MoviePass, the theatrical subscription service whose tumultuous journey has made the headlines consistently over the past 18 months, has changed strategy as it attempts to remain viable “without dependence on studios or exhibitors”.
According to a statement released on Wednesday (6), the new plan will focus on “technological innovation and high-quality content production through our three key channels”: the MoviePass theatrical subscription service, content producer MoviePass Films (the joint venture between MoviePass parent company Helios And Matheson Analytics Inc and Emmett Furla Oasis Films), and Moviefone, the entertainment portal and advertising service that Helios And Matheson Analytics Inc acquired from Verizon Media.
MoviePass launched in 2011 and trialled several price points. It became a national talking point in August 2017 when it announced its “unlimited” plan for $9.99 a month where by subscribers could watch one film a day in theatres. Subscription levels sky-rocketed to three million by early 2018 and, amid growing questions over the viability of its plan given that MoviePass paid exhibitors the full ticket price, it scrapped the “unlimited” plan last April in favour of three films a month.
What followed were problems with the service’s app, surcharges, more restrictive viewing policies, an emergency loan and a full service outage last July as the company tried to rein in the effects of widespread adoption. The finances of parent company Helios and Matheson came under scrutiny and last month it was delisted from the Nasdaq exchange.
Highlights of the new strategic vision include:
*A business model that “no longer depends on achieving revenues from studios or exhibitors to succeed” and will prioritise “the economic relationship among our MoviePass subscription service, MoviePass Films production business and Moviefone multimedia media information and advertising service.”
*A belief that the MoviePass subscription service will enhance box office of MoviePass Films productions, whose revenues will drive an expansion of the subscription service, with the Moviefone multimedia media information and advertising service supporting the entire group of MoviePass companies.
*MoviePass, MoviePass Films, and Moviefone will work together more closely and share resources.
*MoviePass Films productions will go out via theatrical, in-home video, retail, transactional and international sales and grow the MoviePass subscriber base.
*MoviePass remains committed to offering “a wide inventory of movies and enhanced box office results for our industry partners.”
“By spending the last several months analyzing the many different aspects of our prior business model, in terms of what worked and what didn’t, I believe we’ve been able to illuminate the path forward,” said Ted Farnsworth, CEO of Helios and Matheson Analytics Inc. “We’ve taken a deep dive to understand our unique ecosystem and I believe we’re now ready to move forward at a rapid pace. I see this as an exciting time for MoviePass and its sister companies, because we’re taking our original vision for subscription, altering it for the better, and proceeding with significant clarity.”
“We have gained a tremendous amount of insight into moviegoers and the industry over this past year and a half,” said MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe. “MoviePass subscription, MoviePass Films and Moviefone now have a winning combination that we believe will drive consumers to our films, and re-energize casual moviegoers to go more often and see great films in local theaters – films that consumers often wait to see much later through streaming services.”
“We always believed in the MoviePass value proposition for filmmakers,” said MoviePass Films Co-CEO Randall Emmet. “Now, after witnessing how MoviePass subscribers can positively impact box office results of our own movies, I must say the opportunity of this partnership is bigger than I ever thought it would be. At the end of the day, we believe we will be getting people back in movie theater seats, this time to the benefit of our companies and the MoviePass community of casual moviegoers. That’s exciting and certainly a game-changer.”