After months of speculation on who would purchase VUDU from Walmart, the answer is now clear… Fandango (NBCUniversal).
Vudu, the digital movie and TV unit of Walmart, is being acquired by NBCUniversal’s Fandango division.
Founded in 2004 and acquired by Walmart in 2010, Vudu offers about 10,000 free movie and TV titles through a streaming service. It also enables the rental and purchase of some 150,000 titles, including new releases.
The news was confirmed Sunday night in a blog post on Vudu’s website. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Comcast and NBCU had been reported to be in talks earlier this year to acquire Vudu, a deal that gives the company another streaming outlet as it integrates Xumo and also rolls out Peacock, which just went live for Comcast subscribers.
Fandango, which began in 2000 as a movie ticketing venture backed by several exhibition circuits, has evolved into a much broader consumer offering as it continues to provide ticketing and movie information. It launched FandangoNow in 2016 after acquiring streaming outlet M-GO.
The Vudu acquisition fits the larger direction of things at NBCU, especially with theatrical moviegoing sidelined by coronavirus. The entertainment division, working with its Philadelphia colleagues in broadband and pay-TV distribution, recently has pivoted to streaming for major film releases including Trolls World Tour.
In an FAQ posted to the Vudu site, the company said streaming service FandangoNow and Vudu will not be combined but will coexist for the near term. “Our priority is to ensure that Vudu customers and partners are given the highest level of service during this time of transition,” it said. “So, there will be no immediate changes to either service. In the months ahead, we will explore ways to bring great online entertainment experiences to our valued customers.”Streaming activity continues apace across the industry, with Disney and WarnerMedia joining NBCU in mounting direct-to-consumer efforts, and ViacomCBS and Fox Corp. bulking up ad-supported assets. Viacom bought Pluto TV in early 2019. Fox is in talks to acquire Tubi TV, another major AVOD platform.