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The co-founder of MoviePass is back with a new startup that involves you being force-fed ads

It’s a (movie)hard pass from me.

moviepass preshow feature showing person watching an ad
Image: PreShow

Not content with co-founding the MoviePass service, Stacy Spikes, the ex-CEO of the company, is back with another way to get cheap movie tickets – watching adverts.

Wait a minute. Don’t we already watch a stupid amount of adverts in the pre-roll while we’re at the theater? Yes, yes we do and now we can watch even more, from the comfort of our own home.

Spikes has turned to Kickstarter for this new venture, and it’s called PreShow. I must confess, it’s intriguing in theory. Sign up for service, watch 15 to 20 minutes of branded advertising on your phone, get paid in cash for movie tickets. If it works, I could see it taking off.

I do have a huge list of questions over the service, and it seems Spikes does, as well. That’s partly why he’s chosen Kickstarter, using it as an extended beta phase to gather information and feedback about what works, what doesn’t, and how the financial model shakes out.

There are no blackout periods, so any movie at any time is fair game, well, almost

Every movie is fair game, just not every version. You won’t be able to see IMAX or 3D flicks, presumably because the amount your account gets credited for watching the branded ads will only cover 2D movie prices.

When it finally opens to the public, he’s still not sure what PreShow would cost. Will it have a nominal joining fee, or perhaps a small monthly fee? It might even be completely free, other than the time you have to spend with your eyes glued to your phone. I say glued, because the PreShow app tracks where your eyes are looking. If it feels you glanced away, the advertising pauses, so you can’t game the system by just leaving it playing. It remains to be seen if it can be fooled by a picture or even a 3d-printed head, like face-unlock systems.

What if this method of attention-grabbing catches on? Those pre-roll ads on YouTube are currently just annoying, now imagine having to watch them in their entirety to watch your content. Imagine the same across cable TV, streaming services, even your Xbox. A pretty sobering thought, right?

Currently, the Kickstarter is buy-in only, which feels like buying an early access video game. There are multiple tiers, $60 gets you access in July (ish), giving you 30 invites for your friends. $25 gets you in around September, with 10 invites. Backing at the $15 level gets you access in November, with only 5 invites for your friends.

If you’re curious, head on over to the Kickstarter page. I’m definitely interested to see how it works out, even if it’s just morbid fascination.

What do you think? Is this something you’d use? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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