/Inside Alamo Drafthouse Season Pass subscription launch: Time League – Business Insider

Inside Alamo Drafthouse Season Pass subscription launch: Time League – Business Insider

  • Alamo Drafthouse Cinema officially launched its movie-ticket-subscription plan, Season Pass, on Wednesday.
  • The price ranges from $14.99 to $29.99 per month, depending on where you live.
  • With the subscription, you can see one movie per day.
  • Alamo Drafthouse founder and CEO, Tim League, and Alamo’s chief technology officer, Michael Trafton, talked exclusively to Business Insider about the successful beta test that served over 50,000 people.
  • League also explained why his one-movie-a-day subscription plan will do better than MoviePass did.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

On Wednesday, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema launched its movie-ticket-subscription plan, Season Pass, to all its 41 locations across the country.

The pricing ranges from $14.99 to $29.99 per month (depending on where you live) and members can see one movie a day. It is the most audacious subscription plan since the fall of MoviePass and Alamo’s CEO and founder, Tim League, certainly gives credit to the now-bankrupt startup as being the North Star in bringing Season Pass to life.

“I credit MoviePass for being innovative in lowering the price point to that $9.99 and understanding in bringing it down it would drive attendance, which would be good for the industry,” League told Business Insider over the phone on Tuesday.

Though he was quick to add: “We took our time to test out all manner of configurations, price points, and what to include and what not to so we could figure out a good deal for our guests that also doesn’t bankrupt the company.”


The announcement comes after Alamo had an extremely popular beta test of the service that took place over a year and serviced over 50,000 people who signed up to the waitlist, according to Alamo’s chief technology officer, Michael Trafton.

“The technology has been rock solid,” Trafton said of the beta test. “We wanted to have our beta test period long enough to figure out pricing and training.”

The result is a subscription plan that encourages its users to go to the movies as often as possible.

Along with the movie per day with the subscription (it’s only monthly, there’s no annual plan option), Season Pass members can reserve seats seven days in advance, order tickets to 3D, 70mm, Dolby Atmos, or The Big Show premium large format screenings for an additional $1.99 surcharge, and can order up to four extra seats.

alamo drafthouse AP

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema.

AP


And if you go to an Alamo out of your market, you get a $10 discount on the ticket price.

“We are different than other subscription programs in we really want this to be a driver for frequency,” League said. “We always want this to be of value to our guests so we want it to be easy for people to use. The more use the better.”

If that cry for unlimited use sounds like what led to the demise of MoviePass, you’re not wrong. But League’s company is set up very differently. The advantage Alamo Drafthouse has is it doesn’t have to pay back theaters back for the tickets its subscribers use (MoviePass was a third-party service, so it had to pay the theaters for tickets). However, like any theater, Alamo has to pay studios a cut of box-office sales (in some cases more than half the ticket price). But League believes his company will offset that with the sale of high-end food and beverages.

“If we do our job well, when people come to see the movies they are also coming to eat and drink,” League said, referring to audiences being able to eat and drink inside all of Alamo’s screening rooms, or enjoy a beverage at the lobby bars. With that added feature, you can understand why League wants Season Pass holders to come as often as they want.

During the beta, Alamo tested prices ranging from $15 to $20 a month for both 2D and 3D movies, and rolled it out to different markets and cities to study the differing behaviors. What was unanimous was when people got their hands on Season Pass they used it. A lot.

According to League and Trafton, one Season Pass member in Yonkers saw 222 movies during the length of the beta test. Another member went and saw “Avengers: Endgame” 13 times. But in these instances and others they also saw something interesting: Season Pass members didn’t travel solo.

“They are coming back and bringing more people with them,” Trafton said, pointing out that Oscar winner “Parasite” was one title that stood out where Season Pass subscribers would come back to see it again and often order another ticket.

Tim League Annie Ray

Alamo Drafthouse founder and CEO, Tim League.

Annie Ray


Alamo prides itself on showing a wide range of titles. In 2019, it showed over 2,000 movies which is significantly more than most other chains. And in the last few months, the popular titles for Season Pass holders ranged from “Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker” and “1917,” to “Uncut Gems” and “Knives out.”

“It’s fantastic to see people choosing films they might not have gone to see, but because it’s free they’ll go,” League said. “It’s our hope as a company to blow people’s minds with our curation.”

Going forward, League said he’s close to opening a Lower Manhattan theater.

“We have projectors installed in all the theaters, there’s carpet, the kitchen equipment is in, all I can tell you is construction in Manhattan is challenging,” he said.

And League is already thinking of ways to advance Season Pass.

“We are going to retool our loyalty program to work in concert with Season Pass,” League said. “We want to make it easier for people to buy Season Pass as a gift. We’re going to keep our ears to the ground in terms of our guest satisfaction.”

Alamo’s Season Pass now joins the three big chains in the country that also have subscription plans. AMC’s A-List lets you see three movies per week for $20 a month. Regal Unlimited ranges from $18 to $23.50 a month to see unlimited standard format movies. And Cinemark Movie Club gets you one ticket a month for $9.

Original Source