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.”

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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 and CEO of 5W Public Relations, one of the largest independently-owned PR firms in the United States. With over 20 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America's most prolific and well-respected Public Relations professionals. Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company's growth, overseeing more than 175 professionals in the company's headquarters in midtown Manhattan. With clients spanning corporate, technology, consumer and crisis, in addition to digital marketing and public affairs capabilities, 5WPR is regularly recognized as an industry leader and has been named "PR Agency of the Year" by the American Business Awards on multiple occasions. Throughout his career, Torossian has worked with some of the world's most visible companies, brands and organizations. His strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, Metropolitan Magazine's Most Influential New Yorker, and a 2020 Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider. Torossian is known as one of the country's foremost experts on crisis communications, and is called on to counsel blue chip companies, top business executives and entrepreneurs both in the United States and worldwide. Torossian has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly on CNN & CNBC, was named to PR Week's "40 under Forty" list, is a contributing columnist for Forbes and the New York Observer, and his book, "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations" is an industry best-seller. A NYC native, Torossian lives in Manhattan with his children. He is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and active in numerous charities.