What is Moviepass?

I am an old marketing and PR guy by trade. So when I look at a product or business I am constantly breaking them down by what is the unique value prop being offered.

Moviepass has changed their value prop from being an impossibly great deal, to being a sort of, but not very, cool way to see some movies cheaper. Including some hassles. It’s not exactly a “take my money” kind of offer anymore. But it also doesn’t totally suck. It is somewhere oddly in between.

For the $9.95 price you get to see three decent movies a month, albeit on Moviepass’s schedule and at the location they allow. Some movies are almost impossible to see. Sometimes there are no movies you can see if you have already seen the two movies being offered that day. Very oddly, annual subscriptions are different than the monthly subscriptions as they still theoretically allow a movie a day, although it is almost impossible to see a movie a day. And even more complicated is that if there is a partner theater nearby the service can be great.

In other words, Moviepass has a insanely complicated value proposition that will likely only appeal to bargain seekers and to cheapskate moviegoers in areas where there is no partner theaters nearby.

It is for sure a marketing challenge for the company. The WOM marketing is totally ruined by all the changes back and forth and the bait and switch on the offer, and now the bizarre complexity of the Value Proposition that remains.

Maybe they will be able grow the number of partnered theaters to a point where they can be a viable option with a coverage map that looks better than the early days of cell phones.

I am sure that independent theaters are missing all that Moviepass business they once had. But at the same time they likely realize they were just taking advantage of a one time bonanza that was bound to end sooner or later. For the old guard, they never really believed Moviepass was reinvigorating interest in going to the theater. Rather they felt like Moviepass was just making movies essentially free for some people, and they were having a heyday like kids in a free candy store.

As it is now, the company can hardly explain what their core service is and why a consumer would care. The CEO said in his last interview that their top competitor offers essentially the same thing now. Which of course is stupid, as AMC’s offer is actually better but more expensive.

When you have a CEO who can’t articulate a reason to buy its core product. And his basic appeal to consumers is “we have fans and it is a movement” you know things have pretty much hit rock bottom.

It’s all made worse by his public appeal to ask consumers to demand Moviepass at their local theater. In other words, we have not been able to convey a value proposition to potential partners that makes sense, so maybe you stranded Moviepass customers could do the job for us?

What a mess it has all become. If Ted and Mitch have pocket aces, they should play them soon. Otherwise fold already! it’s just getting more and more embarrassing.

Ted Farnsworth – HMNY CEO – Interview on Laura INGRAHAM Show

I don’t know what to say about this interview with Ted Farnsworth and Paul Viollis who was subbing for Ingraham on the podcast.   I can only think that Ted knows this guy somehow, or maybe Viollis owes him a favor?   Or maybe it is a paid placement type of interview.

It’s just a bizarre interview really.  Viollis throws softballs, and Ted does a bad job of answering the easy questions.  Ted needs so much help with his interview skills.  I honestly wish the company would allow me to spend the day with the guy to give him a 101 on how to do a decent interview.   He’s one of the very worst CEO interviewers I have seen – or in the case heard.

Ted if you are reading this- a few tips for you for free here buddy!

Rule #1 .  You NEVER say.  “You know” as filler space in an interview.  You have a very bad habit of saying.  You know, you know.  Over and over again.  You don’t even do that.  First, because it makes you the interviewee look like YOU DON’T KNOW, or you can’t adequately explain whatever it is you are trying to communicate.   Second, if the interviewer did know, they would not have been asking you the question in the first place.  You just never say “you know” in a professional interview or talk.  It makes you sound stupid and unprofessional.

Rule #2.  When quoting numerical or other facts about your business – know your numbers and be very specific.  Don’t say things like “we started with 20,000 or whatever it was”.   You are the CEO for Christ’s sake!  – it is YOUR f’ing job to know what the numbers were, what they are now, and to the extent possible what they will be in the future.  Your company is struggling because it screwed up numbers.  Don’t demonstrate to the world that you can’t do numbers in your interviews!

