MoviePass has tapped Natasha Mulla as the company’s first chief marketing officer. She is being tasked with helping the subscription service expand its footprint at a time of rapid growth for the company. MoviePass’s membership rolls swelled after it cut its prices over the summer from nearly $50 to $9.95 per month. The service allows customers to see a movie-a-day in theaters.
It’s a risky business model, because tickets in major markets such as New York City or Los Angeles routinely top $10. MoviePass pays theaters full price for the tickets its users purchase, so it is hoping that Mulla will be able to build up its customer base in cities such as Nashville and Dallas, where tickets are cheaper.
“It’s been fairly easy to get people to subscribe in high-cost markets,” MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe told Variety. “By hiring Natasha, we’re hopefully going to be finding those people who are in other parts of the country and who can offset the high cost of these other subscribers.”
Lowe said he met Mulla in November at a conference for digital marketers in North Carolina and was impressed by her presentation to attendees. Mulla previously served as senior vice president of marketing at Mashable, a media and entertainment company.
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MoviePass’ subscriber base has topped 1.5 million users. In 2016, before it announced the new pricing plan, it had 20,000 subscribers. Lowe originally said the company was prepared to lose money on a per-transaction basis, if it could build enough market share. The data on the customers that MoviePass collects, he reasons, will be valuable to studios or exhibitors, who will work to make MoviePass whole.
Lowe also said trends show that MoviePass users tend to use the service less as time goes on, which will help contain costs.
“Every single month, we’re seeing people watch fewer and fewer movies,” Lowe said.
In her previous role at Mashable, Mulla oversaw the development of the internet company’s brand and image. Prior to Mashable, Mulla was director of events for Haymarket Media, a publishing company, producing both online and in-person award shows and conferences.
MoviePass has primarily grown its base from the media coverage of its new pricing plan. The service will continue advertising on social media and recently announced a promotional partnership with iHeartMedia that will see MoviePass touted over the company’s radio, digital, social, and live-event platforms.
“Right now people are talking about this service,” Lowe said. “It will be interesting to see what new ideas Natasha comes up with in terms of promotion.”