French Packaged Media Sales Fall 16%

Sales of movies and TV shows on DVD and Blu-ray Disc in France declined 16.4% in 2018 — up from a drop of 9.8% in 2017, according to data from research firm GfK.

DVD sales dropped nearly 18% to €323 million ($367 million), with Blu-ray falling 12% to €125 million ($142 million). BD market share increased 1.3% to nearly 28%.

In a market that has seen Netflix attract 5 million paid subscribers, GfK data revealed a 11% decline in disc unit sales, including 11 million Blu-ray and 53 million DVDs.

Notably, combined disc sales topped theatrical revenue by 55% with €478 million versus €288 million for theatrical.

 

 

 

MoviePass Looking to Market Ticket Subscription Technology to Theaters

MoviePass, the beleaguered subscription theatrical ticket service, is looking to market its technology to exhibitors.

Dubbed a “red label” solution, the strategy is to enable theater owners a means of offering a proprietary subscription ticket service to consumers.

In addition to MoviePass, AMC Theatres and Cinemark currently offer monthly ticket subscription plans.

“Our new business strategy is stabilize, optimize and grow,” Khalid Itum, EVP of MoviePass, told Variety, which first reported the move.

MoviePass in August 2017 turned the exhibition service on its ear offering a $9.95 monthly service that enabled subscribers daily access to a theatrical screening.

While the loss-leader pricing concept resonated with millions of consumers, paying for it proved to be a debacle for MoviePass and its corporate parent Helios and Matheson Analytics (HMNY).

With the service hemorrhaging hundreds of millions of dollars, it has introduced seesaw measures to rein in costs, alienating consumers in the process.

MoviePass now charges from $9.95 to $24.95  monthly for theatrical access depending on market location. A new unlimited plan is also in the works.

HMNY’s stock has taken a beating on Wall Street, with shares in risk of being delisted for failing to meet the $1-per-share minimum. The corporate parent this week filed papers looking to spin off MoviePass to a subsidiary in hopes of resuscitating the penny stock.

HMNY subsidiary MoviePass Films got a boost this week after its film, Border, was nominated for an Academy Award in the “Best Makeup and Hairstyling” category. Announced last September, MoviePass Films partnered with Neon Rated LLC to co-release the Cannes award-winning film from writer and director Ali Abbasi.

The Swedish fantasy film is based on the short story of the same name by Ajvide Lindqvist from his anthology “Let the Old Dreams Die.” It won the Un Certain Regard award at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival and was selected as the Swedish entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards, though it was not nominated.

 

 

Helios and Matheson Files With SEC for MoviePass Spinoff

Helios and Matheson Analytics announced Jan. 17 that it has filed confidentially with the Securities and Exchange Commission to spin off its theatrical ticket subscription service MoviePass as a new subsidiary, MoviePass Entertainment Holdings.

Helios will spin off shares by listing on Nasdaq or an alternative exchange and distribute some of the shares as a dividend to shareholders as of a record date yet to be selected, according the announcement.

The company will retain a controlling stake in MoviePass.

Survey: ‘Avengers: Endgame’ Most-Anticipated Movie in 2019

Avengers: Endgame topped multiple lists of fans’ most anticipated movies to see in 2019, according to a survey by Atom Tickets, the social movie ticketing platform.

The “Avengers” film was the overall top “most anticipated,” “most anticipated superhero movie” and “most excited ensemble cast to see” in the survey.

“Although we expect to see some movement in preferences as release dates near and studios ramp up marketing efforts, there were clear winners in each category. The battles for box office dominance between Dwayne Johnson, Lupita Nyong’o, The Avengers, and Star Wars will be epic, and the 2019 slate looks great overall,” said Matthew Bakal, chairman and co-founder of Atom Tickets, in a statement. “Despite all the headlines about streaming formats dominating the industry, our survey found that consumers are still very enthusiastic about seeing movies in the theater. In fact, an overwhelming 86% of survey respondents said they are likely to see movies in theaters in 2019. Interestingly, a large majority of consumers — 76% — plan to watch the movies they loved and saw in the theater again at home.”

