What happened

Helios and Matheson Analytics (NASDAQ:HMNY) shares surged 21.8% in early Thursday trading before settling down to something more like a 5.2% gain as of 11:25 a.m. EDT. The reason: MoviePass is turning itself into an online version of the "coupon book."

Door-to-door salesman.

Knock, knock! Has MoviePass got a deal for you? Image source: Getty Images.

So what

You know what a coupon book is, right? The doorbell rings on a lazy Sunday afternoon. You open the door to find a couple of teenagers trying to sell you a $10 book of coupons worth "hundreds of dollars of discounts to local businesses" to finance their glee club field trip to Washington, D.C. -- that's a coupon book.

Now Helios is creating its own version of that old fundraising scheme. In a press release just out, the company says that its MoviePass subsidiary will partner with "on-demand delivery" service Postmates to sell "Postmates delivery credits, a week-long free trial of subscription service, Postmates Unlimited, and a credit toward one month of MoviePass" in a bundle deal. This, says Helios CEO Ted Farnsworth, will be the first step in transforming MoviePass from an increasingly unpopular movie subscription service into "a 'club' [where members] are rewarded through discounts on services with MoviePass partnerships."

Presumably, it will also involve some revenue sharing with MoviePass, should any customers take it up on the offer to try out Postmates.

Now what

MoviePass is characterizing its latest cross-marketing venture as a way to "continually enhance the value of the MoviePass subscription for our subscribers," and investors today are grasping at this straw of a press release in hopes it'll prove substantial enough to keep MoviePass's business afloat.

As for me, I suspect MoviePass's latest plan to save its business will receive pretty much the same reception as those teenagers knocking at the door. Thanks for the offer, MoviePass, but...pass.

Rich Smith has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.