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MoviePass auditor has doubts about the company’s business model after significant losses

MoviePass is reportedly burning through its funding, even as it continues to grow. An independent auditor for MoviePass’s owner, Helios and Matheson Analytics, said it had “substantial doubt” about the company’s ability to remain in business, according to a report from Business Insider.

In Helios and Matheson’s annual report, the auditor writes that MoviePass has “negative cash flows from operating activities,” according to BI. While it’s very common for startups to operate at a loss, the concerns dampen MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe’s earlier predictions that the company would be “cash-flow positive” by 2019.

Helios and Matheson CEO Ted Farnsworth told BI that MoviePass needs to raise more money to remain in business, which MoviePass has already relayed to investors.

The subscription service, which allows users to see one movie per day at participating theaters for a flat rate, launched in 2011, but it ballooned in size after it dropped its prices dramatically in 2017.

In February, the company reported it had grown to more than 2 million subscribers. In August 2017, MoviePass sold a majority stake to Helios and Matheson and shifted its pricing model, from a tiered rate beginning at £15 to a flat monthly rate of £9.95.

The price drop lured thousands of new subscribers, especially in big cities where the cost of a single movie ticket is often higher than MoviePass’s monthly cost. At the end of last year, the company announced it had more than 1 million subscribers. The Verge‘s Nick Statt saw 14 movies for just under £30 in San Francisco with MoviePass, when it would’ve normally cost him an equal amount to see just two movies.

But that also means that MoviePass is losing money on every ticket purchase because it pays the theaters full price.

“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 report 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.”

Currently, MoviePass’ movie-a-day model is unavailable to new subscribers, because the company is promoting iHeartRadio with a bundled subscription, which only allows for four movies a month. A MoviePass representative says the previous version of MoviePass will eventually be available to new subscribers again.

Over the past few months, MoviePass has offered a few different explanations as to how it plans to make money.

Last year, Lowe told Variety that the company needed to get more subscribers in places like “Kansas City and Omaha,” where average ticket prices are lower than in Manhattan and LA. Farnsworth told Wired that MoviePass can sell the data it obtains for targeted marketing efforts for movie studios. In the past, MoviePass has sent subscribers promotional emails and push notifications for movies like I, Tonya and Death Wish, while blocking movies like Red Sparrow for users in some markets.

The company also seems to be banking on user loyalty and trying to use its subscribers as leverage for revenue-sharing with big theater chains like AMC. According to Deadline, MoviePass has been trying to get a £3 cut of tickets it sells at AMC theaters, plus 20 percent of concession profits. But, as The Verge‘s Bryan Bishop wrote in January, MoviePass’ claims about its importance to theaters have been significantly overstated.

Helios and Matheson reported a loss of £150.8 million for the last financial year, compared to just £7.4 million in 2016.

Farnsworth told BI the “gross loss” was really only £10 million cash, and the rest was in “derivative accounting.”

One passenger dead after Southwest Airlines flight makes an emergency landing

A Southwest flight en route from New York City to Dallas made an emergency landing in Philadelphia after one of its engines blew out, shattering a window, leaving one passenger dead and injuring seven others. One female passenger was almost sucked out of the plane after the explosion caused a depressurization, the passenger’s father told MSNBC. It is unclear, though, whether she was the passenger that ultimately died.

National Traffic Safety Board chairman Robert Sumwalt said in a news conference that the passenger’s death was the first fatality for a US airline in nine years. (Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crashed in San Francisco in 2013, leaving three passengers dead.)

NTSB Chairman Sumwalt conducts media briefing prior to boarding flight to Philadelphia for investigation of Southwest engine incident. pic.twitter.com/s182tnpWSN

— NTSB_Newsroom (@NTSB_Newsroom) April 17, 2018

The cabin suddenly lost pressure at 30,000 feet when engine debris pierced the window and flight attendants were crying, one passenger said in an interview with Bloomberg.