According to the Atom Tickets survey:

The top 10 overall most anticipated movies for 2019 are:

  1. Avengers: Endgame
  2. Captain Marvel
  3. Spider-Man: Far From Home
  4. Toy Story 4
  5. The Lion King
  6. Star Wars: Episode IX
  7. Aladdin
  8. X-Men: Dark Phoenix
  9. Glass
  10. Jumanji sequel

 

The most anticipated superhero movies for 2019 are:

  1. Avengers: Endgame
  2. Captain Marvel
  3. Spider-Man: Far From Home

 

The most anticipated family films for 2019 are:

  1. The Lion King
  2. Toy Story 4
  3. Aladdin

 

The most anticipated horror films for 2019 are:

  1. It: Chapter 2
  2. Pet Sematary
  3. Annabelle 3

 

The top three ensemble casts fans are most excited to see in 2019 are:

  1. Avengers: Endgame with Scarlett Johansson, Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans and Mark Ruffalo
  2. Star Wars: Episode IX with Oscar Isaac, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Lupita Nyong’o and John Boyega
  3. Jumanji sequel with Karen Gillan, Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black and Kevin Hart

 

According to the survey, fans are most excited to see the following actors in 2019:

  1. Ryan Reynolds
  2. Chris Pratt
  3. Dwayne Johnson
  4. Will Smith
  5. Keanu Reeves

 

Moviegoers are most excited to see the following actresses in 2019:

  1. Kristen Bell
  2. Lupita Nyong’o
  3. Brie Larson
  4. Beyoncé
  5. Zendaya

 

Fans are most excited to see the following actors/actresses in their breakout movie roles:

  1. Sophie Turner in X-Men: Dark Phoenix
  2. Mena Massoud in Aladdin
  3. Millie Bobby Brown in Godzilla: King of the Monsters

 

Cinedigm Continues Piecemeal Sale of Digital Projection Business

Before Cinedigm became a home entertainment distributor and over-the-top video provider, it marketed a proprietary brand of digital projections for theatrical exhibitors.

The company Dec. 19 announced it entered into an agreement for the sale of 125 digital cinema projection systems. The sale for an undisclosed amount represents another step in the monetization of the 3,724 projectors Cinedigm owns. The distributor previously sold 17 systems and expects to close the current sale by Jan. 15, 2019.

Cinedigm, which is majority owned by Chinese investors, at one time spearheaded an industry initiative to convert movie theaters from 35mm analog projectors to digital projection technology.

It installed digital projection systems for 12,688 theater screens, with 382 exhibitor partners in multiple territories worldwide. In total, 3,724 of those systems were owned by the Cinedigm, and 142 of such systems have been sold or are contracted for sale to date.

“We are evaluating international and domestic opportunities to monetize our additional owned projection systems and look forward to sharing more news on this front in the near future,” Gary Loffredo, president of digital cinema and general counsel, said in a statement.

 

 

Ampere: Global OTT Revenue to Top Box Office in 2019

It’s an over-the-top world, now with the box office living in it.

New projections from London-based research firm Ampere Analysis contend global revenue ($46 billion) from over-the-top video platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video will supplant the worldwide box office ($40 billion) in 2019.

With Netflix and Prime Video already driving SVOD revenue past the domestic box office in 2017, the trend is expected to repeat in the United Kingdom this year and in China in 2019.

Surprisingly, Ampere found that SVOD subscribers remain frequent moviegoers, with subscribers attending theatrical screenings twice as often as non-subscribers. The ratio increased by a factor of three in Japan – despite SVOD services costing about half as much as a theatrical ticket.

“Our analysis of consumers in 15 markets reveals that although there are differences in the cost of cinema attendance by country, there’s clearly an appetite for content amongst some consumers, whether that be on the big screen, or a smaller one,” senior analyst Toby Holleran said in a statement. “The key for cinema is to understand that while SVOD subscribers are more avid cinema goers, this may not always be the case. Therefore, the shared experience of watching a film on the big screen must remain an enticing — and realistically priced.”

 

 

 

MoviePass Looking to Raise Prices, Restore Consumer/Investor Trust

MoviePass, the beleaguered theatrical ticket subscription service, is set to roll out new monthly pricing plans it hopes will financially stabilize the service and restore investor confidence in corporate parent Helios and Matheson Analytics, among other goals.

In an interview with Variety, MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe said the new tiered pricing plans – ranging from the existing $9.95 to $24.95 – would be dependent on where subscribers lived.

As a result, consumers living in rural areas would likely see no change to the $9.95 fee (dubbed “select”) affording access to three movies per month at select times, while moviegoers in major markets such as Los Angeles and New York would pay $14.95.

A $19.95 “red carpet” option – which mirrors the fee of a competing service from AMC Theatres – enables rural subscribers access to three screenings at any time in any format (Imax, 3D, 2D). The option costs $24.95 in major cities.

“We have a lot to prove to all our constituents,” said Lowe. “We don’t just have to prove ourselves to our members, we also have to prove ourselves to the investment community, our employees, and our partners.”

Indeed, the service’s well-chronicled missteps largely revolved around an unsustainable business model that paid exhibitors full price for every ticket consumed by subscribers paying less than $10 per month for daily access to a theatrical screening.

