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Why Helios and Matheson Stock Just Fell Off a Cliff -- Again

Rich Smith, The Motley Fool

What happened

Helios and Matheson Analytics (NASDAQ: HMNY) -- owner of the MoviePass all-you-can-watch movie subscription service -- is seeing its stock tumble yet again on Thursday. At only 3 p.m. EDT, with still an hour to go in the trading day, Helios stock was already down 28.1%.

It only has itself to blame.

Four young people with shocked expressions are eating popcorn and watching a movie.

You'll never guess what MoviePass just did. Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Helios's MoviePass subsidiary announced a major change to its business model 10 days ago. Instead of allowing subscribers to watch one movie a day, every day of the month, and any movie they liked, for a $9.99 monthly fee -- with substantial restrictions -- it would revamp its business model and restrict subscribers to seeing only three movies a month, but without the restrictions. In so doing, MoviePass cut its financial obligation to pay for movie tickets by as much as 90% -- from 30 movies a month to just three.

That should have been enough to save the business, but apparently it isn't.

Earlier this afternoon, MoviePass sent out an email informing subscribers that, on top of the rollback previously described, it's now also limiting users to choosing among "up to" six films a day to see, and with only "limited" showtimes available for each.

To illustrate what that means in practice, my own MoviePass app is showing just one film option available today -- which I guess does technically meet the definition of "up to" six.

Now what

What's it mean for investors? Apparently, even cutting its financial obligation by "up to" 90% wasn't enough to save MoviePass's business. It's got to make even deeper cuts to survive, even if that means gutting the value of the service it provides to its members.

This is bound to anger MoviePass subscribers, inspire cancellations, and curtail subscriber growth. And as today's share price decline shows, MoviePass's latest vote of no confidence in its business model's viability isn't winning it any fans among investors, either.

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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.