Data-hungry owner of MoviePass swallows Moviefone whole, spits out theaters’ bones

MoviePass’ parent company, Helios and Matheson Analytics, bought online movie-guide Moviefone for $23m to satisfy their appetite for moviegoer data. Wait, Moviefone is still around? Yes — and with 6m monthly users, it’s a surprisingly juicy morsel that kept meat on its bones by updating its telephone service (c. 1989 AD) to a digital platform […]


April 6, 2018

MoviePass’ parent company, Helios and Matheson Analytics, bought online movie-guide Moviefone for $23m to satisfy their appetite for moviegoer data.

Wait, Moviefone is still around?

Yes — and with 6m monthly users, it’s a surprisingly juicy morsel that kept meat on its bones by updating its telephone service (c. 1989 AD) to a digital platform for trailers, news, and ticketing. 

But, if it’s a smaller snack than it once was, it’s an affordable one at $23m — a far cry from its $388m price tag in 1999. 

The deal is a real-life horror show for theaters

Increasing MP market share is catastrophic for theaters like AMC — where a single movie costs $13.69, compared to the $7.95 monthly subscription.

MoviePass’ 2m subscribers already account for 7% of movie ticket purchases — and Moviefone’s 6m users will drive that proportion higher. 

Movie theater popcorn won’t fill up this data-vore

Some theater chains have inked defensive deals with MoviePass, but HMNY wants more than just theaters. Operating at a loss, they plan to use location data to woo ride-sharing and restaurant partners.

At a panel called “Data is the New Oil: How Will MoviePass Monetize It?” CEO Mitch Lowe proclaimed, “We know your home address… we watch how you drive from home to the movies… we know all about you.”

But for the price, many movie junkies don’t seem to mind. Plus, Lowe said he would never sell your data…

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