Earlier today, Sinemia announced via a statement on its website that the their third-party subscription service in the U.S. would be coming to an end, “effective immediately.”
Originally launched in 2014, Sinemia offered subscription services in Australia and several European markets before expanding to North America in 2018. Like its rival MoviePass, Sinemia offered a third-party subscription service to moviegoers, allowing them to buy tickets—a variable number, depending on the individual users’ plan—to different cinema chains. Sinemia’s real competition proved to be not the much-beleaguered MoviePass, however, but chain-specific subscription services like AMC A-List and Cinemark Movie Club, both of which have seen substantial growth over the last year. As put in Sinemia’s statement:
“[W]e didn’t see a path to sustainability as an independent movie ticket subscription service in the face of competition from movie theaters as they build their own subscriptions. Thanks to the cost advantage and cross-sell opportunities, movie theaters will be prominent in the movie ticket subscription economy.”
Sinemia also cites “unexpected legal proceedings” as one reason for the closure, a possible reference to the class-action lawsuit brought against the company alleging that fees turned the service into a “bait-and-switch scheme.” Ultimately, writes Sinemia, “The competition in the U.S. market and the core economics of what it costs to deliver Sinemia’s end-to-end experience ultimately lead us to the decision of discontinuing our US operations.”
The state of Sinemia’s other offerings has not yet been clarified. Beginning in 2018, Sinemia launched Sinemia Enterprise, a B2B business solution by which the company builds subscription programs for exhibition chains. In an interview conducted in February of this year, a Sinemia spokesperson noted that Sinemia Enterprise had at that time partnered with more than ten chains worldwide. There’s some competition in that arena, as well, as ticketing platform Atom Tickets announced a similar service last month. If Sinemia were jettisoning its third-party subscription service to focus on Sinemia Enterprise, it would be in line with a statement made by founder and CEO Rifat Oguz at the 2018 Geneva Convention: “We think that Sinemia is a fintech company rather than a movie ticketing company.”
The status of Sinemia Enterprise is not clear following today’s announcement, nor is its stance on direct ticketing, another area the company had moved into in recent months. No information has been provided as to whether Sinemia’s international subscription programs—available in Canada, the UK, Turkey, and England—will remain operational. Boxoffice has reached out to Sinemia for comment and will update this piece with any additional information.