Some passengers on Southwest 1380 posted frightening images on Twitter of the aftermath of the emergency landing.

Images showed an extremely damaged engine, as well as a shattered cabin window with exposed insulation.

Developing…

Lloyds to shut another 49 bank branches: are you affected?

Lloyds Banking Group has announced plans to shut another 49 bank branches this year, in addition to the 49 it announced in 2017. It also revealed 1,230 job cuts, although this is being offset by the creation of 925 new roles, putting overall job losses at 305. The move brings the total number of bank branch closures in 2018 to 418 and a staggering 1,944 since 2015.

Why is Lloyds cutting more branches?

The cuts will impact customers of Lloyds Bank and Halifax, with closures due to take place between July and October this year. A spokesman for Lloyds said that ‘these branch closures are in response to changing behaviour and the reduced number of transactions being made in branches.’ ‘We are also announcing that our mobile branch service will be expanded to support customers in more locations with the introduction of seven new mobile branches.

‘This will bring the total number of mobile branches to 36 which will serve over 180 communities. All branches announced for closure have a Post Office within short walking distance so customers can still access their banking locally.’ This follows another wave of closures for 2018.

So far this year, RBS/NatWest and Ulster Bank are closing 269 branches, Barclays closing 43 and Yorkshire Building Society closing eight branches. Lloyds first announced the closure of 49 branches in December 2017. Some 49 are due to close, with 11 closing in Scotland, two closing in Wales and the remaining 36 to close across England.

The table below shows the latest round of closures.

BRAND CLOSING BRANCH Region Constituency Lloyds Alford Midlands & East Louth and Horncastle Lloyds Bishops Cleeve Central & South Tewkesbury Lloyds Bovey Tracey Wales & West Central Devon Lloyds Bridgend Industrial Estate Wales & West Bridgend Lloyds Brierley Hill Midlands & East Dudley South Lloyds Brightlingsea Midlands & East Harwich and North Essex Lloyds Butler Place Greater London Cities of London and Westminster Lloyds Chatteris Midlands & East North East Cambridgeshire Lloyds Clare Midlands & East South Suffolk Lloyds Cockermouth North Workington Lloyds Colchester University Of Essex Midlands & East Harwich and North Essex Lloyds Coningsby Midlands & East Louth and Horncastle Lloyds Cricklade Central & South North Wiltshire Lloyds Croydon George St Greater London Croydon Central Lloyds Dawlish Wales & West Newton Abbot Lloyds East Wittering Central & South Chichester Lloyds Frinton-on-Sea Midlands & East Clacton Lloyds Hassocks Central & South Arundel and South Downs Lloyds Hednesford Midlands & East Cannock Chase Lloyds Henley-in-Arden Central & South Stratford-on-Avon Lloyds Hull Derringham North Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle Lloyds Keswick North Copeland Lloyds Lakenheath Midlands & East West Suffolk Lloyds Ledbury Wales & West North Herefordshire Lloyds Mablethorpe Midlands & East Louth and Horncastle Lloyds Midhurst Central & South Chichester Lloyds Ottery St Mary Wales & West East Devon Lloyds Plymouth Southway Wales & West Plymouth, Moor View Lloyds Royton North Oldham West and Royton Lloyds Rye Greater London Hastings and Rye Lloyds Selsey Central & South Chichester Lloyds Soham Midlands & East South East Cambridgeshire Lloyds St Leonards-on-Sea Silverhill Greater London Hastings and Rye Lloyds Stalybridge North Stalybridge and Hyde Lloyds Stevenage High St Midlands & East Stevenage Lloyds Teddington Greater London Twickenham Lloyds Upton-upon-Severn Wales & West West Worcestershire Lloyds Watton Midlands & East Mid Norfolk Lloyds Wealdstone Greater London Harrow West Lloyds West Ealing Greater London Ealing, Southall Lloyds Wingham Greater London South Thanet Halifax Chester St Werburgh North West, NI & Scotland City of Chester Halifax Harold Hill Greater London Hornchurch and Upminster Halifax Knightsbridge Greater London Cities of London and Westminster Halifax Portswood South Southampton, Test Halifax Preston Orchard St North West, NI & Scotland Preston Halifax Sowerby Bridge North Halifax Halifax Walsall Park St Central & Wales Walsall South Halifax York Davygate North York Central

This additional table shows all of Lloyds Banking Group’s closures announced in 2017.

