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MoviePass Auditor Raises ‘Substantial Doubt’ About Subscription Business

An independent auditor has raised “substantial doubt” about MoviePass’s ability to continue operating as “a going concern” in financial documents made public by Helios & Matheson Analytics, the subscription service’s parent company.

In addition, Helios & Matheson revealed that it has lost $150.8 million in 2017, which it ascribed to its acquisition of MoviePass. Helios & Matheson CEO Ted Farnsworth told Business Insider that $110 million of the loss is non-cash. It’s still a much bigger number than the loss of $7.4 million that the company reported before it acquired MoviePass.

Revenues for the company were approximately $10.4 million, up from roughly $6.8 million for 2016.  As of December, Helios & Matheson said there was $54.4 million of deferred revenue related to MoviePass subscriptions.

Helios & Matheson said that MoviePass will have a need for additional funding and will have net losses for the foreseeable future. In a recent interview with Variety, MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe predicted that the company will be profitable by 2019. Farnsworth also said he had sufficient financial resources at his disposal to tide MoviePass over until it is in the black. He said that he had raised $280 million and secured a $375 million line of credit since buying MoviePass in August.

In the report, the company’s auditor Rosenberg Rich Baker Berman & Co. notes that Helios & Matheson “has suffered recurring losses from operations and negative cash flows from operating activities,” adding that “this raises substantial doubt about the company’s ability to continue as a going concern.”

MoviePass has attracted more than 2 million subscribers since slashing prices and offering a monthly plan for $9.95. Users can see a movie-a-day in return for signing up for the service. MoviePass pays most theaters full price for the tickets its subscribers buy, meaning it is heavily subsidizing movie-going — a strategy that the company acknowledges is leading to losses.

“MoviePass currently spends more to retain a subscriber than the revenue derived from that subscriber and MoviePass other sources of revenue are currently inadequate to offset or exceed the costs of subscriber retention,” the filing reads. “This results in a negative gross profit margin. MoviePass expects its negative gross profit margin to remain significant until MoviePass can sufficiently increase its other sources of revenues to offset the losses or achieve substantial economies of scale.”

Helios & Matheson said that at the end of the year it had $24.9 million in cash-on-hand and approximately $27.5 million in accounts receivable. Shares of the company were down 2.75% in pre-market trading at $3.85. Shares of Helios & Matheson rose last week after Verizon disclosed that it had purchased a 9% stake in the company.

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