How MoviePass’s Former Chairman Plans to Save the Floundering Company

Variety | 9/17/2019 | Brent Lang
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Ted Farnsworth still believes that MoviePass, the high-flying subscription service that crashed to Earth in spectacular fashion, can soar again. The former head of Helios and Matheson Analytics, the data company that bought MoviePass in 2017 and turned it into a phenomenon by allowing customers to see a movie per day for $9.99 a month, has submitted a bid to buy back the shuttered company.

“We made the company a household name in two years and we disrupted the industry,” Farnsworth said in an interview with Variety. “We put hundreds of millions of dollars into the company, and I don’t want to just cut our losses.”

Something - Time - Brand

He added, “It’s something that we can reshape and rebuild. It will take time, but I think we can revitalize the whole brand.”

At its height, MoviePass attracted some 3 million subscribers, but its low prices left it struggling to make money. It experimented with different pricing models and attempted a relaunch, but the company was plagued by a plunging stock price, data breaches, and technological problems. MoviePass lost tens of millions of dollars a month, and Helios and Matheson’s net loss more than doubled in 2018 to $329.3 million, according to its most recent financial filing. Last Friday, the company announced it was shutting down and would explore a sale.

Math - Farnsworth - Pricing - Company - Problem

Even though the math seemingly never worked, Farnsworth insists that the $9.95 pricing wasn’t the company’s big problem. It was fraud on the part of its subscribers, who used the app to buy tickets that they later resold or who shared their subscription with friends and family members, according to the exec.

“I don’t think the pricing was wrong,” he said. “We would have been fine if people hadn’t gamed the system, shared passwords, and engaged in consumer fraud.”

Farnsworth - Chairman - Helios

Farnsworth has stepped down as the chairman of Helios and...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Variety
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