MoviePass is continuing to staff up as the subscription ticketing service expands at a rapid pace.
Mike Berkley, a former product leader at Spotify, Viacom and Comcast, is the company’s latest addition. He has been named chief product officer and will be tasked with improving the credit card-like service’s operations. MoviePass allows customers to see a movie-a-day for a monthly fee of just under $10. Customers use a debit card to buy the tickets and MoviePass subsidizes their purchases, paying movie theaters in full.
In an interview with Variety, MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe said Berkley’s hire is part of an ongoing effort to improve his customers’ experience. He noted that MoviePass has often had to improvise as its growth has accelerated. Since the company slashed its prices from just under $50 to $9.95 the service has attracted more than 2 million subscribers. It had roughly 20,000 subscribers prior to introducing the new pricing model.
“What I’m looking for Mike to do is to learn more about what customers want and build a stronger product,” Lowe said. “We have an opportunity to build something meaningful.”
Berkley isn’t the only new addition to MoviePass’s 50-person team. In November, MoviePass tapped Bernadette McCabe to head up its outreach to exhibitors, and in January it hired Natasha Mulla as the company’s first chief marketing officer.
MoviePass faces a number of critics. Some theater owners privately suggest that the company’s business model is unsustainable. It subsidizes moviegoing at a substantial loss, they argue, and eventually the bill will come due. However, MoviePass believes the data it collects on its customers’ viewing habits will be valuable enough that it can monetize the information or get studios and exhibitors to cut them in on revenues.
Berkley starts this week. He was most recently SVP of product management at Viacom, responsible for the digital products, mobile apps, video, data collection, and content management platforms associated with such brands as Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, MTV, BET, and Paramount Pictures.
“MoviePass is one of the most exciting companies to emerge in the entertainment industry in recent years,” Berkley said in a statement. “Just as Netflix has ushered in a renaissance for TV, MoviePass is on the path to do the same for theatrical movies.”
Berkley hasn’t only worked at established media companies. He has startup experience, having been the founder and CEO of a social video start-up, SplashCast, and an e-learning startup, QMIND, Inc.