moviepass

It’s not as good, but it’s still pretty good — that’s essentially the message being sent by MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe as he makes the rounds to try to put an end to a runaway train of negative publicity careening into his brand.

After weeks of disastrous press and growing consumer discontent, MoviePass is working diligently to dig out of a deepening public relations hole. So far, those efforts are having mixed results. But fundamental economics have forced MoviePass into this situation. The company’s “movie-a-day” program was destroying the company’s cash flow. And, as a result, MoviePass had to stop honoring that offer.

Unfortunately, the company did not communicate these changes effectively with its customer base. That poor communication took a bad situation and made it much, much worse. As the company took a constant barrage of abuse on social media, MoviePass decision makers huddled up, looking for a solution. They came up with what Lowe is calling “the right business model.”

The new offer, three movies each month for ten bucks, is a far cry from a movie every day, but it’s still a very good deal for frequent moviegoers. And that’s the core of the new MoviePass pitch. Speaking to CNN, Lowe said the company grew too fast, while it was still trying to find its feet, and a working business model:

“It is really tough to launch a business that shoots up like a rocket ship, but hasn’t completely got the business model right… We now have the right model.”

That statement may be true, but jilted fans are going to want more. After all, this is not the first time MoviePass has tried to come up with a new offer that would help them manage the 15 percent of their customer base they say is “stressing the system.”

Of course, the customers who signed up for MoviePass aren’t interested in “why” the company is changing their deal as much as they are interested in knowing what the new – and presumably long-term – deal is. At that point, consumers can determine if the deal it worth is or not. At this point, they are left with more questions and worries than answers, and that’s a very precarious PR position.

If they want to make it through this ongoing PR problem, the decision-makers at MoviePass need to come up with a plan that is palatable to their customers and stick with it. People may not like the change, but at least they can respect it, if the company follows through on its new promises.

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Ronn Torossian is the Founder, President and CEO of New York-based 5W Public Relations. He has overseen the company's rapid growth and expansion to the Inc. 500 list, as well as provided counsel to hundreds of companies, including members of the Fortune 500, Inc. 500 and Forbes 400. His work spans global interests, corporate entities, high-profile individuals, regional business entities, government agencies and academic institutions - both on routine public relations matters and extremely sensitive issues. One of the foremost public relations experts in the U.S., Torossian is known for his aggressive, results-focused orientation, as well as his close working relationships with members of the media, influencers, decision makers, politicians and celebrities. At 5W Public Relations, Torossian's client experience has included programs for Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Anheuser-Busch, Barnes & Noble, Cantor Fitzgerald, IHOP, McDonald's, Evian, EDS, VeriSign, XM Radio, Seagram's, The Loews Regency, Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment, Marriott Hotels, Vail Resorts, Pamela Anderson, Snoop Dogg, the Government of Israel, and others. Referred to by The New York Post as a "publicity guru," by Fox News as a "high-powered PR CEO," by Tyra Banks as a "crisis management guru," and by CNN as "a leading PR expert," Torossian is regularly featured in and quoted by the media, including by CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, NBC, The New York Times, and others. CBS National News said "Ronn Torossian knows spin," and a New York Times feature story on Torossian referred to him as "The consummate hard-driving, scrappy NY publicist." Earlier in his career, Torossian was a Vice President/Group Director for one of The InterPublic Group's (IPG) largest PR agencies, where he was responsible for significant client growth and successful client programs, including work for Clinique, Fox News Channel, DHL, Hard Rock Café and others. A resident of Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Torossian was named to the Advertising Age "40 Under 40" list, PR Week's "40 Under 40" List, is a regular lecturer at universities and conferences, a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and a board member of numerous non-profit organizations.

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