MoviePass acquires Moviefone to amass more subscribers

Subscription-based company MoviePass is acquiring Moviefone from Oath, it has been revealed. The deal was struck between MoviePass's majority owner Helios and Matheson Analytics and Verizon subsidiary Oath. Moviefone, once a highly popular movie information service worth hundreds of millions, was purchased for a mere $1 million cash with a couple million common shares tossed in, according to a document filed with the SEC.

Moviefone was launched in 1989, enabling anyone to call a number to get information about movie showtimes and more. The service grew to massive popularity, being the source of an entire episode of Seinfeld, for example. AOL had acquired the service back in 1999 for a relatively huge $388 million, putting its current $1 million acquisition value into perspective. Moviefone shut down its iconic 777-FILM information line in 2014 due to very low demand.

The company didn't fold, however, setting its focus on mobile apps instead. Presently, Moviefone has around 6 million users per month; combine that with the name likeness and relatively inexpensive price tag, and it's easy to see why MoviePass made a move for the business. If you've guessed that MoviePass acquired Moviefone to target the latter company's users as potential new subscribers, you're right.

In a statement, MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe explained the reasoning behind the new deal:

This natural alignment between MoviePass and Moviefone will help us grow our subscriber base significantly and expand our marketing and advertising platform for our studio and brand partners. Moviefone has been a go-to resource for entertainment enthusiasts for years, and we're excited to bolster its presence and bring this iconic platform into the entertainment ecosystem of the future.

MoviePass recently attempted to lure new subscribers with a temporary price cut, which reduced the current $9.95/month subscription rate to under seven dollars, the catch being that you had to pay for a year's subscription up front. The company's long term plans include roping vendors into the ecosystem that is in-theater movie viewing, something that may involve tracking users.

SOURCE: BusinessWire