MoviePass reportedly resorted to extreme tactics to prevent users from taking advantage of core features, according to a new report from Business Insider. In particular, the report highlights a strategy the company used to keep users from bankrupting it, by changing account passwords to prevent ticket purchases that might cost it money it didn’t have. The Verge reports: Business Insider’s report looks at how Ted Farnsworth, CEO of MoviePass parent company Helios & Matheson Analytics, and MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe, transformed the company from a little-known subscription service to a nationwide sensation. It also delves deep into the questionable business strategies and tactics the duo used to keep the company afloat, all while it hemorrhaged money by fronting subscribers the full cost of a movie ticket. MoviePass was not immediately available for comment.
Business Insider’s report outlined how the company took on a more adversarial stance toward power users that were costing it too much money. One employee noted, “Before Mitch came on it was, ‘How do we slow down those users?’ With Mitch [Lowe] it was just, ‘F— those guys.'” The company tried other tactics to actively make its service hard to use, like when it limited the ability for users to see high-profile films like Avengers: Infinity War and Mission Impossible: Fallout. Employees say Lowe demanded they change the passwords of “a small percentage of power users” ahead of those releases to prevent them from ordering tickets through the app, telling people that it was a “technical issue.” The company also implemented a “trip wire,” which would cut off users once the company reached a certain monetary threshold each day. Users were told “there are no more screenings at this theater today,” when in reality MoviePass was disabling its services to prevent it from burning through too much cash.