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If you've been keeping tabs on MoviePass over the last few months, you should know the newly cheap subscription company has changed some policies around since enacting its movie-a-day service for just under $10 bucks a month. Most recently, MoviePass began halting repeat viewings of movies right around the time that Avengers: Infinity War came out. The move was one of a few that has come as the newly cheap service has tried to figure out how to make money off of subscribers while losing money off of their movie-viewing habits. Now, MoviePass is saying the changes are helping the company to stay in business. In fact, the most recent notes from parent company Helios and Matheson Analytics indicate the changes allowed MoviePass to reduce its cash deficit during the first week of May by more than 35%.
In a new report detailing earnings with the Securites and Exchanges commission, MoviePass said that between September 30th of 2017 and April 30th of 2018, the company had an average cash deficit of $21.7 million a month. On average. In May, the small change to subscribers' attendance habits allowed the company to reduce the deficit by 35% during the first week, and the month isn't even close to over. Obviously, for a company to stay in business over the long haul, it needs to be making money every month and not seeing a deficit every single month. Although MoviePass has made changes, including altering the number of times a subscriber can see a movie and previously blocking users from going to certain theaters or screenings, the company clearly still has a cash deficit and more changes may (read: should) be on the way.
In the most recent filing, the company does note that the cash deficit should "vary significantly" in the months to come, as MoviePass is required to purchase tickets for its subscribers when they want to go to the movies. This is left unsaid, but the more movies that are in theaters that people want to see, the more tickets the company is likely to have to purchase, and we are heading into the summer season---a time when kids are off of school and new movies are plentiful. If MoviePass is able to make it through the summer season and into its second year with the $9.95 MoviePass subscription, it will likely have a better idea about what the movie-going cycle looks like, although even that varies by year.
As part of the new filing, MoviePass addresses the changes to moviegoing habits, noting,
Because the length of time and costs associated with the development of the MoviePass and MoviePass Ventures business model is highly uncertain, we are unable to estimate the actual funds we will require. If we are unable to obtain sufficient amounts of additional capital, whether through our Equity Distribution Agreement or otherwise, we may be required to reduce the scope of our planned growth or otherwise alter our business model, objectives and operations, which could harm our business, financial condition and operating results.
The company assumes it will continue adding new subscribers into 2019, but it's clear this business model is not on certain footing yet. The company has previously discussed selling data and making partnerships with movies as other viable means of revenue, and we'll keep you updated as MoviePass keeps tinkering with its model as it tries to keep its customer base happy, all while managing to stay afloat.