The move was disclosed this morning in an SEC filing, which did not identify Benson’s new employment opportunity. “The company plans to initiate a search for, and hire, a new Chief Financial Officer as soon as practicable,” the filing said.
Whoever does come in as the top finance exec at the company will face a situation that cannot be described as stable. After a turbulent 2018, the company so far in 2019 has been delisted from the Nasdaq and has announced a restatement of its last quarterly results, saying it miscounted subscribers in a way that exaggerated revenue and minimized losses. The company’s previous model, which proved unsustainable, enabled subscribers to see up to one movie per day, for a flat $10 a month. MoviePass then burned through tens of millions in cash per month to fulfill subscriber ticket orders, leaving it in shaky financial shape. Its stock has traded at about a penny per share for months.
Earlier this week, EVP Khalid Itum exited MoviePass just months after being elevated to head of day-to-day operations at the company. CEO Mitch Lowe is now overseeing operations as opposed to the more strategic role the company had envisioned for him when it announced Itum’s promotion last December.
While rival movie subscription services introduced by AMC and Cinemark, in addition to a host of other strategic issues, have squeezed the subscription revenue MoviePass, the outfit maintains there is a clear path forward. It plans to continue producing and financing films and building out Moviefone, which it acquired from Verizon. A spinoff is planned of the MoviePass business from the rest of Helios, which is a data analytics concern with operations outside of the entertainment industry.