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Ticketing firm Fandango acquires Vudu to bolster streaming services

Fandango, the Comcast-owned tertiary cinema ticketing firm, has agreed to acquire the Walmart-owned streaming service Vudu as it seeks to scale up its transactional video on demand (TVOD) service in response to COVID-19 stay-at-home measures.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed and viewers will not see any immediate changes to either ad-supported streaming service.

Fandango operates its own streaming business FandangoNOW, which saw more than 60 million monthly visitors and contained more than 100,000 movies and TV shows as of December 2019.

Vudu, which is owned by Walmart, is currently available on more than 100 million living room devices and the mobile app has more than 14 million downloads. The company will also continue operating the digital movie and TV store on Walmart.com.

Walmart has been looking to sell off Vudu, which it acquired in 2010, since February, though at the time it was said that the talks “may not result in a deal.”

The acquisition has been announced during a time when the COVID-19 pandemic is keeping people at home and increasing the demand for in-home entertainment services. As cinemas across the US and beyond have closed due to the pandemic, film distributors are instead releasing their current titles to be digitally purchased or rented. The move to TVOD services allows film distributors to mitigate some of the losses incurred by the significant fall in ticket revenues.

Fandango said, according to The Verge, it wants to grow its streaming business in scale to reflect its current size as a ticket retailer.

Vudu and FandangoNOW will live within Comcast-owned NBCUniversal’s digital network, where the focus remains on rentals and purchases of newly released films.

Earlier this month, NBCUniversal also soft launched its streaming service Peacock, which will include both ad-supported and ad-free tiers. The Verge said all three streaming services under the NBCU umbrella will remain separate entities with the new partners being designed to complement Peacock.