21 APR 2020

NBCUNIVERSAL'S FANDANGO TO BUY VUDU FROM WALMART

The retail giant hopes to prioritize the company's core strength of omnichannel retail. As a part of the agreement, Vudu will continue to offer Walmart’s digital movie and TV store on Walmart’s website and NBCUniversal will merge the operations of Vudu and FandangoNow once the deal is sealed.

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As a result of rising competition in the market, movie ticketing company Fandango has agreed to buy Walmart Inc.’s on-demand video streaming service, Vudu. Although the financial details were not disclosed this time around, the company bought Vudu for more than $100 million in 2010. “For us, it’s a combination of scale for our on-demand streaming service and the addition of Vudu talent,” a Fandango spokesperson said. “Vudu has a strong brand presence and customer base. So right now, we’re focusing on making sure that during this transition Vudu customers are taken care of and likewise on the FandangoNOW side. Both businesses will exist for the time being,” they noted.

Vudu now reaches more than 100 million homes devices across the U.S., including smart TVs, Blu-ray players, game consoles and other over-the-top streaming devices, as well as Windows 10 and Mac computers, and iOS and Android mobile devices. As a part of the agreement, the streaming service will continue to power Walmart’s digital movie and TV store on Walmart’s website and Vudu customers will continue to have access to their Vudu library and be able to use their Walmart login and Walmart wallet to make purchases on Vudu. The app on mobile has been installed more than 14.5 million times.

Walmart told TheStreet that the sale was part of a broader effort to prioritize the company's core strength of omni-channel retail. Fandango has operated a competitor to Vudu in the transactional VOD space, FandangoNow, which is based on the digital-storefront biz it in 2016 from DreamWorks Animation and Technicolor. In February, Walmart was reportedly communicating with Comcast’s NBCUniversal over a deal, which would have bolstered NBCU’s newly launched streaming service, Peacock. NBCUniversal is expected to merge the operations of Vudu and FandangoNow once the deal closes, but for now “there will be no immediate changes to either service,” according to the FAQ on Vudu’s site. 

Besides NBCU’s Peacock, other new streaming services include Apple TV+, Disney+, the mobile-only Quibi and WarnerMedia’s upcoming HBO Max. Meanwhile, the Viacom-CBS merger teams two giants on CBS All Access streaming service. Viacom also recently bought free service Plutotv.

 

For us, it’s a combination of scale for our on-demand streaming service and the addition of Vudu talent. Vudu has a strong brand presence and customer base. So right now, we’re focusing on making sure that during this transition Vudu customers are taken care of and likewise on the FandangoNOW side. Both businesses will exist for the time being.” Fandango