Helios and Matheson Analytics buys majority stake in MoviePass

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Helios and Matheson Analytics Inc. has acquired movie subscription technology company MoviePass as part of its continued expansion into industries with opportunities for big data and artificial-intelligence innovations.

Currently, MoviePass is available in over 91% of all theatres in the U.S., including AMC, Regal and Cinemark theatres along with independent cinemas. The app enables subscribers to see up to one movie a day in a theatre with no blackout dates and no contracts for a flat $9.95 monthly fee.

MoviePass, established in 2011, has been led by Netflix co-founder and former Redbox president Mitch Lowe as CEO since June 2016, along with MoviePass co-founder Stacy Spikes. Early investors included True Ventures, AOL Ventures and Chris Kelly, MoviePass' largest investor, who was a member of Facebook’s original team.

“MoviePass was founded to make it easier for passionate moviegoers and casual fans to see films the way they’re meant to be seen—in the theatre,” said Lowe. “Our vision has always been to make the moviegoing experience more affordable and enjoyable for our subscribers. We are changing the way consumers think about going to the movies by making it possible to experience a broader array of films—from the latest summer blockbuster to a critically acclaimed documentary—through a subscription model. Today’s acquisition by Helios & Matheson is a huge step towards making our vision a reality by allowing us to introduce a new $9.95 nationwide subscription service that completely disrupts the movie industry in the same way that Netflix and Redbox have done in years past."

Seventy-five percent of the MoviePass user base is under 35, and it is reported that subscribers, on average, have increased their annual moviegoing budget four-fold.

In addition, a 2016 independent report by Mather Economics found that MoviePass members showed a 100% increase in moviegoing. This includes a 50% increase in mid-week attendance and a 123% increase in concession revenues.

“I believe the technology platforms that Helios and Matheson have built over the years are a perfect fit for the MoviePass family,” said Ted Farnsworth, Helios and Matheson’s CEO. “With our big data, as well as our artificial-intelligence platforms and other technologies that we own, we will be able to bring an unparalleled technological advantage to MoviePass. I believe that our mission at HMNY is to be constantly innovating, and this blending is a natural fit to take us up to the next level, and, remarkably, it is only the beginning.”

MoviePass will continue its operations with existing leadership and continue to expand throughout the U.S. MoviePass has agreed, as part of this transaction, to be traded independently on the NASDAQ or NYSE by March 2018, with Helios and Matheson still being majority shareholder.

“As a co-founder of MoviePass, the establishment of a subscription service has and continues to be the catalyst needed to reinvigorate the film industry,” said Stacy Spikes, MoviePass COO. “This partnership with Helios and Matheson brings together the perfect combination of resources and innovation needed to bring that goal one step closer to reality. Our data continues to reinforce the amazing benefits of subscription for customers, theatres and studios. For our industry to remain relevant, we must be bold and experiment with wild new ideas.”

“My past experience at Facebook gave me the wherewithal to see that MoviePass was destined to disrupt the movie and entertainment industry,” said Chris Kelly. “As a passionate movie lover, I saw MoviePass as a great company to bring people back to the theatre to share in the social experience only the big screen can provide.”