MoviePass, a service that offers moviegoers a $9.95-a-month subscription that allows them to see a movie a day in the theaters, has been suffering substantial financial losses, making investors and costumers doubt the strength of its business model and the prospects of the service’s future. Helios and Matheson Analytics, the parent company that owns 93 percent of MoviePass, has revealed that in the company’s first quarter, MoviePass lost $98.3 million on revenue of $48.6 million. On Tuesday, MoviePass’ stocks traded for 65 cents, representing a strong decline for Helios and Matheson which, two decades ago, traded for $132 and above.
The news arrives after the company suffered substantial criticism from both customers and business analysts. ABC reported about “hundreds of complaints” that were addressed toward MoviePass after it failed to provide satisfying costumer service for issues with ticketing and subscription cancelations. Analysts also judge the company for the seemingly rushed move to bring the untested model to the public market on Wall Street, suggesting that a more prolonged venture-capitalist approach would have led to greater financial successes and security. MoviePass follows in the steps of other startups like Uber and AirBnB, attempting to disrupt the market by offering a totally new approach to a long-established model. With movie ticket prices hitting higher sums each year, visiting the theater has become a costly treat for audiences, who are now more inclined to stay indoors and utilize the many streaming services available for much cheaper billing yet arguably providing an equal quality of entertainment as a visit to the theaters.
During the time when many believe in the up-coming extinction of theater chains due to higher competition with the streaming industry, MoviePass seemed to be a blessing. Now that the company has failed to sustain long-term plans, what is left in store for cinephiles and others who enjoy the experience of the big screen? In the past 12 months, MoviePass grew from having 700,000 to about 3 million users, proving the interest of many in finding a cheaper solution to visit the theaters. While the current business model has not proven itself, there are lessons to be learned and improvements to be made to MoviePass’ noble effort to bring the masses from their couches, back to the reclining chairs to maintain the special, communal experience of the movies. One can hope that another, more long-term seeking model will arise from the ashes of what once was a promising venture.