Fandango Buys On-Demand Video Service Vudu from Walmart as Streaming Wars Intensify
Sam primarily covers entertainment and media for dot.LA. Previously he was Marjorie Deane Fellow at The Economist, where he wrote for the business and finance sections of the print edition. He has also worked at the XPRIZE Foundation, U.S. Government Accountability Office, KCRW, and MLB Advanced Media (now Disney Streaming Services). He holds an MBA from UCLA Anderson, an MPP from UCLA Luskin and a BA in History from University of Michigan. Email him at samblake@dot.LA and find him on Twitter @hisamblake
Fandango isn't selling many movie tickets as the coronavirus pandemic has shuttered theaters. Now the Beverly Hills-based ticketing company with a streaming arm is growing its streaming footprint by acquiring Vudu, the video-on demand service owned by Walmart.
The deal allows Fandango to further branch out beyond selling tickets to live events amid wide speculation that movie theater chains, which pay Fandango's bills, may be teetering toward bankruptcy as box offices freeze.
Fandango did not release details about the transaction. The company may merge Vudu with its FandangoNow on-demand movie rental business that operates similarly to Apple's iTunes. Doing so would strengthen its competitive position against Amazon and Apple in the Transactional Video On-Demand (TVOD) space.
And Vudu's user base is likely to perceive value in the additional Fandango services. Viewed from that angle, it makes sense that Fandango, which is owned by NBCUniversal, is acquiring Vudu on the heels of NBCU's soft launch last week of Peacock, a primarily advertising-based video on-demand (AVOD) service.
Walmart Inc. acquired Vudu in 2010 with hopes that it would be a hit among its now 265 million weekly retail and e-commerce customers. But with the streaming world increasingly dominated by Netflix and crowded with other services, the Bentonville, Ark.-based company had been shopping Vudu around to potential buyers.
Vudu announced it was being acquired on its blog, calling its new owner "the ultimate digital network for all things movies & TV."
"While there will be many more exciting things to share in the months ahead, nothing about the Vudu experience is changing – your movie & TV library is safe, and you will continue to have access to all your Vudu apps across your favorite devices," the company wrote.
Financial details were not disclosed. The company declined to comment further.
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