Bank Branch Constituency Region When? Halifax Cardiff Capitol Cardiff Central Wales March Halifax Guiseley Pudsey Yorkshire and The Humber March Halifax Liverpool Bold Street Liverpool, Riverside North West May Halifax Norwich St Stephens Norwich South East of England March Halifax Wealdstone Harrow East London Ferbruary Halifax Yarm Stockton South North East March Bank of Scotland Alva Ochil and South Perthshire Scotland April Bank of Scotland Bridge of Allan Stirling Scotland February Bank of Scotland Carnoustie Dundee East Scotland April Bank of Scotland Dalmuir West Dunbartonshire Scotland March Bank of Scotland Denny Falkirk Scotland February Bank of Scotland Edinburgh Piershill Edinburgh East Scotland March Bank of Scotland Giffnock East Renfrewshire Scotland February Bank of Scotland Glasgow Scotstoun Glasgow North West Scotland March Bank of Scotland Lochgelly Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath Scotland February Bank of Scotland Prestwick Central Ayrshire Scotland March Bank of Scotland Stirling Munro Road Stirling Scotland February Lloyds Acle Broadland East of England May Lloyds Avenue, Southampton Southampton, Test South East March Lloyds Banner Cross Sheffield, Hallam Yorkshire and The Humber February Lloyds Billingshurst Horsham South East May Lloyds Bingham Newark East Midlands May Lloyds Broomhill Sheffield Sheffield Central Yorkshire and The Humber March Lloyds Bungay Waveney East of England May Lloyds Burslem Stoke-on-Trent North West Midlands April Lloyds Codsall South Staffordshire West Midlands February Lloyds Coulsdon Croydon South London February Lloyds Crowthorne Bracknell South East April Lloyds Cullompton Tiverton and Honiton South West April Lloyds Faringdon Wantage South East June Lloyds Great Shelford South Cambridgeshire East of England February Lloyds Halesworth Suffolk Coastal East of England May Lloyds Hornsea Beverley and Holderness Yorkshire and The Humber June Lloyds Hythe Folkestone and Hythe South East May Lloyds Larkfield Chatham and Aylesford South East March Lloyds Llandeilo Carmarthen East and Dinefwr Wales May Lloyds Moulsham Street, Chelmsford Chelmsford East of England March Lloyds Norwich Surrey St Norwich South East of England March Lloyds Perivale Ealing North London March Lloyds Petts Wood Orpington London March Lloyds Pocklington East Yorkshire Yorkshire and The Humber June Lloyds Poole Commercial Rd Poole South West April Lloyds Ripon Skipton and Ripon Yorkshire and The Humber June Lloyds Rochester Rochester and Strood South East April Lloyds Rottingdean Brighton, Kemptown South East March Lloyds Sandwich South Thanet South East March Lloyds Southwold Suffolk Coastal East of England May Lloyds Wilton Salisbury South West March Lloyds Woolston Southampton, Itchen South East March

What’s driving the wave of branch closures?

Banks argue that fewer and fewer customers are using branches. In an exclusive interview with Which?[1], RBS chief executive Ross McEwan said that the number of people visiting branches had fallen by 40%, while use of mobile and online banking had soared. Banks are increasingly telling customers to use the Post Office network to do their face-to-face banking, where they can pay in and withdraw money.

Many are offering mobile branches, such as vans, to visit communities hardest hit by branch closures.

Lloyds has pledged to expand its mobile branch network by another seven, to 36 in total.

References

  1. ^ exclusive interview with Which? (www.which.co.uk)

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