Ted Farnsworth started making headlines in 2017 when his company, Helios and Matheson Analytics, acquired a fledgling subscription service called MoviePass. Seeing its potential for growth, Ted applied a unique pricing model of his own creation, lowering the monthly fee from $50 to $9.95 and allowing users to see as much as one movie a day.
At the time, pundits had been dismissing the movie theater industry as dead and buried, citing the rise of movie ticket prices and the growth in popularity of SVOD platforms like Netflix. But Ted knew that the allure of the movie theater was still very much alive, and that with the right incentives he could lure moviegoers back to the theaters. He was right, and MoviePass quickly became the fastest growing subscription service in history, with an increase of one million subscribers within the first three months of his new model.
Ted had big plans for what MoviePass was capable of. Never intending to make money off of the subscription fees, Ted knew the way to generate profits was to leverage and sell user data to better inform future media creation. He was also working on getting theaters to lower ticket prices for MoviePass customers, since they were shown to spend more money on concessions than the average moviegoer.
In addition, Ted wanted the future of MoviePass to include the financing and distribution of new movies, and become fully embedded in every aspect of the movie theater industry. This began with a partnership with Emmett Furla Oasis Films to create the production house MoviePass Films, which went on to produce several successful movies.
Unfortunately, Tedâ€™s thoughtful and innovative growth model met an early demise when multiple theaters like AMC introduced their own subscription platforms to compete with MoviePass, and thus flooded the market. In addition to this setback, fraudulent customers were continuously sharing passwords with non-subscribers, and with a barrage of setbacks, MoviePass was forced to shutter its operations in 2019. Though Tedâ€™s broader plans for MoviePass did not pan out, his now often-imitated subscription model proved to be successful, and his innovation led to his commanding presence in the world of digital media marketing and entertainment.