MUBI GO: MUBI offers subscribers free weekly cinema ticket
James R | On 07, Sep 2018
MUBI is teaming up with cinemas across the UK to offer its subscribers one free cinema ticket each week.
ScreenDaily, which broke the news, compared the scheme to Moviepass, the US subscription service that initially offered unlimited cinema tickets for a flat monthly fee, but MUBI GO is more similar to the Superticket system trialled by Dogwoof and Signature, which offered free digital copies of a movie when a customer paid to see it in a cinema. MUBI GO will apply to selected films in selected cinemas, with MUBI’s programming team curating each week’s title.
The scheme kicks off today with Vertigo’s The Miseducation of Cameron Post, out in cinemas from 7th September, and will then be followed by Altitude’s The Rider and Modern Films’ Skate Kitchen. Users will be restricted to four tickets per month, with MUBI paying cinemas a discounted rate for any tickets claimed. Tickets can be claimed using the MUBI app in person at th ecinema.
“We are going to invest millions of dollars in these tickets,” MUBI founder Efe Cakarel told ScreenDaily. The plan is for it to boost subscriber numbers in the UK, with a MUBI subscription costing £7.99 a month.
“We think MUBI Go is sustainable. If our calculations are wrong, we will then need to raise more capital to scale it up,” added Cakarel, noting that the service does not plan to up its subscription fee to help cover the costs.
Participating cinemas currently include Vue, the Barbican, ICA, Genesis and Rio Cinema, plus Bristol’s Watershed, Manchester’s HOME, Glasgow’s GFT, Sheffield’s Showroom, Cardiff’s Chapter, Nottingham’s Broadway, Belfast’s QFT, Dundee’s DCA, Lewes’ Depot, Uckfield’s The Picturehouse, Inverness’ Eden Court and Edinburgh’s Filmhouse.
“This is the first large-scale partnership that a streaming service has had with exhibitors,” said Cakarel, noting that the scheme would be focusing on supporting smaller and independent releases.
“Trying to fill seats for small, challenging films is very appealing to exhibitors,” he added. “We’re talking Zama, not The Avengers.”
MUBI requires all venues in a chain to participate in the scheme, which means that some exhibitors are reluctant to join in, where they have prestige venues in London and other city centres that charge higher seat costs. Curzon and MUBI are reportedly still in negotiations over potentially joining the scheme.
Distributors that are supporting the scheme include Dogwoof, Thunderbird, Altitude, Vertigo and eOne.
MUBI, which currently has around 600,000 registered users (not necessarily active subscribers), first became profitable in Q1 2018, with its revenue rising by 45 per cent year-on-year. It confidently forecasts a further 80 per cent growth this year.
This all comes as MUBI is increasingly pushing into the theatrical space to complement its streaming activity. In the last year, MUBI has released The Happiest Day of Olli Maki, On Body and Soul, Felicite and Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda in UK cinemas. Traditionally, the site has then gone on to release it exclusively online through its SVOD platform for 30 days, before offering it to purchase on iTunes. MUBI GO, though, sees the streaming service work with cinemas on a more collaborative basis. Indeed, the company recently snapped up the theatrical rights solely to Amazon Studios’ remake of Suspiria, with MUBI GO expected to support the release on Friday 16th November.
“We’re really committed to theatrical for the films that we buy all rights for – we encourage our current members to go see these films on the big screen,” noted Cakarel. “We’ve seen that once we release films theatrical, our audience get excited and we get much higher engagement on MUBI when it goes online. That’s a key insight.”
“Cinemas are here to stay, we really believe in that experience. At MUBI we are not trying to replace cinema – we want to make films more accessible and convenient. MUBI Go is everything coming full circle,” he continued.