Over the past few months, Sinemia has gone from promising MoviePass opponent to the source of frustration for moviegoers across the country. After rumors surfaced earlier this week that it would be backing away from its troubled subscription-based film ticket benefaction, it posted official word tonight that it will be shutting down operations in the U.S.
“Today, with a heavy heart, we’re announcing that Sinemia is closing its doors and ending operations in the US effective immediately,” the company writes in a statement posted to its front page.
The service has also struggled with issues of monetization (not unlike MoviePass), leading onlookers to wonder ultimately how sustainable the subscription model is. Those issues have been coupled by increased tournament from film theater chains like AMC benefaction up their own services, even as Sinemia attempted to create a white label model for theaters.
In recent months, the company has been plagued by lawsuits from both MoviePass and moviegoers, the latter of whom took issue with app problems, hidden charges and policies of shuttering accounts.
“While we are proud to have created a best in marketplace service, our efforts to cover the cost of unexpected legal proceedings and elevate the funds required to continue operations have not been sufficient,” the company writes. “The tournament in the US marketplace and the core economics of what it costs to dispatch Sinemia’s end-to-end experience ultimately guide us to the choice of discontinuing our US operations.”
Sinemia has expressed surprise at the breadth of negative reactions its received from users. In a recent interview CEO Rifat Oguz told TechCrunch, “We are taking it seriously. We are looking at every comment. We didn’t found the company a year ago. It started about five years ago. We are taking every negative comment very seriously.”
To that end, the company has set up multiple sites aimed at addressing user problems. Ultimately, however, operations were just not sustainable here in the States. The note doesn’t clarify whether the service will continue to operate abroad in places like the U.K., Canada, Australia and Turkey, where much of its staff is currently based. Nor is it clear when the end of operations in the U.S. will mean for those customers who are owed cash on their accounts. From the note, however, it does sound as if active accounts will be terminated immediately.
We’ve reached out for extra clarification.