Image: MoviePass

MoviePass, the relatively short-lived service that allowed theatergoers to watch an unlimited number of movies with a flat fee before shutting down in 2019, is planning a revival this summer with some potentially controversial technologies.

As reported by Motherboard, MoviePass 2.0 will be very different from its predecessor for not only being a web3-style application, but one that allows users to watch ads to earn credits for movies. There’s a significant catch, however: users need to keep their smartphone cameras out, as MoviePass will be tracking their eyeballs to ensure they are actually watching the advertisements.

MoviePass 2.0’s relaunch was detailed by co-founder Stacy Spikes last week, who took to the stage at the Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center in NYC to convince moviegoers and investors as to why the new iteration of the service won’t be a disappointment like its predecessor. The credits that MoviePass 2.0 users earn by watching ads are being referred to as a virtual currency.

MoviePass 2.0 Wants to Track Your Eyeballs to Make Sure You Watch Ads (Motherboard)

  • The new MoviePass is leaning into all the latest Silicon Valley buzzwords—web3, wallets, and play to earn schemes. Spikes—wearing the standard black turtleneck, jeans, and tennis shoes associated with Steve Jobs and Elizabeth Holmes—announced that MoviePass is moving towards a system where people watch ads to earn virtual currency that they then spend on movies.
  • Spikes said that all of this will happen locally on the users phone. “Part of the direction we’re doing from a web3 perspective is, this is happening only on your phone, uniquely to you, and the credits that are earned are your credits that go into your virtual wallet that you get to spend,” he said. “So it’s your own money.”
  • The new MoviePass will also use your phone’s cameras to make sure that you’re actually watching the ads. “As I’m looking at it, it’s playing back. But if I stop and I’m not paying attention to it, it actually pauses the content,” Spikes said while watching an ad during the presentation.
  • “We had an early version of this where you know what happened. People put the phone down and left and didn’t pay any attention to it. Right now 70 percent of video advertising is unseen. This is a way that advertisers get the impact they’re looking for but you’re also getting the impact yourself.”

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