Published: Wed, March 14, 2018
Industry | By Terrell Bush

MoviePass CEO sorry for boasting about tracking your location

MoviePass CEO sorry for boasting about tracking your location

We know all about you. He bragged that his app gathered ridiculous amounts of data from customers and revealed to the crowd, "We get an enormous amount of information, We watch how you drive from home to the movies".

As for users who made a decision to unsubscribe to the now $7.95 / month movie every day (with certain restrictions) fee, Lowe said there were around "half a dozen" customers who did that because they were unhappy with his (mistaken?) revelations. "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".

Now Lowe is saying that he was mistaken about the data that the app actually collects. "That's all we do, that's all we've ever done". The site's FAQ section includes a question that asks "could you eventually sell my personal data to a third party in the future?" "Rather, we will use it to better inform how to market potential customer benefits including discounts on transportation, coupons for nearby restaurants, and other similar opportunities". There are only two events that would prompt MoviePass to identify a member's location.

For obvious reasons, many took offense to the disclosure and rightly so.

This understandably led to many users fearing MoviePass was tracking their every move.

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After Lowe's comments during the panel discussion were made public, MoviePass issued a statement to this news organization echoing Lowe's point. He dismissed it as "not a huge number" and they are still expecting to reach 5 million subscribers by the end of the year.

Despite the apparently minor impact on the company, Lowe seemed to be in damage control mode on Monday rolling back what he had said in an interview with Variety. "Through a mix of exuberance about our future and joking around, I mischaracterized how MoviePass locates our members", he wrote in the letter. His initial statement caused a furor among some users who felt that it wasn't clear in the app's privacy policy that they will be doing so.

Last week, MoviePass released a cryptic update for its iOS app that "removed unused location capabilities".

Last week we reported that MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe had been bragging about the app's location tracking feature, and now he is completely backtracking on his earlier comment. "I would like to eliminate any misconceptions that we're collecting location related data", Lowe writes in an open letter.

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