The movie ticket service Sinemia never acquired the cultural cachet — or infamy — of MoviePass. Indeed, in the last year, the company offered itself as a less buggy (but still buggy) alternative to its flailing competitor. But now it seems it will never have the chance to become bigger, or worse, than MoviePass. As per IndieWire, Sinemia is closing its doors, “effective immediately.”
The news was broke on a note found on the company’s website. “While we are proud to have created a best in market service,” the statement read, “our efforts to cover the cost of unexpected legal proceedings and raise the funds required to continue operations have not been sufficient.”
One factor that led to Sinemia’s downfall: theater chains starting their own MoviePass-like subscriptions. “[W]e didn’t see a path to sustainability as an independent movie ticket subscription service in the face of competition from movie theaters as they build their own subscriptions. Thanks to the cost advantage and cross-sell opportunities, movie theaters will be prominent in the movie ticket subscription economy.”
Sinemia was formed in 2014, three years after MoviePass. Like MoviePass, they offered a monthly fee for tickets acquired via an app. Unlike MoviePass, members could purchase tickets in advance. There had been many complaints, ranging from charges that it didn’t work to customers saying their membership had been suddenly and inexplicably canceled.
What of the legal issues the statement alluded to? They weren’t specified, but it may have something to do with a class-action lawsuit filed against them last November, claiming the company partook in a “bait and switch” scheme. “[Sinemia] lures consumers in by convincing them to purchase a purportedly cheaper movie subscription, and then adds undisclosed fees that make such purchases no bargain at all,” as per the lawsuit. “Sinemia fleeces consumers with an undisclosed, unexpected, and not-bargained-for processing fee each time a plan subscriber goes to the movies using Sinemia’s service.”
Meanwhile, MoviePass still exists and is even threatening a return to the “unlimited” halcyon days.