MoviePass: Making the All-You-Can-Watch Movie Buffet a Reality on Heroku

Unlimited movie theater access subscription service with integrated branded credit card and geo-location.

MoviePass is a subscription-based service that allows members to see a movie a day with no restrictions on theater, dates or movies. MoviePass founders recognized that the movie industry was suffering from declining attendance and that their subscription service could help drive more moviegoers to the theaters.

The challenge: building apps with a small team and different programming languages

With a lean development team, MoviePass needed an efficient way to build the MoviePass app. They initially looked at Amazon Web Services to run their mobile app, but found it too time-consuming to set up and maintain for their lean business.

Their development team was also very diverse in the programming languages that they knew with varying levels of proficiency and experience in Scala, Ruby on Rails, Java and Node.js. Using AWS would have involved setting up separate environments for each developer, further adding to the infrastructure set-up time and cost and slowing down app development.

We had plans to build a custom environment on AWS, but decided it would be too time-consuming in the long-term. Heroku proved to be a logical choice to get up and running quickly at a much lower cost. Joey Adarkwah, Director, Technology, MoviePass

The solution: the MoviePass team working together on Heroku

MoviePass decided on Heroku as a logical, cost-effective and efficient solution to address these challenges. There was no infrastructure to set up and maintain, and the developers could focus on creating new features to delight their customers. Heroku’s multi-language support made it possible for all the developers to use same platform to build and deploy their applications — each developer could code in the language they were more productive and comfortable with, yet they could all deploy and manage their apps through the same consolidated dashboard. MoviePass could now hire the right developer to use the right language for the job, and have it all work together on Heroku.

Heroku’s polyglot platform makes it extremely easy to spin up a new instance with a different code base. This allowed our diverse development team to code in the language they were comfortable with and allowed MoviePass to hire skilled devs regardless of their language of choice. Joey Adarkwah, Director, Technology, MoviePass

Heroku powers the customer-facing website, the API backend for the MoviePass mobile app, and the administration of third-party payment card processing, subscription management and movie showtimes.

MoviePass has already seen significant benefits from the Heroku platform, including increased performance as well as a lower service cost per user. They’ve chose Heroku to position MoviePass for their anticipated growth and are confident their architecture can grow well beyond a 1 million+ users without making any changes.

We were able to increase performance upwards of 90% and lower our service cost per user by 40% as a result of the Heroku platform and new architecture. Joey Adarkwah, Director, Technology, MoviePass

App experience

MoviePass members can find the movie they want on the MoviePass app on either iPhone or Android, and then swipe their MoviePass card at the movie theater ticket booth or kiosk. Their app uses patented geo-location technology to confirms the user’s presence at the movie theater and adds funds to their MoviePass card automatically, so the member can purchase their movie ticket.

Would your company benefit from Heroku’s agile and developer-friendly polyglot platform? MoviePass is a great example of a company leveraging Heroku’s multi-language support to build and deploy their applications. For more information, contact Heroku today.