People Love MoviePass’s Prices. That’s Why It Might Not Survive

May 9, 2018, 8:50 AM UTC

Ever thought the $9.95 price tag on MoviePass’s monthly service was too good to be true? You were right.

MoviePass parent company Helios & Matheson (HMNY) said in a Tuesday SEC filing that the company had just $15.5 million in cash as of the end of April. Meanwhile, the company has been spending $21.7 million on average each month over the last seven months, far outspending the amount coming in.

Based on Gizmodo’s calculations, even if cash flow rates hold steady and merchants paid money owed immediately, MoviePass “has almost exactly two months before it starts going into the red without raising additional funding.”

By the close of trading, the company’s shares dropped 32% and sparked new concerns of MoviePass’s ability to stay afloat. It’s no surprise that the model is unsustainable: for $9.95 a month, the service allowed subscribers to see a different movie in cinemas every day of the month—while the company continued to pay the full ticket price to the theater.

Nevertheless, Helios & Matheson has not yet given up hope. Bloomberg suggests that the company hopes to continue to build the MoviePass subscriber base to a point where it can “better capitalize on its customers,” through the likes of partnerships or selling its users data. The goal is to reach 5 million subscribers, all while continuing to bolster efforts to stem losses.

Helios & Matheson CEO Ted Farnsworth told Bloomberg that he’s confident the company will survive into the summer and will work to raise more money “by selling more stock or by borrowing the cash.” But the SEC filing presented a more pessimistic outlook: it called the MoviePass business model “highly uncertain,” and conceded that “we are unable to estimate the actual funds we will require.”

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