MoviePass co-founder testing new ‘PreShow’ app that awards users free movie tickets if they agree to be WATCHED by facial recognition cameras

  • MoviePass co-founder Stacy Spikes is testing a new ticket app called PreShow
  • Users watch several ads for up to 20 minutes and are given free tickets in return
  • However, the app uses facial recognition technology to make sure users are watching the ads and will pause the ad if the tech senses they’re looking away 

The co-founder of MoviePass has developed a new idea to get people to the theater.

Called PreShow, users would be able to earn free movie tickets if they agree to watch advertisements for blocks of time between 15 and 20 minutes.

There’s also another, creepier, twist to the proposed app: It will only unlock with facial recognition and it also tracks your gaze using facial recognition technology to make sure you’re actually watching the ads, according to CNET.

A MoviePass co-founder has developed a new idea to get people to the theater. Users would watch ads to earn free tickets as well as agree to be monitored by facial recognition cameras

 

A MoviePass co-founder has developed a new idea to get people to the theater. Users would watch ads to earn free tickets as well as agree to be monitored by facial recognition cameras

PreShow is being developed by MoviePass co-founder Stacy Spikes, who stepped down as CEO of the beleaguered ticketing company in 2016.

He launched a Kickstarter campaign for the PreShow app on Thursday and is seeking to raise $10,000.

The app would work as follows. Users login to PreShow, select a movie they want to watch and then view up to 20 minutes worth of ‘branded content’ to unlock free tickets.

After watching the ads, funds are distributed to a virtual credit card, which can be used to order tickets from your local theater.

PreShow is being developed by MoviePass co-founder Stacy Spikes. He launched a Kickstarter campaign for the PreShow app on Thursday and is seeking to raise $10,000

PreShow is being developed by MoviePass co-founder Stacy Spikes. He launched a Kickstarter campaign for the PreShow app on Thursday and is seeking to raise $10,000

The app collects data on the user’s ‘behaviors’ but its creators insist that it ‘never records’ users.

‘Privacy is a top concern,’ the Kickstarter page states. ‘Nobody is recorded, no personally identifiable data is shared, all data is aggregated and anonymized to brand partners.’

However, Spikes said the facial recognition technology is essential to the app’s viability.

Not only does it serve as the means to make sure users are watching ads, it also verifies their identity when they login.

Instead of entering a password, users sign in using facial recognition authentication.

‘If it weren’t for facial recognition, I don’t think we could still do it,’ Spikes told CNET. ‘If not, they could game this all day long.’

The company is in the process of putting together its end user license agreement, which will detail how it will use the facial recognition systems powering the app, CNET noted.

The PreShow app will launch in beta, with Kickstarter donors as the first test group, beginning in July.

MoviePass co-founder Stacy Spikes, who left MoviePass in 2016, is behind the app. The ticketing service has faced many obstacles in staying afloat due to financial troubles

 

MoviePass co-founder Stacy Spikes, who left MoviePass in 2016, is behind the app. The ticketing service has faced many obstacles in staying afloat due to financial troubles

Hopefully, PreShow will treat users’ data with more care than the company Spikes came from.

Last March, MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe said at an industry conference that his company stores an ‘enormous amount of information’ on its users.

This includes their home address, the makeup of their household and income, among other sensitive data.

‘We know all about you,’ Lowe told an audience at the Entertainment Finance Expo as part of a keynote speech called ‘Data is the New Oil: How Will MoviePass Monetize It?’

Lowe also explained how the app, which for $10 a month lets users watch one movie a day at theaters across the U.S., enables this tracking.

‘It’s not that we ask [for that information]. You can extrapolate that,’ Lowe explained.

‘Then because you are being tracked in your GPS by the phone, our patent basically turns on and off our payment system by hooking that card to the device ID on your phone, so we watch how you drive from home to the movies.

‘We watch where you go afterwards, and so we know the movies you watch,’ he said.

Lowe said the company doesn’t sell the data; instead, it uses the data to market films.

WHAT IS MOVIEPASS?

MoviePass is a discount movie ticket service that allows users to see multiple movies per month for a flat rate.

It’s grown to 3 million subscribers, from about 20,000, since it slashed monthly rates nearly a year ago to $10, from as high as $50.

The firm changed its business model last summer to offer a Netflix-style subscription that lets you see a movie a day for a flat fee of $9.95 a month.

But, because MoviePass typically pays theaters the full cost of tickets – $15 or more in big cities – a single movie can put the service in the red, and its financial stability has come increasingly into question.

In summer 2018, MoviePass revealed a plan to raise its monthly fee by 50% to $15, and allow subscribers to see one movie per day.

Days later, it backtracked on the plan. It now says it will continue to charge just $10, but you can only see three movies per month.

In recent months, MoviePass also stopped letting subscribers view the same movie multiple times and began requiring moviegoers to send photographs of ticket stubs as proof.

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