It might surprise you to learn that MoviePass has been offering unlimited movie tickets as a monthly subscription for over five years now. But the name only really rocketed into the public consciousness last summer, right after the price per month dropped below $10. MoviePass struggled to keep up with the wave of new interest, and its continued, rapid growth caught the attention of many. Enter cPass, a new service hoping to fill a MoviePass-shaped hole in Europe. Only it doesn’t want to limit itself to movies. Co-founder brothers Puya and Pedram Vahabi hope cPass will become an all-you-can-eat subscription for all kinds of entertainment.
As it stands, cPass is a MoviePass-inspired clone with only a limited number of beta accounts currently live in London. It operates in much the same way: subscribers reserve tickets for same-day showings through an app, turn up at the theater and use their cPass to pay for the seat. A monthly fee of £9.95 (around $14) entitles you to one standard ticket per day, which is to say 3D, IMAX and other premium types of screenings are off-limits. The cPass is tantamount to a debit card, with the movie theater itself collecting the full purchase price for each ticket.
The Vahabi brothers have worked on several startups over the past 12 years. Some gained traction, others didn’t. Currently, Pedra is a UX designer at Amazon and startup mentor at Google Launchpad. Puya is a research scientist at Pandora and lecturer for UC Berkley’s School of Information.
Puya doesn’t deny MoviePass has influenced their latest side gig. “Just one of the factors we consider when we choose the next project to work on is if someone else is showing there’s need,” he told me.
There is a key difference between the services, however, in that cPass has no formal agreements with any of the UK’s cinema chains. The company does have a partner that acts as the middleman, turning taps in the app into ticket reservations. The cPass network, then, includes any theater in London that has a basic online presence and accepts card payments. In the short-term, the plan is to avoid any structured agreements.
MoviePass has had its fair share of growing pains, but so far there hasn’t been any industry pushback to cPass. The UK Cinema Association (UKCA), which represents theater operators, has expressed skepticism about the service. “cPass …read more