used this feature despite developing it in the first place.

After being independent for six years but struggling to increase its number of subscribers, MoviePass sold to Helios and Matheson Analytics, a data analytics company. Once they go out of the app, we don't know where they are.

"Through a mix of exuberance about our future and joking around, I mischaracterized how MoviePass locates our members and I need to fix that", Lowe said Monday. If, in the future, MoviePassdesires to expand how it uses data, we will amend our Privacy Policy and notify our members so that they will be afforded the opportunity to opt- in or opt- out of the MoviePass service. "If you get in your auto and drive five miles, we don't know where you are or where you are going". "What we do is we use that data to market film". Previously, the app gave users Apple's three standard privacy options: never track; track when using the app; and always track. Lowe said MoviePass would only identify a member's location which happens when a user requests a search for nearby theaters or when a member requests to check in at a theater.

According to Lowe, about "half a dozen" customers said they canceled their service over the privacy concerns. The company has more than 2 million subscribers, and Lowe said he expected to hit 5 million subscribers and account for almost 20 percent of all USA box office ticket purchases by the end of the year. The end goal is to provide "this whole night at the movies" experience.

With a monthly plan as low as $7.95 that allows subscribers to see one movie in a partner theater per day, experts and subscribers have raised questions about whether MoviePass can be sustainable in the long run. What do you think of Lowe's remarks?

"When we do that, if we do that, we'll send a request to each customer to let them opt in or opt out", the CEO said.

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