Rule #3 – Be situationally aware.  Ted as CEO, you need to show some empathy you are sitting over a company that has been totally wiped out of stockholder value, precisely because you did not really know your numbers.  So if your objective in doing an interview like this is to build confidence with your stockholders & customers, you will want to demonstrate you are aware of what has happened and have some viable explanation beyond simple cliches like.  “Stocks go up and go down” and the classic “we don’t watch the stock price everyday”.  That bullshit works with normal stocks that sway in a 20-25% range on a various news events.  It does not work when a stock has been wiped out 99.99% in 2.5  months.  That kind of drop requires an more detailed explanation.   When your company has customers being scared away from buying your product because they think you are going out of business, you just simply have to be more direct and detailed about what went wrong and what you are doing to fix it.  Explain it like you are telling a 1st grader.  Seriously – you have to do that in cases like this.  You can be succinct, but you have to demonstrate you know what went wrong and have a real plan to fix it.

Rule #4 – Don’t mention your competition by name.  If you do, you sure is hell should say specifically why you are better than them.   DON’T say AMC copied us and they have pretty much the same thing.  TERRIBLE comment!  You say AMC has a subscription that costs double ours, and can only be used at 23% of the theaters in the country.  We are half as much and can be used at 91% of the theaters, and our limits satisfy more than 85% of all moviegoers movie consumption.

Ted – if you are reading this. And I know you do from time to time.  Please contact me, I can help you!   I really can.  Your PR team is horrible, you are not well prepared for your interviews, you do not have the right sound bites, and you are not getting enough practice prior to your interviews to be any good at this.

HMNY has Been Left for Dead

The obituaries are in. No significant new press stories have been written in the past few days. There’s really nothing much left to be said.

The Moviepass product is now a strange shell of what made the product interesting in the first place. There’s little left the company could do to reduce the experience further, short of having no movies available at all, it’s now about as bare bones as you can get.

It’s especially odd, in that if Moviepass would have started out in the very low end space with a similar offer to what they have now, it maybe could have built it into a loyal cult following of theater lovers and cheapskates who were looking for a way to get a great deal on seeing a few movies a month.

But with the massive overpromise and under delivery of service, instead Moviepass has about a million consumer haters and thousands of burned investors who loath the company.

More important though the company has now been totally left for dead. The press has nothing left to say, even the mop up stories on how the company failed are getting old and tired now. The stock wipeout is complete but for .03 pennies.

Basically the disaster is done, like hurricanes Ivan, Katrina, Wilma and Dean – they are huge wipeouts that folks prefer to forget about and move on.

Now for Moviepass, what is left is some possibility of rebuilding. Maybe even a possible revenge to theaters and studios who shunned them and killed their potential.

But for now, it is just the silence after the storm. Counting the dead bodies and adding up the damage.

I have seen this with other stocks. Many regroup, find their niche and rise from the ashes. Others fade away forever to obscurity.

Moviepass I think will course for a mighty return. But it will take many months. For now it will sit lying, waiting for the next big dramatic move. It will strike out again I believe . I don’t see this company going quietly into the night.

HMNY – The Stock That Makes No Cents or Sense – Some Fun With Numbers

636 Million shares -Market Cap $18.5M

It was another painful week for HMNY shareholders.  The completion of the total stockholder wipeout seems almost complete.  This truly is the stock that never makes sense or cents.

The numbers are all insane but can be fun to think about and play with.  Let’s look at a few of them together!

