With streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon redefining how we consume music, or NetFlix, YouTube and Hulu changing how we consume movies and TV at home and on the go, it probably should be no surprise that the subscription service concept would make its way to the cinema. MoviePass has long been a leader when it comes to theater-going subscriptions, but Sinemia is a rising competitor that has thrown its hat into the ring to fight for a share of the movie-going, popcorn-munching theater ticket buyers. Both services allow movie fans to pay a specific monthly (or annual) fee to see movies on the big screen at a discounted price.
We used AlertBot’s external website monitoring system and its TrueBrowser™ technology to monitor both sites for a couple weeks, spanning from July 1 to July 22, 2018. As both sites and services are continuing to grow and change (Heaven knows MoviePass will probably change their rules and operations again before you finish reading this sentence), we weren’t surprised to see how similar the sites for each service performed.
For the reliability evaluation of a website, we look for failure events (like when a page doesn’t fully load or it is completely down), and we look for what caused those failures.
Both MoviePass and Sinemia performed well here, but one did seem to struggle a little more than the other.
MoviePass.com experienced a 98.2% average uptime due to several days where the site seemed to perform slower than usual, causing the pages to not load fully – even triggering a strange account lookup error on the front page for several hours on July 14th. This resulted in 18 failure events cataloged by AlertBot, with an average failure time of 32 minutes. This doesn’t mean downtime, per say, but the details did show that the site was struggling with its speed and load times. (MoviePass.com 7/10)
Comparatively, Sinemia.com saw 99.98% uptime with 1 failure event, although it wasn’t anything that spelled major downtime. At worst, it appeared to be a slow page / busy error that didn’t last long enough to qualify as site downtime. Overall, Sinemia proved to be pretty reliable. (Sinemia.com 9/10)
When evaluating a website’s speed, we look at the time it takes the site’s homepage to render and load to the point of being fully interactive by the user. These tests are performed from the perspective of a first-time visitor with no prior cache of the website’s content. AlertBot runs the tests inside real Firefox web browsers using AlertBot’s TrueBrowser™ monitoring.
MoviePass.com saw acceptable page load speeds overall, with their best average day being Wednesday, July 4th with 3.9 seconds. The best time of day was 1am on Friday, July 20th (which isn’t a popular time to even be using a site like theirs) at an average of just 1.6 seconds. On the other side of the proverbial coin, the slowest day was Saturday, July 14 with an average time of 8.9 seconds, and the worst time of day was also on the same day at noon (yikes!) with an embarrassing 14.1 seconds. (MoviePass.com 7.5/10)
Sinemia actually didn’t perform too much better, with their best average speed for a single day being Saturday, July 21 with 5.4 seconds and their best time of day being Wednesday, July 4th at 5pm with 2.7 seconds. Their slowest day was Monday, July 23rd with 7.3 seconds, with the slowest time being on July 2nd at 10pm with 10.2 seconds. (Sinemia.com 8/10)
It’s always interesting to see how sites perform differently across the world. If we look exclusively at the United States, it’s intriguing to see which states regularly see faster or slower times than others.
MoviePass.com performed the fastest in California with 1.8 seconds, with Florida coming in second at 2.4 seconds. The site performed slowest in Missouri with a sluggish 10.2 seconds, with Utah coming in second at 8.5 seconds. (MoviePass.com 8/10)
For Sinemia.com, California was also the fastest at 2.9 seconds, and Virginia was second fastest at 3.5 seconds. Missouri was also the slowest, at 11.3 seconds, with Utah being second slowest at 9.1 seconds. (Sinemia.com 7.5/10)
Neither site was all that impressive in the nature of speed – which is interesting considering there isn’t a whole lot of content on their websites to slow them down.
For usability, we select a common task a user might typically try to accomplish when visiting the sites and replicate it. For our previous Showdowns, we tested things like going through the motions of ordering movie tickets from a local theater or simply adding a similar item to both sites’ shopping carts. For this Showdown, we’ll see what the experience is like to use their respective websites to start the service signup process (but not complete any forms).
For each of these processes, we started by opening a new tab in Google Chrome and typing in the site’s URL.
From the point of typing www.moviepass.com into our Chrome browser, it took a mere 18 seconds and 2 clicks to see their plans and get to the signup form. It was a piece of cake.
For Sinemia.com, it was actually just as smooth. In 17 seconds and 2 clicks, we were able to select a plan and get to the signup page.
It’s a tough call for usability. They’re simple processes, but they get the job done and we have no complaints.
All things considered, here are the Usability scores:
The usability usually isn’t this straightforward and clear for both sites, so it leaves us to look almost exclusively at the other categories to draw a conclusion.
Without assuming MoviePass may have more hiccups in speed due to a greater deal of traffic, Sinemia.com seems to be a clearer choice for reliability as a whole, but the sites are quite close. That bad day on July 14 also really hurt MoviePass’s performance during this evaluation period, but it can’t be ignored. So, with that said, we believe the verdict is…