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NBCUniversal-owned movie ticketing company Fandango has agreed to buy streaming video service Vudu from Walmart.
The deal will allow Fandango to bolster its 4-year-old digital movie marketplace, FandangoNow. Terms of the deal, which is expected to close in the next couple of months, were not disclosed.
Walmart began shopping Vudu after deciding not to pursue a more aggressive push into the competitive subscription streaming business. The Hollywood Reporter reported in February that NBCUniversal was eyeing the property, which allows people to buy and rent more than 100,000 movies and shows online and via connected TV services. Vudu, which launched in 2004 and sold to Walmart in 2010, also offers a number of titles for free streaming. Walmart says Vudu is available on 100 million living room devices and that its mobile app has had more than 14 million installs.
In 2019, Walmart explored creating an Amazon Prime-style Vudu subscription video product but ultimately never moved forward with those plans. The company did, however, make a small foray into original video, forming a joint venture with interactive media company Eko and ordering a handful of shows include a reboot of Mr. Mom.
The deal comes a few days after Comcast’s NBCUniversal soft-launched streaming service Peacock for certain cable customers. The platform will launch widely July 15. Ahead of the bow, the company purchased ad-supported streaming service Xumo.
But by acquiring Vudu via its Fandango division, NBCU is signaling that the service will add to the FandangoNow offering. That service, which was created after the acquisition of digital storefront M-Go, provides Fandango with a crucial alternative to movie ticket sales during the coronavirus pandemic, which has forced theaters to shutter. In December, Fandango said that FandangoNow had 60 million monthly visitors for its catalog of more than 100,000 film and television titles.
Existing Vudu customers will be able to continue to access the service using their Walmart logins. Vudu will continue to power Walmart’s digital movie and TV store.
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