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Moviefone bought by mystery bidder for just $1 million

Moviefone, the once ubiquitous listings-by-telephone service, has been sold for just $1 million to an unknown buyer.

It was most recently owned by Helios and Matheson, the troubled owner of MoviePass, which filed for bankruptcy in January. Moviefone was bought at auction last week by “Born In Cleveland LLC,” a company without a website, for $1,075,000 according to court documents.

The bargain price tag shows how far Moviefone’s fortunes have fallen because of bungled ownership and the internet. Helios and Matheson bought the service in 2018 for $23 million from Verizon. Former MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe told CNN at the time that he bought the service to access Moviefone’s film and TV show content.

“They’d like to have MoviePass recommend movies to them and Moviefone is iconic,” Lowe said.

AOL, now part of Verizon, bought Moviefone for $388 million in 1999. AOL shut down Moviefone’s 777-FILM phone number in 2014 and moved the service online. Its website is still barely operable and points people to buying movie tickets.

MoviePass was once a revolutionary ticketing service that let people see an unlimited amount of movies for cheap. However, it essentially went belly-up in September 2019 for its unsustainable business model before its parent company liquidated its assets in January.

Article Topic Follows: Biz/Tech

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