  • The company is currently valued at approximately $18.5 Million Dollars. You could own all of  MoviePass for about the same price as this 2 Bed 3 Bath Central Park Condo .  Interestingly – there are 194 properties listed in NYC that are now more expensive than Moviepass – or HMNY the entire company.
  • There’s the possibility that approximately 4.5 Billion more shares could be sold into the market.  That would be enough shares to give every single person in China 3.26 shares.
  • If the management did unleash 5 Billion Total Shares – And the stock maintained its current price of .03 cents per share – The Market Cap would be $150 Millon Dollars.  That amount could afford you this nice yacht!
  • If all of the remaining 4.5B Shares were dumped at .03 cents – it would raise only $135 Million dollars.  Not chump change, but that’s a lot of shares to get that kind of money, It is at least enough to buy 13 Million more Movie Tickets! 
  •  The last Bruce Willis film “Death Wish” Grossed $48.6 Million at the box office.  And apparently, it is doing great downstream – helping MGM boost domestic in-home film revenues higher.  The film was a flop with critics but will end up making a nice profit over its total lifetime.  With a  budget of $30 Million, the film will likely profit above the $20 Million – or more than the total price of buying all of MoviePass.  

Could Bruce save MoviePass with 10 Minutes Gone – or will MoviePass be gone in 10 Minutes?  We don’t yet know.

MoviePass is an enigma.  A riddle unsolved.  It’s cheap and it’s very expensive.  The numbers are huge, and they are also so tiny.  It is dead, and it is very much still alive.


The Meg

It is smoky as hell here in Eastern Washington. Add to that it’s near 100 Degrees Fahrenheit, and there’s not even a slight breeze. It’s like living inside a smoker. The smoke from the 600+ wildfires in the the state, combined with smoke drifting in from B.C., Oregon and California is making this one of the worst summers on record for air pollution.

As a result you are constantly reminded to stay indoors and don’t do anything strenuous outside. It chokes off the fun here, and you start to go cabin fever crazy.

One of the best activities for people to get out of the house is go to the movies. So now at he risk of being one of those crazy hogs, I decided to go to the theater for my third day in a row.

It was time to suck it up and see “The Meg”. One of the 2 movies offered. I figured I could maybe see BlackkKlansman some other time.

That probably proved to be a bad decision. The best thing I can say about The Meg is that there was no smoke inside the theater. I would have gladly sat through any movie today, just to breath some commercially filtered cool smoke free air, but the Meg has it’s own bad smell.

This was a seriously goofy movie. The most interesting part was the heavy Chinese influence on the film. It is actually fun to see how the Chinese are adapting with Hollywood and making it their own. They are now well on their way to copying the lame action film formula Hollywood has been spitting out for the past few decades and doing it all on their own, tailored to China, but workable worldwide. It won’t be long before China doesn’t need Hollywood at all. This film demonstrated that both with its plot, and with its delivery.

All the standard stunts are there, the special effects, the goofy heroics, the preposterous storyline.

There is some fantastic Chinese propaganda featuring a villain billionaire who is an American immoral tech billionaire capitalistic pig who is willing to destroy the planet to make a buck off an important scientific discovery.

The Hero’s of the story are a Chinese super family and a hunky Australian, Jason Statham, who comes out of of his Asian escapist retirement to save the beautiful Chinese daughter, not once, but in three separate occasions. The only other obvious American includes a silly overweight black character who does ocean research for a living but does not know how to swim. He is saved in one scene by the calming you young granddaughter of the Chinese family who is 8 years old, and reminds the panicked goofball to calm down he has a life jacket on, and splashing will attract the shark.

The diversity of the cast is actually really nice, and more realistic and representative of the global world we live in now. That did not help the bad acting, the stupid plot, campiness and the overall unsurprising shark attack scenes.

In the end the surviving cast members are hauled off on a giant yacht clearly waving a Chinese flag. It was a fitting end from a Hollywood/Chinese made film and a salute to Hollywood that China can take it from here.

The movie got me out of the smoke for a while. And because of Moviepass it didn’t cost me anything.

As I left the theater, I noticed again how empty the place has become. The concession line is dead. There were five employees in the lobby milling around chatting, doing nothing.

The place is a far cry from when Moviepass was going full tilt. I can only imagine the level of sales decline at this theater is near catastrophic. The Moviepass hangover, that was feared by theater owners, now looks to be setting in.

I couldn’t help thinking to myself, if Moviepass dies, this theater will be damaged, maybe beyond repair.