MoviePass says it won't sell location data on users

The all-you-can-eat movie subscription service says it’s exploring using location info to help people plan a complete movie night.

Richard Nieva Former senior reporter
Richard Nieva was a senior reporter for CNET News, focusing on Google and Yahoo. He previously worked for PandoDaily and Fortune Magazine, and his writing has appeared in The New York Times, on CNNMoney.com and on CJR.org.
Richard Nieva
2 min read
Crowd watching movie in theatre, rear view

MoviePass says it will try to help subscribers plan a complete night out -- before and after the movie. 

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MoviePass is the $9.95 a month subscription service that lets you watch a movie per day in movie theaters. There are some restrictions, like no 3D movies, and only at theaters that participate.

Among cinephiles, the service has been a darling. But there may be a catch: CEO Mitch Lowe reportedly seemed to brag about MoviePass' ability to track its users.

"We get an enormous amount of information," Lowe said, according to the website Media Play News. "We watch how you drive from home to the movies. We watch where you go afterwards."

It's no surprise that MoviePass can see where you are. The service works by having users check in to a movie when they arrive at the theater, then it loads the price of a ticket onto a debit card you use to pay. But Lowe's comments seemed to touch off a wave of concern from press and subscribers who thought MoviePass might be overstepping its bounds.

In a statement, the company said it's "exploring" using location-based marketing. The idea is to help people plan an entire night out -- including the parts before and after the movie.

The company also said it won't sell the data. Instead, MoviePass said it will use the information to market other stuff to users, like transportation discounts or restaurant coupons.

"At MoviePass our vision is to build a complete night out at the movies," a MoviePass spokesman said. "We are exploring utilizing location-based marketing as a way to help enhance the overall experience by creating more opportunities for our subscribers to enjoy all the various elements of a good movie night. We will not be selling the data that we gather." 

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