The data firm’s stock finished at $4.21, its highest level since February but well below the $20 territory it reached last October amid a surge of interest in the monthly subscription movie ticket plan offered by MoviePass. The service has stirred up controversy in the exhibition sector. Major circuit AMC for a time had been banned by MoviePass at certain locations. Other media and tech observers wonder how long the company can fund its operations as it attempts to gain new subscribers.
Verizon’s involvement will clearly help offer some stability. In an SEC filing on Friday, the mobile giant disclosed that it owns 9.3% of the shares outstanding in Helios and Matheson. That makes it the second-largest shareholder next to CEO Theodore Farnsworth. According to recent SEC filings, insiders own nearly 17% of Helios and Matheson, which has data and cloud computing operations, though in media and entertainment circles it is best known for MoviePass.
The two companies are already well-acquainted. Verizon sold early ticketing pioneer Moviefone to Helios and Matheson for an undisclosed amount of cash and equity earlier this month.
In addition to gaining access to 6 million monthly unique visitors to the Moviefone website and app, the transaction was framed as embedding MoviePass more firmly into the infrastructure of the movie business. Certainly investors bidding up the stock are betting that it is beyond a “Netflix of exhibition,” but a tech company capable of energizing the troubled exhibition business through smart deployment of data.
“HMNY’s vision is to have MoviePass support the entire movie theater industry ecosystem — from distribution to exhibition and, now, content,” Farnsworth said in the Moviefone announcement. “Above all, we believe the MovieFone acquisition will serve as another valuable source of revenue for HMNY and MoviePass.”