With MoviePass unable to convince exhibitors to share in the financial risk in return for enhanced foot traffic and sharing user data – the latter triggering data breach concerns – the service began to hemorrhage money and alienate consumers and investors.

In HMNY’s most-recent fiscal report, the company reported a loss of $137 million and just $6.2 million in cash available. The parent’s stock is worth pennies and in risk of being delisted by Nasdaq – despite a reverse-stock split last summer. A planned second reverse-stock split was abandoned after failing to generate enough shareholder approval.

“Expectations weren’t met,” said Rodes Ponzer, head of marketing. “The creative memes and the consumer vitriol, we understand it. We told customers [theatrical access] was un-limited and we didn’t meet their expectations. Now we’re going to set their expectations properly.”

 

 

 

 

MoviePass Promotes Itum to EVP

MoviePass, the movie theater subscription service and majority-owned subsidiary of Helios and Matheson Analytics, has appointed Khalid Itum to EVP.

Previously VP of business development, Itum will continue to report to CEO Mitch Lowe. Itum will manage day-to-day operations at MoviePass, working closely with both Lowe and HMNY CEO Ted Farnsworth to spearhead company development, and drive its exhibition and distribution strategies forward, according to a MoviePass press release. Itum will also be responsible for creating its strategic plan and ensuring its implementation.

“Khalid is a unique talent with an amazing vision, who has been an integral part of MoviePass since 2014,” said Lowe in a statement. “Before coming on in a full-time capacity in 2017 to lead our studio affairs and distributor partnerships, he played a significant role as an advisor. As we continue to spur innovation across the industry, he not only strengthens our sales and operations efforts across the organization, but he deepens our relationships within the industry ecosystem.”

As VP, Itum had been responsible for driving revenue through multiple studio and independent distributor partnerships and various brand and content deals. He played a crucial role in growing MoviePass’ Los Angeles office and led the strategic formation of MoviePass Ventures and its first acquisition of American Animals — alongside The Orchard — at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, according to the release. He also spearheaded the acquisition of Moviefone from Oath earlier this year.

“Khalid has a proven track record and I believe he will serve our financial goals and increase our overall operating performance,” said Ted Farnsworth, CEO of Helios and Matheson, in a statement. “Khalid brings a remarkable enthusiasm and passion to the job each day and truly shares in the overall vision of MoviePass.”

“I’m eager to continue building MoviePass and am proud of how far we’ve come,” said Itum in a statement. “The road hasn’t been easy — and the hyper growth has been challenging. However, we’ve taken a hard look over the past few weeks and months at what needs to happen in order to not just preserve what we’ve built, but to use it as a foundation upon which to build. Because of this, I know we’ll emerge a better partner to the theaters (big and small), major studios and independent distributors with whom we have the privilege of working to collectively best serve the interests of the American consumer. You may notice we’ve been out of the news for some time, and that’s been by design. At MoviePass, we’ve recently prioritized building toward a vision that aligns our success with greater consumption of entertainment. You’ll soon be able to judge for yourselves, and I believe that the best marketing we can do, today and always, is to enhance our product and treat our subscriber as a member of something special: because that’s what MoviePass is to a great number of Americans already. It’s on us to regain their trust. I believe the future is bright for our company, and I couldn’t do it without my team which has been giving its 200% dedication and effort to transform the offering and platform into its full potential. I look forward to announcing some powerful additions to our management team to join with us in charging forward.”

Survey: Half of MoviePass Subs Likely to Cancel

Fiscally challenged MoviePass got more bad news Aug. 28 after a survey found nearly 50% of MoviePass respondents will likely cancel their membership.

In the August survey of 1,558 moviegoers — including 424 MoviePass subscribers — conducted by National Research Group for The Hollywood Reporter, just 48% of MoviePass respondents said they were satisfied with the service — which was down from 83% approval in a previous survey this spring.

Central to the service’s problems — beyond financial — are the ever-changing rules of engagement, according to the survey. A short-lived price hike from $9.95 to $14.95 was scuttled, with subscribers limited to three screenings per month. That change was followed by more restrictions on what titles subscribers could see and when.

“MoviePass’ innovation was offering the freedom and flexibility to see any movie, at any time, at almost any theater, for a low price,” NRG CEO Jon Penn told THR. “By constantly changing the terms of service — limiting which films subscribers could see and when they could see them — MoviePass has eroded brand trust and undermined their leadership position.”

Survey respondents appear in favor of ticket subscription services, with 23% interested in AMC Theatres’ A-List Stub platform. Another 39% said they would favor any service that could be sustainable.

“There remains immense opportunity and moviegoer appetite for innovation in movie ticket buying,” said Penn. “Future services that offer value, flexibility and convenience — in an economically viable way — will help drive moviegoing to new heights.”

 

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.