Helios Touts One-Year Anniversary of MoviePass Acquisition Despite Mounting Losses

MoviePass owner Helios and Matheson Analytics Aug. 15 touted the one-year anniversary of its acquisition of the movie subscription service despite ongoing financial troubles.

“With only eight employees at the time, MoviePass was considered a fringe player supporting 720 partnered screens and having 15,000 subscribers,” read the press release from Helios. “When MoviePass lowered its subscription price from $20 per month to $9.95 per month, it created a movement bringing movie enthusiasts back to movie theaters and became a boon to a declining industry which, one year later, is showing signs of a financial rebound.

“Within the first several days, MoviePass grew 1,000%, from 15,000 subscribers to 150,000. MoviePass continued the quick growth trajectory, acquiring 1 million subscribers in just four months. This growth enabled MoviePass to close deals with CostcoiHeart Radio, and major Hollywood studios.”

MoviePass has more than 2,000 partner screens while also available for use at 91% of movie theaters nationwide, according to the release. MoviePass recently launched a new subscription model which is projected to reduce its cash deficit by approximately 60% or more, while allowing its subscribers to enjoy three movies per month for $9.95 per month and additional movies at a discounted price, a “win-win” for its subscribers and the industry, the release stated.

“We far exceeded our 2017 expectation for Helios and MoviePass,” said Ted Farnsworth, Helios chairman and CEO, in a statement. “In our agreement to acquire MoviePass in August 2017, MoviePass had a performance milestone to achieve 100,000 subscribers in one year. We were all surprised to see the subscriber growth surpass that milestone in one week. It is rare to see surprises of this magnitude. We’ve reached an important point in our company where, after a year of research and analysis, we believe we have fine-tuned the MoviePass business model to fit our unique growth rate. Under the new plan, we believe we are creating a more sustainable path for MoviePass and its loyal subscribers.”

“Measured by number of movie tickets sold, we are the fourth largest theater chain in the country without any brick and mortar locations, or screens,” said MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe in a statement. “It’s an amazing milestone considering we feel like we’ve just begun.”

Still, the losses mounted during the past year. Helios Aug. 14 reported a second-quarter (ended June 30) net loss of $83.6 million on revenue of $74.1 million. The loss compared to a net loss of $5.2 million on revenue of $1.1 million during the previous-year period (before it acquired a 92% stake in MoviePass). MoviePass generated $72.4 million in subscription revenue but spent $178.7 million reimbursing exhibitors for tickets consumed by subscribers.

Helios, in its Aug. 15 release, noted the following highlights of the past year:

  • Helios acquired MovieFone which will be integrated with MoviePass.
  • Helios launched MoviePass Ventures at Sundance Film Festival 2018.
  • Helios launched MoviePass Films with Emmett Furla Oasis Films and veteran Hollywood producers Randall Emmett and George Furla.
  • MoviePass Films signed Bruce Willis for its first production, 10 Minutes Gone.
  • MoviePass E-Ticketing partners have seen a 38% growth in just the last few weeks.
  • MoviePass now accounts for approximately 6% of all movie tickets sold in the U.S. in any given week.
  • MoviePass has purchased over $450 million worth of tickets in the last 12 months.
  • 49% of MoviePass subscribers are seeing movies they wouldn’t normally see in theaters.
  • MoviePass has partnered with two major studios and more than 10 independent distributors and was engaged to promote their films, showing efficacy in marketing and buying a greater percentage of their box office, showing it can persuade subscribers to see particular titles over others.
  • MoviePass parent Helios established MoviePass Ventures in January 2018, and co-acquired rights to two movie titles, American Animalsand Gotti, and brought its subscriber base a series of MoviePass subscriber-only events. It has begun to monetize the titles downstream, beyond the theatrical window.
  • MoviePass conducted a series of sweepstakes and offers, showing the responsiveness and receptiveness of its subscriber base, including a 1.5% conversion rate for a financial services company (compared to an average 0.025% conversion rate) and over 120,000 opt-ins in a 24-hour period for a movie-related sweepstakes.
  • MoviePass is one of the most widely read business stories of 2018.
  • 47% of MoviePass subscribers are recommending more movies to friends.
  • 70% of MoviePass subscribers state that they somewhat or strongly agree that they are still more likely to see a film despite a low Rotten Tomatoes score.
  • For Beast, a Roadside Attractions’/30West’s production, MoviePass-supported and e-ticketing screens grossed 54.7% higher than theaters that MoviePass does not support.
  • MoviePass ticket purchases represented 16.8% of Thursday night previews for Paramount’s Book Club.
  • During the July 4 holiday week, MoviePass accounted for more than 5% of Universal Pictures’ First Purge, a 3,000-plus screen, wide release.
  • For Sundance-lauded Hearts Beat Loud, MoviePass represented 40% of the film’s box office take in its first full week of theatrical release in New York and Los Angeles.
  • For Tag, which MoviePass promoted in-app, the service’s revenue represented 13% of the film’s opening weekend domestic box office.
  • For A Miseducation of Cameron Post: MoviePass represented 57% of the film’s opening weekend New York City release.
  • For Blindspotting, MoviePass contributed 22.7% of its opening weekend domestic box office, and 24.7% through the first Tuesday following its release (37.6% domestic box office contribution on Monday, 30.8% domestic box office contribution on Tuesday) that included advance member screenings.

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